So we're approaching the end of the fight rehearsals, and hopefully will be shooting in March. As we're planning the scene out, we had to make a list of the injuries sustained during the fight, so that we could logically understand how to move and act within the scene. Here's Francis' list:
1. Punch to the left cheek
2. Punch to the right cheek
3. Kick to the chin
4. Kick to the chest
5. Broken nose (Cray Time)
6. Kick to the left knee
7. Multiple punches to the left ribs and liver
8. Punch to the kidneys
9. Bruised ribs on the right side
We're trying to be as realistic as possible with this fight, which means that we won't be doing the kind of fight where we just fight hit each other a lot and its super flashy. We want every hit to count, and look like it hurts.
We'll be announcing our actor for Om, Francis' mentor figure in the next couple of weeks, but in the mean time here's a little peak at some concept art.
So some of you may have heard that recently while rehearsing the choreography for Carver, Kyle, my trainer and the choreographer accidentally landed a round house kick that I...caught with my face, in turn breaking my nose. Well, it turns out we have the whole thing on video.
Before I get to that though, let's chat a bit.
Ron and I have been working on bringing this short to life for over a year now, on a shoestring budget. Its a larger budget than either of us has worked with on a short, and its definitely more than most here in Boise. Kyle has been involved since November, training me just to get me to a point that I can handle the physical requirements of the choreography. That's on top of our amazing crew, that we worked with for the first scene that was shot back in October. For something that will only amount to about 15 minutes of screen time, we're putting a great deal of time and energy into this. Carver has been a labor of love for us.
We're all hoping that when this thing is wrapped, that we'll have something to show for it, and we're hoping that people will respond to the world that we've been building. The plan is to have Carver done by June. Totally wrapped, ready to go. In the mean time, we hope to get people involved with the production, to give you an idea of the completely bat shit, shoot for the moon move we're playing here. We're literally laying it all on the line with this. That being said, it may be a glorious failure, however, the only failure is not trying.
So we're not crowd funding this thing, we're not asking for money. We just want to bring you into the fold and start giving you glimpses of the world and hopefully get some feedback on what you're seeing. Which brings us to "The Nose".
We recently launched the Official Carver Facebook page. Over the course of the next few months, we'll weekly be releasing behind the scenes vlogs, interviewing cast and crew, to give you an idea of what to expect from the final film. We would love to be able to share this with as many people as we can because honestly, its been lonely and a bit scary at times. We think we're telling an interesting and fun story, but who knows? So in an effort to build a community online, that we can engage and talk to about "Carver", we're throwing out a challenge to our friends.
Bottom line, if we can get 300 Likes on The Official Carver Page, we'll release the video of me (Chris Hunt) getting round house kicked in the face. I'm not gonna lie, its actually pretty funny. It also sucked at the time, but in hindsight it was worth it. Why? Because broken noses are cool. That's besides the point. The real point is, if you all want to see us (me) taking it in the face (a roundhouse specifically) for our dreams, and you're willing to take a minute or two to repost this on your personal Facebook, if by midnight this Sunday we have 300 likes, that ego bruising, ridiculous video will be online Monday evening for your viewing pleasure. Hell, even if you don't give a damn about "Carver" ultimately, I know there's plenty of people out there that would love to see me take a kick to the head, so let's just say its a win win for everyone.
So that's that I suppose. Let the game's begin. Remember, 300 Likes. Midnight. Sunday. Let's go out there and win one for the gipper.
As we continue rehearsing the fight for "Carver", we thought it may be fun to release a little teaser of what we've been doing. This clip is about 2/3 of the way through the whole fight. We're not trying to sell anything yet, we're still working on memorizing the moves.
The idea here in what you're seeing, is that Kyle's character has a bag of chalk attached to his belt at his hip, that I rip off as he sweeps me to the ground. As I get back up, I'm flinging the chalk into his face to disorient him, as I front kick him to the ground. I should probably mention that Carver isn't the fairest fighter. He's more concerned with survival than honor.
Its a low quality video, that's all we had on our hands today. If you're all real nice, we may post a fancy Hi-Res one sometime soon.
Editor's Note: People have been asking for a bit more detail into the Carver short film project, so I'll be trying to shed as much light into the endeavor through some blog posts over the next few weeks. If you have more specific questions or suggestions for blog entries, feel free to tell me in the comments below.
The character of, Francis Carver has been an ongoing presence in my life for almost three years now. What started off as a one off story, has grown into a fully conceived character and universe, one that myself and a team of close friends have been working towards bringing to life in a short film for the past six months. Its been an interesting challenge to find costuming that embodies the character and the era. Francis is an early 20th century adventurer, who's inspiration lies in Indiana Jones, Ernest Hemingway, and the European comic book character, Corto Maltese among others. Not only would his costuming need to be era specific, it would also have to be representative of his lifestyle. I was having a hard time trying to find pieces that not only fit the period, but on a base level, my size. Most people were not 6 feet tall and 220 pounds in 1923. In fact, they were about 70 pounds lighter, and five inches shorter.
I found out about Filson only this year, but since then, I haven't been able to stop talking about it. Filson has been in business since 1897, opening in Seattle as "C.C. Filson's Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers", to provide gear and clothing for those adventurous souls heading north to the Yukon. Since then, Filson has been manufacturing superior outdoor gear to almost the same exact standards. You can read more about the history of this amazing company on their site here, but long story short, their stuff is tough as nails. Their clothing is guaranteed for LIFE! I can't even comprehend that. In an era when you hope to get a couple of years out a pair of Levi's, this company is making clothing that is passed down from generations. Bottom line is, a character like, Francis wouldn't wear anything other than the best, and you know what Filson's motto is on all of their tags? "Might As Well Have The Best". BOOM.
My costume at its core is made up of a pair of Filson's Single Oiled Tincloth pants, and a Filson Moleskin vest. The Single Tins are one of the oldest products in Filson's line up. They're still made with buttons for braces on the belt line, and additionally come unhemmed. They're waxed and in turn water repellent. I have crawled through snow, rolled through the mud and laid in dirt, and nothing can scratch these things. They're bullet proof...actually, they may stop a bullet. I wouldn't be surprised. Just do yourself a favor and look at their site.
Their products are not cheap, but that's the whole point. There isn't anything that's cheap about them. You're paying a price that is on par with the quality of the product. Unlike designer clothing, who's prices are based on name recognition in many cases, Filson stands on quality. Plus, I'm not going to lie, it makes you feel like tough. Almost like you have a layer of armor on and in some ways, you do. Whether its logging in the Northwest, digging for gold in the Yukon, or squaring off with albino assassins in Paris, Filson has the right gear for the job.
Om- A mutt faces a wolf. What do you think would be the outcome of such a fight?
Francis- Excuse me?
Om- A mutt, a street dog of mixed heritage, finds himself face to face with a wolf, a form of death that he knows far outweighs his own ability to prevent it. He knows that he cannot run, he cannot hide, the only thing that he can do is fight the wolf or let the wolf kill him. What do you think he will do, this mutt of our’s?
Francis- I don’t know. (beat) What kind of odds are you giving the mutt?
Om- Not very good ones. But, it is not completely hopeless. After all, is there not a bit of wolf in every dog?
I’ve always wondered what I would do if I had to defend myself. I mean REALLY defend myself. Not just posturing bros at a bar, I mean a fight for your life kind of conflict. The kind of stuff you see in movies, but only occasionally see in reality. The odds are that it won’t happen to you per se, but it has to happen to someone, right? That’s always been my motivation in my hypothetical scenarios I’d run through in my mind, “What if (X) thing happened to me?”. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’ve talked to many of my male friends about this and we all seem to share similar tendencies; we want to know what we’d be capable of if we found ourselves in these situations, at least those of us who haven’t had the training, or experience with this kind of conflict before.
I only bring this up to illustrate the fact that it was with great excitement and hesitation that I started fight training for the Carver short film that my company is producing. I am playing the main character, a well traveled, Gentleman of Fortune type. Think a more boozy and lethal Indiana Jones with a splash of Hemingway. Essentially, we’re talking about having the chance to play the kind of character that inspired these questions in myself as a boy. Like I said, it’s kind of exciting. My excuse for learning how to fight is to play someone WAY more badass than I am in real life.
Now I’m not going to say that I thought this was going to be easy, but I will say that I was in no way, shape or form ready for what was about to come. For those of you who haven’t ever sparred or trained, I’ll bet you’re like I was going into this. I literally had no concept of what it would take to get my body up to speed, nor did I know what I’d have to call on it to do.
Because we’re on a timetable with the production, we decided that I would go through a 6 week boot camp to teach me the actual fundamentals of fighting, which would then prepare me for the month of choreography we’d be doing for the actual fight scene. I figured it was going to be hard, but it was going to be worth it in the end to get something good on film, not to mention a bit of first hand knowledge about what it might feel like to fight.
You’re Not Going To Believe This Shit
The first day of training started with a 30 minute, vomit inducing cardio/conditioning warm up designed to both, assess my level of fitness, as well as mentally and physically exhaust me. It worked. Innumerable types of push ups, sit ups, planks, as well as jumping jacks, crab and spider crawls utterly destroyed me. By the time the half hour was over, I couldn’t hold my arms up in front of my face...which is what I was told I’d have to do for the next hour, while being shown the jab and the cross.
I literally had no idea how I was going to do this. I’m not lying when I say, my arms were on fire and it was taking everything I had to just to stand upright. How I was going to throw any kinds of punches was beyond me.
Here’s the strange thing about martial arts I’ve learned though, and kind of the addicting nature of it for me. On a very fundamental level, you’re willing your body to do things beyond its intrinsic capabilities. Sure, we all know how to hit on an instinctive level, but that’s not to say we know how to hit well. What that first day showed me, is that there were several tiers of “I can’t do this.” that I had to push through. Tiers I never knew that I had, because I only discovered their presence after willing myself past a previous one. 40 minutes after I was wondering how I was going to keep my hands up in a guard, I was punching a 100 lbs heavy bag at full power and knocking it around, because I pushed on.
Don’t Get Hit
Within a few days after this initial session, I was sparring with my trainer. Again, you’d think it’d be easy to dodge a fist coming at your face. Not the case when the fist is coming from someone who’s been doing martial arts for over 20 years. Partly because its not enough to just “dodge” the punch. What I was learning was that in a fight, you don’t back up, you don’t do anything to throw yourself off balance or lose ground. Instead, you’re making specific calculated moves, that despite being labeled as defensive, are in actuality, setting you up for an offensive move. So that simple dodge becomes a sideways movement, 45 degrees, laterally away from the trajectory of the punch, while moving forward toward the opponent, all the while maintaining balance and with the intent to harm. This basic principle is applied to all punches and kicks, which means that at any given moment in the fight, you have to be able to do what I just described but with the awareness that the thing you’re dodging could come from 360 degrees. Needless to say, I get hit a lot.
Black Eyes Look Tough
My trainer and I aren’t sparring at full power, however we rarely use gloves and we never use headgear. What this means, is that I learned very quickly that even “soft” punches hurt when they’re well placed.
Its a very strange thing to learn to not fear a punch. Its simply a matter of fact that if you’re sparring/fighting, you’re going to get hit. There’s no trained professional out there that can block every kick or punch that is going to be thrown at them. So very quickly you have to get right with this.
To dodge a punch means you have to look at it. You can’t close your eyes and hope for the best. You have to watch something that is coming at you with intent to harm and figure out what to do about it. There’s no option to panic and its a hard thing to master. There’s a reason its called fight or flight.
It was only after being hit hard that my fear began to wane. To realize its not so bad, meant that could control the fear to some extent. I instead became more focused on not allowing that thing to happen again.
The hardest hit landed on me, actually happened during auditions for the fight scene. Weeks before, I had sparred with a man who grew up street fighting in Mexico City. He’s a great guy, but when it comes to fighting, its just hard wired into him to win at all costs. He has a hard time making the distinction in his mind that there is sparring, and there is fighting, so in turn he doesn’t pull his punches or kicks. This resulted in a knee to my quad during sparring which put me straight on the ground, and that was just one of many hits he got that day.
So it was with a bit of trepidation that I went into the audition knowing that he’d be there. Sure enough, when he and I paired up to run a simple sequence of choreography, I ended up taking a hard knee straight to my face.
I wasn’t mad. As I said, its just implied that you’re going to get hit. Even with choreography. How or why he hit me in this scenario is a different matter, but knowing does little to change the fact that I did get hit. As I was leaning against the wall, the thing that struck me almost immediately was that it wasn’t that bad. Sure he could have hit me harder, or broken my nose, and I may have thought differently, but he didn’t. The hypothetical really didn’t concern me, frankly. It was the ridiculousness of the situation.
There I was, the 27 year old artist, holding my swollen cheek and brow after taking a knee to the fucking face. My trainer came over, made sure I was okay and then told me to get back up and keep running the choreography. As I stood up, I’m not going to lie, I felt good. I felt tough, and I say that knowing full well how ridiculous it sounds. It felt damn good to know that I could take that kind of hurt and spit at in the eye, and keep on going.
Keep On Keepin On
At the end of the day, I have enjoyed this little jaunt into fighting and mixed martial arts. So much so that I think I’ll stick with it even after we’re done with the film. Mentally and physically it has changed me, even in this short of amount of time, so I can’t imagine what sorts of benefits might be gained after years.
The most profound realization I’ve had though, is that based on what little I’ve learned, I am far less inclined to ever get into a fight now. Combat is destructive and painful on all levels, and simply put, I’ve been taught how to hurt people. Obviously there are different philosophical and spiritual paths attached to a great many styles and schools, but I’m not getting that kind of training. Its just straight up, how do you put the hurt on someone. Which means if that one in a million situation ever were to occur, perhaps I’d have a better chance of surviving it, and maybe not. The difference is, I don’t fear it as much now.
A lot has changed in the past year and I felt as though a change to my online presence should only serve to reinforce that. I'm relaunching thechrishunt.com with squarespace, so to have better capabilities to update the site consistently and while on the fly.
Life's been pretty nutso for me lately. I'm in the middle of shooting a short film based on my character, Carver, who premiered in my self published comic VOLUME ONE. My friend Ron Torres and I have partnered to make this happen, forming a production company in the process, called New Century Storytelling. The short is essentially an extended trailer for the book, which will be coming out in late 2013. The first scene has been shot, and now we're preparing for the fight scene. The fight scene will be the culmination of 6 weeks of intense actual fight training for me, (which I'm presently in week 5 of) followed by a month of rehearsals as we work the choreography out. My trainer, and the fight choreographer is local martial artist, Kyle Johnson. I think its safe to say, nothing like this has been attempted on this level here in little Boise, Idaho, which has all of us pretty excited.
There will be plenty of more updates and announcements here on the site, concerning projects I have coming up in 2013.
Oh! Also, let me know what you think about the new site in the comments!