Staving off narrative content for a bit, I’m just gonna leave this latest instructional here courtesy of stuntman and filmmaker Rustic B. whose latest video delves into the mechanics of the stunt industry and how to engage the field. Rustic takes his cues from Canadian stuntwoman and coordinator Alicia Turner who, in a recent ATP Online piece, elucidates a raft of intricate steps and methods on how to enter the stunt industry as well as maintain your craft, standing and good name within the community.
The last five years have been an extraordinary thrill for us with stunt multi-hyphenate James Young being one of the biggest that Film Combat Syndicate covered in this site’s young life, and much credit goes out to Darren Bailey for being pivotal in engineering that for us for a 2014 sit-down with Young and fellow Marvel MCU cohort, Film Combat Syndicate favorite Aaron Toney.
It had been a while since I was in touch with actress and stunt performer Cassandra Ebner, and so in the months since she released a trailer for upcoming webseries, Life XP, it remained on the back of my mind. It’s a good thing I remembered it too seeing as Ebner just recently received funding for the new series and she sounded visibly excited when she posted the update on Facebook.
Last week’s episode of The Ryan Carr Show was especially informative as much as it was stimulating.
Carr and co-host, actress and screenwriter Natalee Arteaga sat with the 39-year stunt veteran and background actor Peter Antico on Friday to discuss the week’s news along with a plethora of gems pertaining to his heyday beginnings as a stuntman and the knowledge he’s accrued in the years since. Our trio also engage persuasions over issues pertaining to the recent SAG/AFTRA presidential election following Gabrielle Carteris’s re-election back in August, as well as the need for more stunt and safety committees, pay and pension equality, union transparency and much more.
The ending gets a little bit more robust and suspenseful as well, I’d say. But informative nonetheless and especially for stunt and film professionals alike. Enjoy!
For this, it is with great pleasure to have been able to share an auspicious chat with Adam Brashaw, someone whose work thusfar in stunts, film and television have been all but impressive. He’s only appeared in The Hit List a few times having done three shortfilms (two of which I have seen), and you need only to see the results for yourself apart from his exceptional work reel just above.
…And of course, some of the most flourishing and talented performers to date, much like Tony who has contributed so much on a premier and debut level to the birth of a new generation of stunt players to date. For example: These fine people. ?
This was the only normal picture I managed to take with a straight face. The struggle is very real.
It’s not everyday that I bring my “other work” home…or in this case to my work.
Rather, it’s not everyday my “other work” walks up to my door and gives me a great big hug before shooting the breeze. Such is what happened on Thursday at the tail end of stuntman Dylan Hintz’s recent visit to New York City for a few seminars, including Chazz Menendez’s Quiet Storm Training Group workshop with Person of Interest Coordinator Tony Vincent this past weekend. Dylan returned that week to train at Chazz’s newly established facility, UATW Stunts in New Rochelle which Hintz encourages both aspiring and current stunt people to check out HERE.
Hintz hails from the D.C. area bordering between Maryland and Virginia, and operates his own stunt training and performance group called D.C. Stunt Coalition which I have covered off and on for a few years now. He’s also friends with independent filmmaker James Couche, both of whom contribute to our site here in some capacity, with Hintz starting with help the establishment of our YouTube channel, uploading trailers and so on.
Hintz kept himself pretty busy during his time here, staying with fellow stuntmen in the borough of Queens, while hitting up and training with several people I became familiar with in the past year, including Stephen Koepfer and Paul Varacchi of Breakfall Studios at New York Combat Sambo. He even hooked up with Hector Soria and his HektikZone team to shoot a short test fight with Andrew Kim in the Bronx earlier this week which I’ll host in the Hit List on Monday. On top of this and the typical stunt guy hustling, he also managed to stake a visit to New Jersey last weekend during events at the Hall Of Honors Martial Arts Expo thanks to the invitation of fellow stunt guy and HoH inductee, Michael Carey. A huge gathering of stars, instructors and fans alike, Dylan got to pick the brains of action movie legends like Don Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, Benny the Jet Urquidez, and Michael Jai White, for some of the same kinds of questions you’d expect out of an FCS interview. I’ve happily stolen some of his photos to share with you below.
Dylan’s Weekend At HOH at the Tropicana in N.J.
He’s not hugely present on the writing end for our site though that may change given his ever-evolving schedule. Apart from that, you can expect to see him pop up from time to time doing what he does best in the world of stunts and action here at Film Combat Syndicate, and you’re more than welcome to subscribe to his Facebook page attributed to DC Stunt Coalition for more insight.
That stated, I was never personally well acquainted with Andy Long until around my first or second year as a writer here at Film Combat Syndicate. However, the work he’s amassed and contributed to the genre and the people of his field makes him one of the most sought after people to date for a guy that lives so far away from most others, and it’s partly by way of the internet in its evolution for more than twenty years now that his relevance and success keeps him going, having collaborated with numerous teams and filmmakers aplenty, at home and abroad. Independent AND mainstream.
I’ve never really pondered the affect I might have as a blogger on people that I’ve been writing about in the past three years, and primarily because I’m just busy writing. I get mostly good responses from people in the stunt and film industry apart from some of the more less-than enthused ones (yes, those exist), and they’re all nice to hear in the course of my own growth, though for me there will always be a room for improvement. I thought about this and a bunch of other things as I shared reflections over some beverages at Starbucks at Columbus Circle with stuntman and actor Shayan Safar who was in New York City for a job interview unrelated to stuntwork.
I’ve been covering Safar since early 2015 when I shared his first stunt reel online, and he told me how jubilant he was when he saw his demo being posted on a blog for the first time since he began training in stunts nearly four years ago. Safar was born and bred in California from Iranian immigrant parents and grew up in an astute family – his mother: a scientist, his father: a physcian and brother: a lawyer. Safar graduated from UCLA with B.A. in Psychology and is also a current candidate to get a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy, which is amazing since it’s not everyday you meet someone as academically inclined with an occupation in the field of something as dynamic and bold as stuntwork. Frankly though, I’m very certain there are more people like Safar who are apt in such fields; I know a martial artist and stuntwoman named Bridger Fox who can literally science the fuck out of a conversation about insects and chemicals and she does it so effortlessly! I’d listen to her outline in detail how to serve a glass of water if it meant using the world’s biggest words to do it, just for fun!
Anyway, Safar and I had a terrific time on Sunday evening. We got to Starbucks pretty earlier than expected considering normally trains run local on Sundays and funny enough, mine was running express, so I was pretty fortunate. Most surprising and rather refreshing was Safar’s own appreciation for me and my writing as it’s not often that I get feedback about my work. In fact, he was actually interviewing me for maybe the first ten or so minutes while we waited for seats before I inquired about him and upbringing. Apparently he’s also a natural on the dancefloor since he was an aspiring b-boy, though in lieu of bigger challenges he eventually started training in stunts wherein he became familiar with folks like actor, martial artist and shabyvideos YouTube channel founder Shahaub Roudbari, and a number of today’s prime Hollywood stunt performers who train at 87Eleven as well as Joining All Movement.
His biggest goal, right now, is to get in touch with actor Rami Malek, star of the hit USA Network series, Mr. Robot and the recently announced frontman to play Freddie Mercury for the upcoming Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody from GK Films. He’s often mistaken for the actor and clearly Safar’s resemblance to Malek should serve him well as a suitable stunt double on any project… even if it means hours of watching Queen videos until production, I reckon.
Safar and I had great levity and I’m certain we could have probably talked longer had we not been limited to just a few hours that evening. He shared a few pictures from when he did stunts on the Nickelodeon series, The Thundermans, and we also talked about some of the work he’s done so far with Roudbari and filmmaker Kevin Tsai and their approach to fight choreography and timing (see The Unforgettable and Relentless). We also cut loose and joked heavily about daytime professions and angst, as we have both worked in retail (and if you’ve worked in retail, the mention of it is self explanatory), and we also discussed our own respective futures.
One of Safar’s biggest hopes, apart from networking with New York City’s stunt community, is that I get to head out to California to be closer to the stunt community at large, or if only for a brief period of time just to meet a few more people in that process. From what he’s told me, he’s not alone, and it satisfies me greatly to receive such warm praise from people miles and miles away for what I’m doing. I’m also steadfast in my own conscientious efforts to keep going, to grow and change fruitfully and flexibly, and inspire a platform of expression for my contributors – some of whom work in film and aspire to be film professionals themselves. In that regard, I certainly look forward to Safar writing a guest piece about his experiences in film, stunts and life in general at Film Combat Syndicate if he ever gets the writing bug. I think in due time he’ll have a great story to tell.
To my friends out in the world, including our dear mutual friend Cassie Lee Minick and the rest within Safar’s shared circles…I love every single damn one of you. Thank you, and to too, Shayan, for your continued support of Film Combat Syndicate, the hot chocolate, the laughter and the piling stack of some of the best memories I’ve ever had in my life. Also, if it’s not too much trouble, give Malek my regards!…Yes, I am envisioning it! It deserves to happen!
Good stories and good acting are key to making any film or TV show notable and watchable. The same goes for action movies, and in that respect, even greater action and stunt work is what’s required to sell an action product. Without it, most of our habits wouldn’t exist today.
Last week, I had the opportunity to share a dialogue with Sison about the film among several others within the span of his career in the past two decades. Having cut his teeth as an actor and stuntman over the years, primarily as a suit actor on the AmeriToku crossover series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and having recently worked with a number of familiar faces fans know and love, I would say there’s plenty of reason to bookmark him as someone worth looking out for in the months ahead.
It’s funny that when chatting with actor and stuntman Kenny Wong a little over a week ago that he didn’t mention at least one of his other new indie ventures to me. It probably slipped his mind or maybe he was worn to secrecy. Not sure, but either way, it was pretty delightful to be caught by surprise with his latest appearance in the new shortfilm from directors Kwaz Fraser and Jacquees Thomas titled Ichiban, with lead actress Kimmy Suzuki portraying a downtrodden sweatshop worker who rebels against her abusive boss, played by Wong.
Both are stunt performers by profession, with Suzuki initially getting her feet wet in voice-over acting at the age of 12 while living in Japan, until moving on to do stage work and commercials, a maneuver that ultimately aided her entry into NYU. Before she knew it and despite leaning more heavily into ballet, a chance meeting with actor Danny Aiello nearly six years ago would eventually be a major stepping stone for Suzuki into a prominent career in stunts for TV and film, a skill set that continues to earn her much-deserved praise in my book.
Ichiban was my own introduction to Suzuki as an actress and I personally look forward to whatever surprises await to arrive in time. Meanwhile, the new shortfilm is about to hit the film festival circuit this weekend, beginning with the events during this Saturday’s Art Walk Festival at the Art Factory from 11:00am to 7:00pm. For more information on location and other details, visit their official website.
A brave artisan is stuck in the monotonous world of conformity and harsh labor. The conditions are brutal as she works under an abusive inconsiderate chain-smoking boss. One day she defies him and refuses to work. She is restless and tired of being treated poorly. A fight scene in the warehouse where she is employed breaks out between her and the boss. She is unable to overpower him, but manages to escape. She fights her way out and ends up on the street playing her flute and wondering aimlessly until she is met by a helping hand. Her underground lair is revealed; where she trains vigorously and begins to create her own designs.
She no longer fears her thoughts of diversity and embraces her individual strengths and style. Once ready she returns to the warehouse. As she approaches the overpowering building she sees the owner looking down at her from a fire escape smoking a cigarette. He recognizes there is a formidable change in her presence. He has the fear of war in his eyes.
Watch Ichiban now – featuring the end title song by co-star and hip-hop artist Willie B., and don’t forget to peep the links in the description.
I’ve mused in the past about the ever-evolving state of independent online action cinema, with the level of stunt work and achievements I have seen on behalf of aspiring creators and stunt professionals who want to showcase a balanced blend of acting and genuine action performance. I especially attribute this to independent filmmaker Eric Nguyen and the gang over at Lunar Stunts Action Company who added their latest action short to their repertoire about a week ago titled Fair Game.
It’s one of those projects that can’t come out fast enough, having shared a clip late last year ahead of what should have been a holiday release. But, as always, things take time, effort, and patience. And six months into the year, it all finally pays off, showcasing eight minutes of fast-paced storytelling and great fight choreography by Nguyen, lead actor and co-choreographer Jeffery Griffith, and actor and performer Mickey Arce.
Check it out below, subscribe to the channel and feel free to browse through all their online goodies with more to come in the months ahead!
Having first landed my sights on the West coast for all things related to action films and stunts, it’s still pretty cool to know that there are some folks who share my interests here on the upper East, including actor and stuntman, Kenny Wong. And this week, Wong has taken to the internet to showcase his latest reel. So, I spoke to him for a little bit this week, and I asked him what he enjoys most about performing stunts on camera.
“I never stop training and learning new things in life,” he says. “I am much more aware about myself and being more assertive to improving myself as a person. And I don’t mean it in just the physical way. I’ve learned so much through the martial way, acrobatics, and stunts that it reflects back to my every day life that it grounds me. Sure it’s fun and I cross paths and end up welcoming such incredible people that open up new worlds of wisdom and encourage you. The life experiences I walk away with and the bonds I make are the most rewarding and humbling parts about doing stunts for me.”
Fifteen years into his profession, Wong has worked with quite an array of action veterans from various areas of film and stunt training, including mentor, actor and stuntman Roberto Lopez (Once Upon A Time In China And America) and director and Shaw veteran Robert Tai, to currently training with stunt coordinator and actor Chuck Jeffreys, and working with bonafide action star Gary Daniels. And if you have a good eye, you might recognize in a few of these shots now featured in the new reel which you can check out in the embed below.
You can catch Wong in a few more credits later this summer in Scott Derrickson’s upcoming paranormal thriller, Deliver Us From Evil on July 2, followed by actor Taylor Lautner’s new PG-13 parkour thriller, Tracers later this year.
2014 Stunt Reel from Kenny Wong on Vimeo.
Photo: Mitchel Gray
I’m not a part of the gaming culture so video games are a bit alien to me these days. But I do take notice when fans of certain franchises come out of the woodwork to put together some of the most amazing and inspired fan-attributed projects ever to hit the internet. One such case is Ubisoft’s new action adventure game, Watch Dogs, and independent filmmaker Devin Graham has delivered his own inspired take on the popular upcoming product with a brand new parkour-enfused shortfilm now available on his YouTube channel in the embed below.
Featuring freerunners Chris Romrell and Robert Bennett of CBR Stunt Team with comedic actor and YouTube personality Craig Benzine, the new shortfilm was shot on location in Chicago where the actual game takes place. The cinematography is excellent and smooth, and presents a great look at some incredible parkour work done by the performers, especially when it came to the bigger stunts; No CGI or wires involved. These guys put their lives on the line for the love of their craft, and it deserves to be viewed and shared. After all, you know what they say: Sharing is caring.
Check it out below, and don’t forget to watch the ten-minute behind-the-scenes featurette linked at the end (you can also find all the information you need in the description.