What is Fight Directing?
The Fight Director is a specialist appointed specifically to arrange, choreograph and direct the fight in a dramatic production, either on stage or screen.
The main problem facing the fight director is how to give the fight the effect of reality, whilst using an appropriate level of simulated violence according to the dramatic requirements of the play or film. This must also take account of the concept or style of the piece, its historical and geographical setting and the physical environment in which the fights are to be staged.
Choices will change according to the varying requirements of different forms of media. For example, on stage a fight can be seen in its entirety from beginning to end with only the lighting to help focus the attention of the audience on the action whereas on screen, it is the camera that can change the viewpoint of the audience and provide close up shots of the action – even placing the viewer in the midst of the violence!
So, the Fight Director must not only be a specialist in the methods and techniques of dramatic combat, an expert in the use of modern, historical and ethnic weapons but also be fully conversant in the different visual languages of television and film in order to create the most effective results.
The Fight Director works closely with the creative team of the production and will design the dramatic violence through mutual agreement with the director and the actors involved. The moves of the fight must be trained, taking into account the level of skill and experience of the actors. The Fight Director must teach and demonstrate the moves and techniques to the performers so the skills of the dramatic combat instructor are vital.
Above all, the fights must be performed safely which requires a disciplined attitude and method of working, regardless of whether the fights are for stage or screen. The challenge of presenting a convincing, exciting and imaginative fight which is both safe and meets the needs of the production is at the centre of the fight director’s art.