How To Direct A Fight In 5 Easy Bullet Points - Raindance

I have been fortunate in meeting and working with a great number of British filmmakers since I started Raindance Film festival in 1993. My first intern was none other than Edgar Wright.

When Julia Verdin approached me about adding Raindance LA to her Rough Diamond production and casting outfit in the heart of LA, I jumped at the chance to collaborate, and happily waited to interface with the plethora of film-making and screenwriting talent from the west coast of America.

I didn’t have to wait long. Julia introduced me to filmmaker extrordinaire Jason Satterlund who is one of the best filmmakers I have met in my two decades at Raindance. Jason makes shorts, web series and has made a series of excellent film training articles on his blog at

One of the easiest ways to add production value to your movie is to include scenes of physical combat. While I personally abhor physical violence, I have to admit that nothing gets my juices flowing faster than a well-executed fight scene, as long, of course, as it makes sense story-wise.

Now here’s the rub: how do you direct a fight scene when you don’t have a budget? Or worse, how do you direct a fight scene that looks great on screen when you haven’t done it before?

Fear not. Jason has come up with terrific advice on How To Direct Fight Scenes In 5 Easy Bullet Points.

Here is a taster, which I found most useful and something I wish I had all those long years ago when I started Raindance Film Festival here in London.

Shoot the fight scene like a conversation.

Think about the way you shoot a typical conversation between two people. How will you do it? Are you going to just keep it on an extremely wide shot the entire time? If you do, it will look like this:

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Photo Credit David Martinez / BIFA 2018

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters than Elliot Grove. Elliot is the founder of Raindance Film Festival (1993) and the British Independent Film Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short films and five feature films: the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead (2006), Deadly Virtues (2013), AMBER (2017), Love is Thicker Than Water (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner Alice (2019). He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

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Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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