Read the following in your best movie trailer voice:
A location confirmed as actors from Kentucky and Israel arrived in Sheffield.
A script devised by the director and actors the night before.
Choreography created in three hours and shot in six…
…by A DOP seeing the fight for the first time as the shoot began.
It is difficult to believe that ten days after I completed my qualifications in Broadsword and Swashbuckling, I would be having a fist fight in an abandoned warehouse like many of the classic action films of the 80s. But it happened, and it was a masterclass in flying by the seat of your trousers, or ‘pants’ as Taylor (CIA) would call them.
Extraction, a piece in which a rogue MI6 operative seeks revenge against a Mossad agent who is rescued by the CIA, was the first legitimate foray into the action genre for all involved.
Everyone involved threw themselves into the challenge, and that knee-jerk thrill of film-making against the odds drew in contributors who amazed me at every level, from Mike Haywood’s making of and Bethany Goude’s make-up to Darren Weston at the helm and DOP Drew Perry, who shot the piece in ambitious long takes and with Breaking Bad inspired angles.
We learned a lot, and we’re excited to take that learning forward into new projects. The important thing is simply that we did it. We really did it. Ten days prior to the shoot, the simple statement ‘we should make an action film’ was uttered by director Darren Weston.
I put out a speculative Facebook post asking if any of my stage fighter friends would be interested, and newly qualified instructor Yarit Dor and teaching intern Taylor Hohman both said yes. Darren contacted the Director Of Photography, and there was a single half-day window a week away when all could be available to film.
In the following week, setbacks and dramas of every conceivable kind were endured as we sought to find and organise access to the location, recruit a make-up effects artist, find the props and devise the story all around the availability of this small window.
It all came together in the nick of time, in a way that can only be a testament to creative collaboration. Leads came from the most unexpected places and bounced around people whose surprise at our requests mirrored our surprise to at asking them. The mission we had chosen to accept was crazy, fraught, exhilarating, but most importantly, accomplished.
Watch for the final, edited version to be released early in the new year.