A fight director is not only employed once a conflict gets physical or combat needs to take place on stage or in front of the camera, but often also when it gets physical in other ways, for example when people trip or fall. Rick Sordelet is the top fight director with more than 50 Broadway credits to his name (including all Disney productions!) on top of many more for TV, film and stage, and he explains the key requirements for becoming a fight director.
The fight director is responsible for creating action scenes that look realistic and exciting whilst being safe for everyone involved. Yet, a good fight director will make sure that physical action on stage or in front of the camera will always be part of the storytelling, just as dialogue, songs or dance numbers are. Rick Sordelet explains in the video below what he considers the most important assets that a fight director needs to bring to the table and which crafts he or she needs to understand in order to be successful.
Rick Sordelet: the job of a fight director
“To be a fight director and if you want to be a fight director and you want to start looking at “well, what do I need to have in my background?”, number one is understanding the craft of acting, understanding the craft of directing – whether it’s film, television or stage – you need to know how it’s put together. You need to understand all the components that go with it and how all the elements come together, and that is far more important than having a background in martial arts or a background in fencing or a background in anything else: you have to understand your medium. Once you understand that and you are a good storyteller, then the rest of it just falls into place.”
Enjoy the video below where Rick Sordelet demonstrates some of his work: