Movie Stunts & Special Effects: A Comprehensive Guide to Planning and Execution

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Throughout film history, one of the fundamental fantasies portrayed on screen has been the kind of physical action few of us could ever experience in real life. The image of an ‘every man’ engaged in hand-to-hand, mortal combat, defending his family or even the world population against an overwhelming and malevolent force, speaks to our most primal instincts and thus became a mainstay of movie entertainment. In order to translate these deep-seated fantasies to the screen, filmmakers have been developing special skills and crafts for over 100 years. It is these skills that make ‘movie magic’ and have allowed audiences to take part in the primal hopes and fears we all possess. Movie Stunts & Special Effects: A Comprehensive Guide to Planning and Execution is designed to inform filmmakers on how to plan for and utilize these crafts by engaging and empowering filmmakers to better communicate with stunts and effects practitioners, and thereby enabling them to more fully realize their vision. Director/Producer Andrew Lane surveys fights, use of weapons, cars and vehicles, falls, the use of pyrotechnics, atmospheric effects, bullet hits, wounds and blood, among many other categories. Factors such as cost, time to implement, safety accommodations, and assessing the competence of those employed to plan and execute stunts and special effects are numerous and very specific.

Each topic in Movie Stunts & Special Effects is examined using narrative explanations, extensive interviews with world-renowned experts. Various stunts and special effects will be explored in the context of how they are best captured by a camera and then editorially constituted in the final product.

About the Author

Andrew Lane is Assistant Professor of Directing at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, USA, and has previously taught directing and visual storytelling at the UNCSA School of Filmmaking, USA, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, USA. A member of the Writers Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for over 25 years, Andrew Lane has written or co-written over twenty films, re-written numerous others, produced over twenty features, and directed seven.

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