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Action Filmmaking Decoded- The Story of Action Films

Action Filmmaking Decoded- The Story of Action Films

By Darren Tun & Mike Messina
This is the Action Filmmaking Podcast, the show dedicated to pure action analysis. Our passion for action films and martial arts has led us here where we do in-depth analyses and breakdowns of choreography and fight sequences as well as interviews with action filmmakers around the world. Join us to know more about the beauty of choreography and the arts of action filmmaking from the industry's best. Catch new episodes weekly!
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The Paper Tigers: Bao Tran & Ken Quitugua
Introducing: Bao Tran and Ken Quitugua, two badass action movie masters. For their new feature length film The Paper Tigers, Bao directs and Ken action direct a Kung Fu action-comedy about three aging martial artists when they’re brought back into the fight game to solve the death of their former master. In this episode, we discuss creatively navigating the constraints of indie filmmaking, the difficulties of crowdfunding films, and why both of their directing is focused on characters rather than scenes. We also debut our newest show segment ‘Five Second Fight Club,’ so be sure to listen til the end! Join us as we chat with Bao Tran and Ken Quitugua: action director. *Spoiler Warning* Major plot points and sequences are discussed in depth for The Paper Tigers in the breakdown section of this episode! Film streaming services can be found here: http://pov-films.com/thepapertigers/ Edited by Luigi Hernandez If you enjoyed this episode, you can support us at Patreon.com/actionfilmmaking Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the podcast app of your choice Find us at actiondecoded.com or on Instagram at @actionfilmmakingpodcast Until next time, thanks for listening
01:23:32
May 21, 2021
Black History Month Special: Black Panther, Django Unchained, The Last Dragon
Happy Black History Month! This week, we’re celebrating by breaking down some of our favorite action films that feature Black heroes and action filmmakers! We’re talking Black Panther, Django Unchained, and The Last Dragon! Black Panther, Marvel’s action blockbuster featuring the late Chadwick Boseman, has become a cultural icon. We breakdown the incredible casino fight scene, analyze Black Panther's fighting style, air some visual effects grievances, and gush about Michael B Jordan’s performance. Django Unchained, Tarantino’s Western action film, boasts a star studded cast and some fantastic fights. We breakdown the Candyland shootout, talk about how violence is treated in the film, and note which gunshots that made us laugh. The Last Dragon is an 80’s action film continuing the legacy of Bruce Lee’s filmography. This cult classic is a pioneer of the Black Kung Fu film genre and is chock full of over-the-top characters, set-dressings, and of course, action! We talk about the non-actor star, the quotable lines, and the comedic nature of its action! Join us as we celebrate Black History Month! Edited by Luigi Hernandez If you enjoyed this episode, you can support us at Patreon.com/actionfilmmaking Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the podcast app of your choice Find us at actiondecoded.com or on Instagram at @actionfilmmakingpodcast Until next time, thanks for listening
48:46
February 12, 2021
Vlad Rimburg Pt 3: Jane Wick & Shaky Cam Secrets
Reintroducing: Vlad Rimburg, the bad boy from Belarus. Vlad is an action / 2nd unit director, fight coordinator, fight choreographer, editor, and performer. Notable works include Lucifer, Sultan, and Unlucky Stars. You can find much of his work, from professional pre-viz to action short passion projects, on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/vjvlad?pbjreload=102. In this episode, we go in-depth about Vlad’s work with indie action shorts, discussing how he riffed on John Wick’s fighting style for his female John Wick short “Ballerina” as well as recounting the gnarliest groin grabs and nut shots he’s ever choreographed. Also, Vlad reveals the secret to perfect shaky cam, details why The Protector’s one-take fight was ineffective, and reveals which action fight scene made him cry. To top it all off, Vlad gives up-and-coming action filmmakers some good old financial and life advice. Join us as we chat with Vlad Rimburg: action director Edited by Luigi Hernandez If you enjoyed this episode, you can support us at Patreon.com/actionfilmmaking Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the podcast app of your choice Find us at actiondecoded.com or on Instagram at @actionfilmmakingpodcast Until next time, thanks for listening
44:51
February 5, 2021
Vlad Rimburg Pt 2: Lucifer, Brothers, Sultan, Unlucky Stars
Reintroducing: Vlad Rimburg, the bad boy from Belarus. Vlad is an action / 2nd unit director, fight coordinator, fight choreographer, editor, and performer. Notable works include Lucifer, Sultan, and Unlucky Stars. You can find much of his work, from professional pre-viz to action short passion projects, on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/vjvlad?pbjreload=102. In this episode, we discuss Vlad’s experience with Netflix’s hit show Lucifer, Indian action films Brothers and Sultan, and the show stopping indie action film Unlucky Stars (that featured AFD alumni Sam Hargrave & Emmanuel Manzanares). Vlad details the art of using stunt doubles in Lucifer and how he explored ‘size doesn’t matter’ in the fights of Unlucky Stars. Vlad also talks about how the weight of professional cameras affects the scene, the difficulty of trapping fighting styles on screen, the sometimes rocky relationship between action teams and editing teams, and taking the ‘Masala’ out of ‘Masala Action.’ Join us as we chat with Vlad Rimburg: action director Edited by Luigi Hernandez If you enjoyed this episode, you can support us at Patreon.com/actionfilmmaking Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the podcast app of your choice Find us at actiondecoded.com or on Instagram at @actionfilmmakingpodcast Until next time, thanks for listening
45:06
January 29, 2021
Vlad Rimburg Pt 1: From Indie to Hollywood, Making Fighters Look Good
Introducing: Vlad Rimburg, the bad boy from Belarus. Vlad is an action / 2nd unit director, fight coordinator, fight choreographer, editor, and performer. Notable works include Lucifer, Sultan, and Unlucky Stars. You can find much of his work, from professional pre-viz to action short passion projects, on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/vjvlad?pbjreload=102. In this episode, we discuss transitioning from the indie action world to hollywood, the state of female representation in action films, and how smoke can supplement the creative process. Vlad also talks about the different roles of fight choreographers and fight coordinators as well as emphasizes the importance of applying film theory and getting practical experience. He also recalls his experience with sparring, forms, and how each offers unique benefits for screen-fighting. If you need some practical financial advice as a stunt performer, Vlad has you covered as well. Join us as we chat with Vlad Rimburg: action director. Edited by Luigi Hernandez If you enjoyed this episode, you can support us at Patreon.com/actionfilmmaking. Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the podcast app of your choice. Find us at actiondecoded.com or on Instagram at @actionfilmmakingpodcast Until next time, thanks for listening
01:06:13
January 22, 2021
Best of AFD - 2020
Introducing: the best of 2020. It’s been a great year for Action Filmmaking Decoded, so today we’re taking a look back at some of the most interesting clips from our episodes thus far. You may even hear a bit from Skylar, the OG podcast host! This episode, we’ll hear from the action filmmakers on camera, off camera, and everywhere in between. Wade Eastwood talks dropping Tom Cruise out of a plane, Keir Beck explains how to rig a flame throwing guitar player on the front of a speeding truck, Scott Adkins details kicking Donnie Yen in the throat, and much much more. Thank you to everyone listening to this podcast. Your support is what allows us to book amazing personnel and keep the show running! Join us as we look back on the best of 2020. Edited by Luigi Hernandez If you enjoyed this episode, you can support us at Patreon.com/actionfilmmaking. Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the podcast app of your choice Find us at actiondecoded.com or on Instagram at @actionfilmmakingpodcast
01:10:59
January 16, 2021
Garrett Warren Pt 2: Choreographing Logan, Avatar, & Alita: Battle Angel
Introducing: Garrett Warren. Garrett is the self proclaimed “best one-eyed, balding stunt coordinator / 2nd unit director in all of Hollywood.” His filmography includes Logan, Avatar, and Alita: Battle Angel. He’s also worked with talent such as Hugh Jackman, Mickey Rourke, James Cameron, and Stephen Spielberg, to name a few. Most recently, Garrett has worked on the upcoming two sequels to Avatar. We sit down with Garrett to break down Alita: Battle Angel’s incredible bar fight scene and discuss what martial arts influenced Alita’s zero-gravity fighting style. We also talk large-scale battles when reviewing Avatar’s breathtaking final sequence. And, when analyzing Logan’s farmhouse fight, we come upon a script excerpt that Garrett may or may not have printed on his crew’s t-shirts. Join us as we chat with Garrett Warren: photographer, martial artist, and action filmmaker. Edited by Luigi Hernandez If you enjoyed this episode, you can support us at Patreon.com/actionfilmmaking. Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the podcast app of your choice. Find us at actiondecoded.com or on Instagram at @actionfilmmakingpodcast Until next time, thanks for listening.
44:05
January 8, 2021
Garrett Warren Pt 1: Street Fights & Leading Stunt Steams
Introducing: Garrett Warren. Garrett is the self proclaimed “best one-eyed, balding stunt coordinator / 2nd unit director in all of Hollywood.” His filmography includes Logan, Avatar, and Alita: Battle Angel. He’s also worked with talent such as Hugh Jackman, Mickey Rourke, James Cameron, and Stephen Spielberg, to name a few. Most recently, Garrett has worked on the upcoming two sequels to Avatar.  In this episode, we discuss choreographing according to story, the incredibly useful shotdeck.com, and the smell of a good fight. We explore Garrett’s passion for photography and how it influences him as a filmmaker. Garrett also vividly describes the exhilarating experience of a stunt performer just before hearing “action!” for a death-defying gag. He advises those in film to be “great at many things and professional, the best, at one thing.” Join us as we chat with Garrett Warren: photographer, martial artist, and action filmmaker.  Edited by Luigi Hernandez  If you enjoyed this episode, you can support us at Patreon.com/actionfilmmaking. Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the podcast app of your choice. Find us at actiondecoded.com or on Instagram at @actionfilmmakingpodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.
43:21
January 1, 2021
Christmas Action Movie Breakdowns - Die Hard, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, Home Alone
Welcome  to AFD’s Christmas Special! Join Darren and Mike as we explore some of  the best holiday action and stunt films of all time: Die Hard, Kiss Kiss  Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, and Home Alone. We discuss what makes John  McClane the perfect action hero, the incredibly witty dialogue of Shane  Black, the unique action of a powered-down Iron Man, how Joe Pesci’s  head was lit on fire, and the true whereabouts of Mr. Elvis Presley.  Today’s episode is laid back and a ton of fun- we hope you enjoy!  Thank you so much for your support throughout 2020! We can’t wait to  bring more content in 2021! Happy Holidays!
37:04
December 25, 2020
Emmanuel Manzanares on Logan, Gemini Man, and 87 Eleven Action with Chad Stahelski Part 2.
Introducing: Emmanuel Manzanares, prolific action choreographer and stunt performer. You can see his handiwork in Logan, Gemini Man, and Batman: Enemy Within, to name a few. We discuss what makes for great stunt camera work and “bending” martial arts for the screen. We also take an in-depth look at Logan, Gemini Man, and more. Join us as we chat with Emmanuel Manzanares, actor and orchestrator of on-screen combat.
01:06:53
December 18, 2020
Emmanuel Manzanares on the Fight Choreography Process, Cinematography, and Film Directing Part 1.
Introducing: Emmanuel Manzanares, prolific action choreographer and stunt performer. You can see his handiwork in Logan, Gemini Man, and Batman: Enemy Within, to name a few. We discuss what makes for great stunt camera work and “bending” martial arts for the screen. We also take an in-depth look at Logan, Gemini Man, and more. Join us as we chat with Emmanuel Manzanares, actor and orchestrator of on-screen combat.
01:04:00
December 11, 2020
Mad Max: Fury Road - Keir Beck on Stunt Rigging for Film
Introducing: Keir Beck, award-winning Stunt Coordinator, Director, and writer. Keir is well known for his remarkable work on Mad Max: Fury Road, The Matrix, and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name a few.   We talk about Keir’s filmography, his program teaching up and coming stunt performers and riggers, and how being a tree surgeon set up Keir’s film career. As always, we also break down some of our guest’s exceptional stunt work.  Join us for this conversation with the incredible Keir Beck.
01:04:00
November 19, 2020
The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception - Tom Struthers Part 2
Introducing Tom Struthers: international stunt extraordinaire. We had the pleasure of discussing his tales of Bollywood, tremendous impact working with Christoper Nolan in Inception and the Dark Knight Trilogy, and his innovative and revolutionary choreography techniques. Join us in our 2 part interview with Tom Struthers, revolutionist of the stunt coordination industry.
25:30
August 28, 2020
Tom Struthers on Salman Khan, Bollywood Action Filmmaking, and The Dark Knight Trilogy Part 1
Introducing Tom Struthers: international stunt extraordinaire. We had the pleasure of discussing his tales of Bollywood, tremendous impact working with Christoper Nolan in Inception and the Dark Knight Trilogy, and his innovative and revolutionary choreography techniques. Join us in our 2 part interview with Tom Struthers, revolutionist of the stunt coordination industry.
33:51
August 19, 2020
Scott Adkins on Ip Man 4 & Boyka Undisputed III Fight Breakdowns and the Importance of Good Director Relationships
Introducing Scott Adkins: actor, producer, and martial artist to the core. In this episode, we were graced with Mr. Adkins presence as we went down the line of his entire career in the film industry. In the realm of acting, we discussed his tutelage under Dee Cannon and Mykel Shannon Jones (Undisputed III) and his director and actor relationship with Isaac Florentine, Jesse V. Johnson (Accident Man, Debt Collector, Avengement), and Adrian Bol. These director partnerships have given Scott a great opportunity to take on more challenging character-driven films.  In the domain of production, we examined his role as a co-writer with his long time friend, Stu Small, in Accident Man and the maneuvers made in filming Avengement on such a tight time schedule. We also cover what makes a skilled fight cinematographer when it comes down to coordinating and filming fight sequences. As a passionate martial artist, we analyzed his fight scenes against Marko Zaror from Undisputed III: Redemption and Donnie Yen from Ip Man 4 (choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping) along with getting an inside look at his new film Legacy of Lies out now. Join us in this special, extensive interview with martial arts veteran and extraordinaire, Scott Adkins.
56:19
August 5, 2020
Mission Impossible Franchise- Wade Eastwood on his Creative Process in Stunt Coordinating
We had the privilege of interviewing Wade Eastwood: one of the biggest names in stunt coordination, most famously known for his work on 'Mission: Impossible Fallout' and 'Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation'. He has worked on stunts for over twenty-seven years including the James Bond Franchise, Jumanji: The Next Level, Jack Reacher, and Edge of Tomorrow. Here, we had the chance to talk to Eastwood about his exciting stunt coordinating & 2nd unit directing experiences with Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, his ingenious creative process, and his methodology in choreography. Join us in our interview with Wade Eastwood as we go in-depth into action sequences with this true titan in stunt coordination. 
42:46
July 29, 2020
Michael Lehr on Extracton Fight Scene Breakdowns and Rocket Jump Part 2
Introducing part 2 with Michael Lehr: Professional stuntman who has worked on Rocket Jump shorts, video game mo-cap (Star Wars The Force Unleashed, Sleeping Dogs), the John Wick franchise, Logan, Extraction, Mulan, and now Fast and Furious 9 doubling as Han Lue. In this 2 part interview series he answers questions about his start in the industry, his martial arts background, Asian Americans in stunts, and breakdowns from his extensive stunt filmography. Join us in this interview with the one and only Michael Lehr, legendary stunt coordinator and stuntman.
54:40
July 16, 2020
Michael Lehr on John Wick 3, Mulan, Fast and Furious 9, Diversity in Stunts, and Video Game Motion Capture Part 1
Introducing Michael Lehr: Professional stuntman and actor who has worked on Rocket Jump shorts, video game mo-cap (Star Wars The Force Unleashed, Sleeping Dogs), the John Wick franchise (John Wick 2 & John Wick 3) with Keanu Reeves, Logan, Extraction (netflix) with Chris Hemsworth, Mulan, and now Fast and Furious 9 doubling as Han Lue. In this 2 part interview series he answers questions about his start in the industry, his martial arts background, Asian Americans in stunts, and breakdowns from his extensive stunt filmography. Join us in this interview with the one and only Michael Lehr, legendary stunt coordinator and stuntman.
01:08:10
July 9, 2020
Who is Mike Messina? - Action Filmmaking Decoded Update Episode
Today we introduce our newest podcast co-host, Mike Messina. As Skylar Tun steps down from more traditional interviews to focus on fight breakdowns, Mike will be co-interviewing guests with Darren. Mike is the former president of Binghamton University's Asian Student Union and the podcast host of 'Inside Outlook' and 'AO Story Time', podcasts focused on telling the experiences of different Asian Americans. He’s a Tae Kwon Do black belt and certified instructor with additional training in Krav Maga and Jiu Jitsu. Join us every Wednesday at 5AM for new episodes!
14:40
July 1, 2020
Mike Moh on Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Martial Arts Training, and Asian Representation in Film- Action Filmmaking Decoded
Introducing Mike Moh: actor, martial arts master, and Bruce Lee aficionado. We had the absolute privilege of discussing his role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, martial arts philosophy in Taekwondo & Jeet Kune Do, and contemporary Asian representation in film. Join us in our interview with the Wanaukee Wisconsin’s one and only Mike Moh.
40:29
June 30, 2020
Tyler Witte on Stunt Driving for Black Panther, Baby Driver, and Extraction.
Introducing Tyler Witte: stunt double and stunt driver. In this interview, we discussed his start in the stunt-driving industry, approach with performing dangerous scenes, and the mindset of this daredevil. Join us in our interview with the rising star Tyler Witte.
33:08
June 22, 2020
Sam Hargrave on Extraction, Captain America, and His Most Dangerous Stunts - Action Filmmaking Decoded
Introducing Sam Hargrave: Professional stunt coordinator, stunt double for Captain America, and now, director. We've had the pleasure of asking him some questions about his martial arts background and the action in his directorial debut, Extraction, out now on Netflix. Join us in this interview of the Sam Hargrave, legendary stuntman and choreographer.
46:03
May 8, 2020
John Wick - Part 2 - The Subway Fight - Action Filmmaking Decoded
Today, we're diving into the dark, neo-noir world of John Wick and the underworld rife with assassins and crime families. We will be examining some of our favorite fight scenes from over the course of John Wick 1 and 2. We hoped to cover John Wick 3 more extensively in a separate episode as it is the most action-packed and creatively choreographed of them all. Until then, join us in the exploration of the battles of John Wick, the Baba Yaga.
29:58
May 6, 2020
John Wick Part 1 - The Red Circle Fight Scene - Action Filmmaking Decoded
Today, we're diving into the dark, neo-noir world of John Wick and the underworld rife with assassins and crime families. We will be examining some of our favorite fight scenes from over the course of John Wick 1 and 2. We hoped to cover John Wick 3 more extensively in a separate episode as it is the most action-packed and creatively choreographed of them all. Until then, join us in the exploration of the battles of John Wick, the Baba Yaga.
18:51
May 6, 2020
The Ip Man Franchise - Action Filmmaking Decoded
Today, we're exploring the choreography of the Ip Man franchise, known for its legendary fight scenes with Donnie Yen and company. This is an overview of the entire Ip Man franchise and it should be noted that the depth and pure volume of the movie's action sequences make it nearly impossible to cover every fight scene in-depth in a normal-length episode. We will be covering notable individual fight scenes in future shows but for now, join us in our examination of the legendary Ip Man.
35:38
May 6, 2020
Action Filmmaking Decoded Introduction- Who are we?
In our first episode, we give a little background on who we are and why we do what we do. Our passion is placed in the creation of action films and the intricacies of fight scenes. In the future, we'll be exploring the choreography of films fron the Ip Man, Marvel, and John Wick franchises, along with many standalone features. Join us on the beginning of our journey.
07:55
May 6, 2020