Celebrating 25 years, Belizaire the Cajun is the humble beginnings of Hollywood South. With the support of a couple of Hollywood heavyweights, Belizaire was filmed solely in Lafayette, Louisiana using only local cast and crew members. With the exception of Hollywood movies filmed on location in Louisiana, this was perhaps the first one that originated in Louisiana utilizing local talent as opposed to bringing in a full production company from L.A. or New York to tell a story about Louisiana.
Stunts were wrapped last night on Revenge of the Bridesmaids for the ABC Family Channel.A pillow fight and done. The actresses taking hits and throwing punches, Virginia Williams, Brittany Ishibashi and Raven-Symone, were lovely and good sports.
This is a reprint of a story I wrote for Inside Stunts Magazine, which is now out of business.
The Risk Gene, Stunt-performers & Borderline Personality Disorders
According to Art Linkletter, kids say the darndest things. According to every terrified parent around the globe, kids do the dumbest things. How many daredevil young boys do you know that have endeavored to fly off the roof of their house in a make-shift Superman cape? Or, stubbornly rammed their banana-seat stingray bicycle into a brick wall convinced they could pierce a hole through it? We’ve all taken a whack at defying gravity or inertia at one time or another in our young lives. We were courageous and we were invulnerable. We thought: Where’s the danger in it all? And, stunt people were no different. (more…)
The trailer for Monsterwolf is released. It was filmed in my hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. As the Stunt Coordiantor on this one, I am anxious to see the final product. To my knowledge, it will air either this summer or fall on the SYFY Channel.
Click on the link to see the trailer, ENJOY and look for a release date. When I find out, I will post it here.
I wrapped out of Scream of the Banshee after working 15.5 hours on my last night, starting at 7:30 PM on Thursday and finishing at 11:00 AM on Friday. Wide awake at wrap, I made the crazy decision to drive 1.5 hours home to NOLA from Baton Rouge. Thankfully, I made it home safely, however not without stopping to rest on the side of the road twice.
I made better decisions while shooting. Most of the stunts involved actor’s scuffles, but I also performed stunts that I coordinated. Without giving away too much, let me say that it wasn’t easy to wear two hats at the same time, especially when you can’t monitor what you are doing on camera. During the car stunts, I couldn’t get out of the car to look at the monitor (and I don’t think they had playback, regardless). I had to rely on the Director and AD to guide me through and trust their explanation of adjustments I needed to make. This is quite common on shoots with limited budgets. You just have to do your best, hope for the best and have faith.
The entire shoot took only a couple of weeks and will to go the film festivals looking for distribution. I have no doubt that it will get marketed. The production crew was young, but very dedicated and professional. I have a lot of confidence in this production team. Keep an eye out for Scream of the Banshee, directed by Steven C. Miller and starring Lauren Holly, soon.
I started coordinating stunts on my second feature in Louisiana. The new show is a Syfy Channel movie called Monster Wolf, about a spirit unleashed by oil riggers who disturb a sacred burial ground while excavating. The spirit appears in the form of a monstrous wolf, for lack of a better word, that terrorises a Louisiana community. The production company, Activity Films, operates out of Lafayette, my home town, and we’re shooting in and around Lafayette Parish.
Since the wolf demolishes everything in site, numerous stunts are required. The lead actors are Jason London, Leonor Varela and Griff Furst. Furst, a founder of Activity Films, is also a Producer.
It’s exciting for me to come full circle returning to my home town to make a film. I left Louisiana years ago because my calling was elsewhere. There were no local opportunities in film.
Because of my commitment to keeping the production’s stunt budget in check and to cultivating Louisiana talent, I hired Louisiana-local stunt people to perform the stunts on Somnambulist.
The wonderfully talented stunt performers I hired on Somnambulist were Danny “Cosmo” Higginbottom, Jessika Brodosi and Raion Hill. Cosmo, the one with the most stunt experience, is a daredevil who broke a world record for “Highest Dive into Shallowest Water” diving 28 feet into 12.5 inches of water. Jessika, fairly new to stunts, has been doubling Gabrielle Anwar on Burn Notice in Miami. While Raion, a former LSU football star and professional player for the Buffalo Bills, performed his first stunts on camera doubling Gbenga Akinnagbe who plays Alex, one of the leads. No surprise, Raion made it look easy.
In all future shows that I am fortunate enough to coordinate stunts in Louisiana, I will continue to do all I can to use Louisiana-local stunt performers. There is an abundance of talent here that makes Louisiana “Hollywood South.”
Starting off my professional film experience as a Louisiana-local talent with a stunt performing job or an acting gig didn’t happen. It was with a Stunt Coordinating job instead.
Upon moving to Louisiana, I always intended to apply for stunt coordinating jobs. However, I figured that even though I felt qualified they would be harder to get than stunt performing or even acting jobs since the vast amount of my experience is in front of a camera. It appears I might have been wrong.
Last Spring, four majors action films blew through New Orleans. Hundreds of stunt jobs were filled. Only three of those stunt jobs, totaling about fives days of work, were for women. Only one of those days was filled by a local stuntwoman. The Screen Actor’s Guild keeps statistics showing that only 15% of all Guild stunt work goes to women. However, I realize now that outside of Hollywood and New York, it is far less.
Therefore, in spite of my extensive stunt performing experience, my interest in submitting for stunt coordinating jobs got ratcheted up when I realized I may not be able to contribute to the family income through stunt performing the way I had hoped.
My first production meeting and location scout for Somnambulist, the movie I’m coordinating,was last Friday. Turns out, without giving away too much about the script before it’s released, this thriller has a couple of major stunt scenes featuring five characters. Ironically, three are women. The women are both heroes and villians, an interesting catch since the new young writer/director of Somnambulist is a woman, too.