New markets

In art as in agriculture, often the new developments come from cross-breeding types… those of us in stunts and stage combat are increasingly aware of video games both as an influence on our field (and audiences) as well as a potential new market for our skills. The First Person Shooter (FPS) genre camera angle has begun working its way in to more and more film and video work, as it is assumed to be an accepted view for audience members. The most mainstream example I can think of is the new Spider Man Teaser Trailer, the last two thirds of which are pure FPS:

This has of course been cropping up in things like video game fanfilms and video trailers for a while.

On the other hand, we’re also getting live-action short-movie style trailers and intros to video games, even FPS games that have non-FPS trailers:


Granted, these probably don’t tell you as much about the actual game as purely CG cinematic trailers, like for the new Assassin’s Creed, or Batman

…or the Star Wars cinematics, which, while perhaps lacking in originality, still show improvement over the Prequels in some ways.


Gone are the days when a fighting video game involves the same four moves over and over again. Fight Choreography now has a very solid place in game design.

Some of these used motion-capture of actors and stuntmen, of course, a growing market not just for movies and video games but also for things like animatics (now a standard part of movie planning and proposals), commercials, and other applications that have opened up as the price and availability of the needed technology drops. Even when not taking it to that extent, animators will still often shoot reference footage for inspiration (something I got to do for a game studio while I lived in Seattle) or bring in instructors to teach workshops to animators on proper weapons use (something else I did while there).

Of course, the effects of games and game culture can effect our audiences, expectations, and own performances in other ways as well, as witnessed by a few videos here- viewer discretion advised due to language (in the first) and sexuality (in the second).

Immersion: Distractions:

Immersion: Clothes


It’s come full circle; games no longer have to try to hard to look like movies. Now movies are trying just as hard to match the games, and both are on a more even footing in the entertainment industry.

Congratulations are also in order for fellow VCU Theatre Pedagogy student Aaron Willoughby, whose thesis was on “video game theatre”, and who has just been hired as tenure-track faculty. Good luck on the move!

Game on…



  1. Ken Dietiker
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    On the downside, more CGI gaming graphics have taken over live stunt performers, reducing the chance that an actual real-live person gets a job. But then maybe it’s a mixed bag.

    • Posted July 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Mixed bag I’d say- one of my points is that even that CG may well have had stuntmen and martial artists contribute to it, and when it’s mo-cap or reference footage you have the luxury of padding up you and your set as much as you want, which is nice.

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