MartialAthletes.com has been fortunate to partner with the well renowned Rooster Teeth: Red vs. Blue and RWBY production team(s). With each franchise being spearheaded by known director heads (Miles Luna/Kerry Shawcross), the orchestration of Gray Haddock and Koen Wooten brings life to the characters for 10M+ fans around the globe. Being part of the producer and director collaboration, a pipeline of animation efficiency and talent proficiency are stitched together to provide the community dozens of episodes annually. These brands have evolved with the advancements of technology, demographic fan base, and mastery of the artists.
The introduction to provide an opportunity for professional fight choreographers to be part of Rooster Teeth has been an experience for us all. Finding talent, character development, presenting choreography, and filming episodes is a martial artists dream. However, as a martial athlete you move and they capture. Seem easy? NO! I am going to share our process of athletic development so you are aware of the complexity.
Let's start with the talent process:
1. Martial Artists and Trickers have worked hand and hand with each other for over 20 years. The difference now is that each have developed their own communities and have evolved their culture. Finding a specialist is readily available, however obtaining talent with both skill sets could be difficult.
2. BBoys and Freestyle dancers have matured since the 1980s and contributions with the Hip Hop culture allow for the evolution of movement through music. If you are able to find a dancer with martial arts ability or vice versa, it is a definitely a plus.
3. Actors and Stuntmen are training their craft not only within their genre, but are smarter with their brand image. Fitness and wellness is part of the 360 marketing model. Having stage actors who have been exposed to live combat sequences will help with developing multi-performer action sequencing.
4. Animators and technologist are fanboys of martial art and dance. They constantly watch archive playbacks of Shaw Brothers, Golden Harvest, and Cannon Entertainment films harnessing visual movement and articulating their creativity frame by frame. Most of the animators we have worked with have had previously training and became animators because of how they were inspired by the martial arts experience.
These four Martial Athletes are the core of your team. Each of these athletes understand the role of each other and are knowledgeable within their craft. They not only understand the regiment of disciplined training, they are passionate about their community and research the latest trends to be an ambassador of their given movement.
Next is the development process:
1. Working with the producer and director are key. They are the influencers to present your athleticism. Always have more choreography. If the scene calls for 45 seconds, don't show up with 6 (8counts). Show up with 12 so the animators have enough visuals to work with. Content is KING!
2. Train the animators sharing with them your POV. This becomes a student-student relationship. As a martial athlete, you must give to the animators/artists that will embrace your work. They have to understand the application of the movement and why the character is developed as such. This helps them sequence transitions between scenes and allows for the choreography to climax at peak intervals throughout the script. The animators will invest their time and bring your movements to life.
3. Work with the PreViz Artists and Post Sound Designers. Your job as a Martial Athlete is to bridge proof of concept sequences to production movement. To take it a step further, the ability to match the choreography with sound without a score/track in place becomes a feat of its own. It's imperative you count all movement and share with the sound designer to establish the metronome. Good Luck!
Typically, running fight sequences is similar to performing sets of dance choreography or martial arts form sections. The luxury to have 24 cameras in a 360 degree experience allows for MoCap to capture all the high-low movement per technique which saves on cost and time. A scene may run up to (40+) 8-counts of choreography with a minimum of capturing the content four times. Expect a full day to be somewhere upwards of 3000+ moves per Martial Athlete.
This has been a framework that has worked for us. It's not our "secret sauce", but a guide for when you get that call. Always be prepared and build your team wisely. We have been fortunate to have a strong local team that has worked with us. We thank you for all your dedication and commitment to supporting Rooster Teeth.
Acknowledgements: Chad Cannon, Aaron Alexander, Donald Brooks, Josh Vinyard, Armando Vargas, Justin Hall, Hakim Walker, Catherine Miller, Rose Mitchell, and Mazhawna Guerrero.