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#40 Helping Directors Think About Violence

Violence designers should do more than simply stage the fights as outlined in the script. Because we are specialists, we should devote our time and creative energy as artists to help directors think about violent moments more thoughtfully and imaginatively to tell the most interesting stories possible. Also, stay tuned for a special announcement about … Read More Read More


#39 Seeing With the Audience’s Eye

Sometimes as violence designers we think the fights we’ve designed are fantastic, but they seem much less amazing in performance. Why does that happen? In this week’s episode we talk about watching fights from the audience’s perspective, why it can be artistically dangerous to see your fights only from the “first-person-shooter” perspective, and how we … Read More Read More


#38 Comedy vs. Drama in Stage Combat

While we all agree that comedy should be funny and dramatic scenes should be serious, how does the tone of the scene change your design? Does your stage combat technique change for a comic scene? Should it? And why do more actors hurt themselves in comic violence than the serious stuff? All this more, on … Read More Read More


#37 Designing to Music

In Episode #37 of the Violence Design Lab podcast, we’re talking about designing fights that coordinate with musical underscoring. Whether you are literally choreographing beat by beat to the score or you need to fill a musical interlude with a fight of a specific duration, we’ll discuss some design challenges and solutions to make your … Read More Read More


#36 Working With Blood

As Halloween approaches, stage blood makes its brief annual appearance into the general public consciousness. On Episode #36 of the Violence Design Lab podcast, we’ll go beyond zombie wounds and vampire fangs and talk about the right ways to work with stage blood to place you a cut above the trick-or-treat amateur.


#35 How to Write a Fight Scene

Episode #35 of the Violence Design Lab podcast is aimed squarely at playwrights and screenwriters. How do you write a good fight scene? How do you make sure that your vision of the fight is the one that gets put on stage? Who controls the choreography? Do you want to win that fight? Stay tuned! … Read More Read More


#34 Designing for Non-Proscenium Spaces

On Episode #34 of the Violence Design Lab podcast, we’re talking about working on stages that aren’t a traditional proscenium. What happens when the audience is on two sides of the stage? Or three? Or they have you surrounded? Let’s talk about which stage combat illusions work, which ones don’t, and which ones can be tweaked to still … Read More Read More


#33 Portraying Honorable vs Dishonorable Characters

“Noble” heroes…Dastardly “villains”… Today I examine the difference between honorable and dishonorable characters. What defines them? What are the rules that society uses to decide if a fight is “fair” or “honorable?” How do you implement that in your design? Listen in to find out… Contents: 3:27 What is Honor? 8:35 … Read More Read More


#32 Style Seminar: Historical Drama

Historical Drama: doesn’t every Shakespeare play with fights fall into that category? Or everything set before 1980? What about Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings? Aren’t they in that style too? Let’s talk about this common–and commonly mischoreographed–style, and figure out what to include, what to steer clear of…and how to know when … Read More Read More


#30 Portraying Trained vs. Untrained Characters

This week, we examine how to customize the way a character fights to match the level of weapon/fight training or martial experience appropriate to their background in the world of the play. That meek biochemist shouldn’t fight the same way that Rambo does, and you need to adapt your choreography to remain true to their … Read More Read More


#30 Style Seminar: Hollywood Swashbuckling

This week’s episode is the first in a series on style: designing fights in particular ways to match a specific genre or to evoke a certain tone. Each iteration in the series will break down the specific elements that define the style and give you concrete, actionable ways to incorporate these elements into your choreography. … Read More Read More


#29 Choreographing Fights Alone

This week on the podcast is something of a milestone: we’ve crossed the 5,000 download mark! Thanks to all of my loyal listeners around the world for your support and encouragement! Fittingly, this episode was inspired by listener mail. Alex wrote in about the challenge of choreographing fights alone. It can be difficult to imagine … Read More Read More


#28 Training to Design

Unlike other theatrical design specialties such as lighting, sets, or costumes, violence design suffers from a lack of formal instruction and training available to those who would pursue a career in fight choreography. The potential designer often has little recourse other than to take the “sink or swim” approach in trying to transition from a … Read More Read More


#26 Should All Actors Train in Stage Combat?

The first in a series about training actors to do stage combat. The first questions we need to address: SHOULD all actors train to perform violence? The answer is not as cut-and-dried as you might think, especially coming from a violence designer. In the episode, I discuss reasons FOR and AGAINST actors training in stage … Read More Read More


#25 Working With Young Fighters

Many of us find ourselves designing theatrical violence for high school or middle school productions or teaching stage combat classes to theatre programs that focus on younger performers. Or perhaps the play you’re designing has a child involved in the violence. You may quickly discover that working with younger fighters can be a very different … Read More Read More


#24 How to Nail (or Run) a Fight Callback

You’ve done your audition and gotten a callback! But the director tells you that not only will you be reading from the script to see how you work with specific characters, but that there will be a fight callback to assess your stage combat skills as well! What’s that going to be like? This week’s … Read More Read More


#23 Three Ways to Make Your Fights Work

Today, let’s discuss the dramatic work that your fights should be doing. Fights do more than simply move the plot along. Fights should also: 1) reinforce the setting and underscore the tone, 2) reveal character 3) cast the future of the play into doubt. I also cover how to use you fights to reinforce the … Read More Read More


#22 Book Review: Meditations on Violence

Today on episode #22 of the Violence Design Lab podcast, I’m discussing a book I think every violence designer and fight choreographer needs on their bookshelf: Meditations on Violence by Sergeant Rory Miller. I consider it a foundational work for those on our field, so I want to make sure you’re up to speed on … Read More Read More


#21 Working With Older Fighters

Today I want to talk about something I never learned in a stage combat workshop or a college theatre class. In fact, it took over twenty years for me to really understand it. What is this mystery topic? Working with fighters who are middle-aged or older. Now that I’m a few months shy of 50, … Read More Read More


#20 Managing a Weapons Inventory

Start designing fights for productions, and the need for weapons quickly arises. Where do those come from? The theatre? A rental house? From you? Today I talk with R&D Choreography founder Richard Gilbert about the ways a weapon inventory can benefit the working violence designer. We discuss some strategies for building up your stockpile, how … Read More Read More