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Speed with Precision


Secrets to maintaining sharp reflexes on set!


Speed. Precision. Timing. These are important in my line of work.


Setting the Scene: on location in a hanger filming the action series Dollhouse, stunt double for Eliza Dushku.


Wardrobe: tight jeans and high-heeled boots.


Required Stunt: to run up an SUV, cross over the roof of the SUV, jump onto the hood of a car driving by the SUV. Level of Risk: narrow margin for error!


Challenging Aspects: simple activities such as running, climbing, and generic movement can be difficult to execute when one is stuffed into aggressively fitted clothing. I can warm up all day long, but if the pants do not consist of a stretchy material, the range of motion is stunted no matter what – pun intended. Example: the physically challenged superhero suit I wore for the movie “WATCHMAN” (pictured right) - I felt like a bumble bee!


Stunt Strategy: being able to make FAST adjustments if a stunt is going wrong helps in preventing injury. The idea is not to hear the director yell “ CUT” and then hear someone yell “MEDIC!!” NOT GOOD. We want to create the appearance of THRILLING action followed by a SAFE end result.


On DOLLHOUSE, I had to trust the other driver of the vehicle that I needed to jump from the top of the SUV onto. I also had to trust myself and attack the stunt. My boss told me to get my body weight forward and crouch as a cat once I land on impact onto the car and to HANG ON. It went well. Checkout this shot of me in mid air (pictured right). I look like a wild banshee.


Speed with Precision Secrets


1. Long distance running throughout the week helps me with conditioning. This helps me have stamina to rehearse long and hard and bang out take after take on a shoot day. It’s not only about being able to perform a scene multiple times for camera angles. It’s about being excellent every single time.


2. Having a gymnastic background aids in air awareness, tumbles, falls, wirework, balance, poise, and confidence in the execution of aerial moves.


3. Boxing training – specifically focus mitt work - assists me in hitting my target accurately with my two main open hand weapons, my fists. I love the boxer’s workout. Knowing how to throw precise punches on point with solid technique over and over again really builds a foundation useful in stunt work.


4. Leg plyometric exercises build strength in my lower region. For example, if I am doing a descender on a wire and hit the ground hard, I want to use my mobility to adjust my weight and body position for take offs and landings when riding a wire.


5. Fighting has helped me in judging the distance from an opponent. If a stunt player hits and actor – albeit accidents do happen – uh….NOT GOOD. Sparring in the ring and fighting professionally has helped me when I need to pull a punch or really lay into somebody. Only experience can sharpen this tool.


Icon by Itzik Gur Bridgett taking a leap of faith filming a stunt for TV series DOLLHOUSE. By Bridgett Riley~ Stunt Professional / Actress


Bridgett in her super-tight, superhero suit on the set of WATCHMAN.


Checkout Bridgett’s Showreel at www.babydollriley.net


KNOWLEDGE


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