The Search for The Female Stunt Actor

I went and saw “Haywire” today, and I’m sorry to say I was very disappointed. Despite hearing reports of weak fight scenes and uninspired acting, I still had my hopes.

You see, I’ve been waiting for a film like this for a while – an action film with a female in the starring role who is played by a woman that can both act and do all her own action… essentially a female stunt actor. We’ve learned through the many eras of male action leads that the only true successful “stunt actors” are those who start out as fighters and then learn to act. It’s much harder to have an actor learn how to do all those complex and dangerous stunts themselves, which is why most all actors have stunt doubles. Even today, as more actors are starting to do some of their own stunts, they still leave the really complicated stuff to the professionals.

But a stunt person who can also act? Now that’s something, and very highly in demand. Directors and fight choreographers alike love it because they don’t have to restrict the camera movement for fight scenes in order to hide a stunt double. Producers love it because it saves money – not needing to hire a separate stunt man. And audiences love it because it’s cool to know that guy did all his own stunts. That’s why Jackie Chan became such a household name – that and because he was GOOD.

But we’ve yet to see a strong example of this from a female. And now as martial arts become more universally acceptable and understandable, and the market for female fighters on screen grows, I think it’s about time we had one.

This is why I had hopes for “Haywire,” and particularly for Gina Carano. She has the right background – a long time MMA star who can really fight and just needed to add the acting component.

But alas, “Haywire” was not going to give her that opportunity. Granted it wasn’t all her fault. The story lacked originality, the writing lacked emotion, and the characters lacked depth. So she didn’t have much to work with anyway. But then you could tell just how uneasy she was on camera, which made her seem very stiff and one-dimensional, very hard to relate to or care much about.

So another hope dashed. I guess I will just have to wait for another chance to see a good female stunt actor take the lead. Or I’ll just have to do it myself! 🙂

Staying Ahn Beat

The me from a year ago might not recognize the me of today. My closest friends continue to remind me of how material a change they’ve seen me undergo in the last year or so. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come, and where I used to be.

For nearly all of my life prior to this massive change, I had a hard time facing my reality, and didn’t yet understand how to take control of my life. I am one of those people who lives to work  and needs to feel that I’m living fully at all times. And when my current employment didn’t give me that satisfaction, I had to find it elsewhere. So I had a lot of outlets, and I needed them.

Perhaps the most prominent outlet I’ve had for the majority of my life was writing poetry. It’s what got me through the first rough patch in junior high, and everyday afterwards. At first, they weren’t very good poems or very well kept – scribbled on loose paper and shoved into one giant red binder. But over time I developed a voice, a style, and a better system. Eventually, they found their way onto blog I now call Ahn Beat.

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I started this blog a few years ago, both to transfer those old cherished poems from their pages as well as continue to share more. And up until a year ago, I continued to write new content pretty regularly.

But here is the interesting part – I haven’t actually written a new poem in about a year.

I guess you could say this new life I’ve found, this new path I’m pursuing with all my heart and soul, is giving me the greatest outlet I could have ever imagined. And now I don’t need to write poetry anymore. Oh I still love the art of it, and may yet write more from time to time. But I don’t need it like I used to. And that feels pretty damn good.

I guess you could say I’ve found a new way to keep myself Ahn Beat.

Chaos is the Mother of Invention

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Well if you think about it, what creates the necessity for change, for improvement, for invention? I’d say it is Chaos which first makes the mess that then creates this need. And so it would follow that Chaos is in fact the true origin of invention.

I do believe Chaos should be given more due respect that perhaps people give it now. But that doesn’t mean it should be allowed to run rampant through our lives as much as it pleases. Given its way entirely, Chaos is capable of doing great damage and bringing great danger. So it deserves great respect, but it does require a bit of control.

A dear friend once told me that you must first build deep structure in order to hold deep Chaos. Honestly, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with structure. On one hand, I do have a natural tendency to organize things, as well as to always expect the worst, so it is reassuring to have a plan in place and anticipate something of what the future will hold. But on the other hand, I desperately love change and crave the feeling of adventure that comes with mystery and spontaneity. Perhaps my greatest fear is becoming numb to my surroundings and too comfortable in routine. So I very frequently have these very strong urges to do something crazy that changes my structure in a very real way.

This is my Chaos, and it keeps things interesting. Without it, my life would be significantly less thrilling and less creative. Without it, I’d still be in that comfortable corporate bubble, with little ambition or mind to break out of the norm and carve my own path. Without it, I would be nowhere near where I am today, building the very picture of my life’s dream. I’d be nothing like the person I am today.

In fact, I imagine that most of you would also be nothing like the incredible and unique characters you each are. So it stands to reason that we should all feel some gratitude for the Chaos in our lives. That said, we must also recognize it’s limitations, and how to harness the power it gives without suffering from it’s distractions.

This is why I’ve started a new project called The Chaos Whisperer. It’s something inherent in everyone’s life, and I fear that too many of today’s experts encourage methods that try to ignore or even destroy your Chaos, rather than understand and utilize it. Chaos can be a powerful force in the effective evolution of your life’s goals, if only you can properly embrace and empower it.

I’ve been fortunate to find balance with my Chaos, and now I want to help other people do the same with theirs, to seize its full potential and see what great results can come of it. This project may have been born out my Chaos’ desperate urge to try something new, but it was also born out of a necessity to address this lacking perspective I’ve observed.

If you agree with any of what I’m saying, or feel the necessity for a new approach to your own life’s Chaos, I encourage you to check out my new The Chaos Whisperer blog and follow me on Facebook. And if we’re lucky, maybe we can help you build the deep structure necessary to hold all your Chaos.

Thank you and a Chaotically beautiful day to you!

A Dream In Need

I hate to admit it, but I’m scared. I’ve been telling you all about my new indie action film Rise And Fail, the dream I had to take a huge leap of faith to realize. Well we’re in post-production now, and basically out of money! I’ve been desperately trying to raise the rest of the necessary funding, but we are still at least $10,000 short. And that’s no easy sum to come by.
We did recently launch a new Kickstarter campaign, with the hope that folks will indulge their holiday giving spirit and contribute to this remarkable breakthrough film. But we are already 17 days the campaign (out of 60 days, or 28% through), and have raised barely 8% of our goal! So you can understand why I’m starting to panic.
I’ve put my heart & soul (not to mention sweat & tears) into this film. And in return, it has given me the truest sense of fulfillment I’ve ever known in my life, and could ever dream of. So it would literally break my heart to see it fail. I do fully intend to do everything in my power to see this thing through, but I cannot do it alone.
And so it is that I place my dream in the hands of you all — my friends, family and readers. If you’ve already donated, please know that your contribution is immensely appreciated. But if you haven’t yet had the chance to give, or feel inspired to give more, please know that you’ll supporting more than just a film — but also a revolutionary action film movement, a dream, and me.
Plus you’ll earn awesome rewards in return such as signed copies of the DVD, tickets to the Bay Area premiere, and even a private 1 hour martial arts lesson, all of which would make excellent gifts, for either someone else or yourself (I won’t tell).
I do appreciate all the love and support I’ve received thus far, and I hope you will help me finish making my dream a reality.
Thank you dearly. Rebecca.

To Get Away

I re-watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” the other day, and as usual, found myself moved to emulate the main character’s courageous journey. I often dream of traveling to some distant exotic place like Italy and languishing in luxury for a few months, or maybe even a year. But if I do that, I don’t want to let myself become another one of those hopelessly lost dreamers, caught up in the romance of her 20’s, wandering aimlessly through the streets of Paris. I want to have purpose when I go abroad, and everywhere else I am in my life. Wherever I may roam, I want to know why I’m going there.

I do often find myself romanticizing the idea to get away from it all, to up and leave life behind, and just disappear for a while. And while this is always a tempting proposition, I don’t think I could actually do that unless it meant something completely differently. I don’t want to “get away” from it all as a means of escape, but perhaps as a means of getting closer to it all – taking the opportunity to get closer to myself while seeing more of what the world has to offer. If that is the goal, then yes, I do think I could just get up and leave and go exploring.

There’s so still much out there to explore, and still yet so much inside of me unexamined. It could be considered a journey of similar proportions just to “get away” from that which I’ve come to know in myself, and trespass through the parts of me I’ve not yet dared enter. This is almost harder to do than getting up and leaving the country. And it can be just as rewarding.

Life is a journey, and sometimes that journey manifests itself as a mental rather than a physical one. I do look forward to getting away and seeing more of the world someday. But in the meantime, I think I will set my sights on a destination a bit closer to home that equally aches to beheld.

More Boring or More Alive?

I know I intended to use this blog for more fictional expression ongoing. But such a wonderful burst of thought and emotion came upon me this evening, and poured out the following sentiments, that I felt an old familiar inclination to share them here. So hope you don’t mind this temporary divergence from the fictive freeway I’ve recently begun accelerating, and enjoy a moment’s pause for my real life.

~

See, I was walking down College Ave in Oakland tonight, and it being around 11pm on a Thursday, it would strike any normal outgoing person to be a prime night for social activity. In fact, as I walked I passed many a fun looking group of persons who seemed to be out and about on their night excursion. And then there I was, walking back to my friend’s apartment (where I was currently crashing), slightly drunk off one beer I drank while waiting for my pizza order for one, now carrying said box of To Go pizza under my arm on my way back. And let me tell you, I’m not the hermit type. You may already know this about me, but if you don’t, let me assure you I am quite the opposite… or at least I used to be.
Thursday nights used to be my excuse to go wild, get in a night of crazy adventure and let really loose before the mad dash at the end of the week. Thursdays were the new Fridays for partiers, and I was no exception. There were specific late night dance events I used to attend on a weekly basis on Thursday nights. People would even come to ask me what was the haps that night, as I was usually in the know.
And now look at me. I’m walking alone at 11pm on a Thursday night, to an apartment where I will be alone, and will eat my newly purchased small deep dish pizza alone, while I madly type out my feelings into a computer. How did I become this?
Have I become boring?
No, no that’s impossible. I chose this life on purpose to avoid the boring, to escape the uneventful routine my life had become. Working at a corporate desk job, I had found such lack of creative stimulation and freedom, that I’d turned into a machine of boredom and stagnation. Sure I had a great social life then, but that’s because I only had that to look forward to upon leaving the office each day. I had to party harder than my brain suffered everyday. It was like playing eternal catch-up, and I never quite did.
So I made the leap. I left the world of comfort and security, which had its motivations for a spicy social life, but no life besides. And I’ve arrived here, where my day-to-day work and life are one and the same, and more invigorating and exciting than I could have ever dreamed. True by the time the social hour rolls around, having spent all day exchanging emails with lawyers and insurance agents, reading and negotiating contracts, defining and redefining marketing goals and analyzing distribution platforms, it’s understandable that I’d be pretty burned out. It’s honestly quite acceptable that at that point, all I want to do is get a nice juicy deep dish pizza to myself, curl up with my computer, and type out all the non-work related thoughts that have been bouncing around patiently in my head all day. It’s forgivable that I’d prefer to give my brain a break, rather than force it into interactions with strangers, and often fruitless attempts to extract meaningful and worthwhile conversation from them.
So perhaps it is quite a natural ending to my day to sit here typing away, having spend the bulk of my day expressing more creative passion, and experiencing more autonomy, than most people garner from their entire career. Perhaps it is not that I’ve now become boring, but rather the opposite. Perhaps now I am actually more alive than ever.

Flash Black: A New Story

As pre-production ramps up on my exciting new indie action film, Death Grip, the little wheels inside my writer’s brain have launched into high gear. The result? I’ve begun writing a new script of my own! The goal is to eventually turn this into another action screenplay, for a potential future The Stunt People project.

But for now, it’s just an idea in the earliest infancy of development. As it matures, I will share bits of it here for your amusement and my assessment (in the best attempt at screenplay format I can manage on this blog). So now to kick it off, here is the opening scene of…

FLASH BLACK
by Rebecca Ahn

INT. SMALL ROOM

The sound of a gun cocks.

A VOICE from the darkness: ‘Any last words?’

A black sack is pulled off of BRYNA BLACK’s head and the scene slowly comes into focus. Bryna sits in the middle of a small dark room on a dingy metal chair, her hands tied behind her back. The rest of the room is empty, except for one hanging lightbulb shining straight down into her face, making her squint. Through the light’s bright beam, she can barely see the outline of a dark figure in a long cloak and top hat. As Bryna stares at the figure, her face adjusts to the light, and her features settle into an indifferent expression.

BRYNA: ‘Nothing clever comes to mind.’

MAN IN TOP HAT: ‘That’s a first. Nothing you want to be remembered by?’

Bryna cocks her head to the side, looking away from the light to scan the empty darkness around her.

BRYNA: ‘There’s nothing here I want to remember. So why should it remember me?’

MAN IN TOP HAT: ‘Interesting choice of words. I’ll just count those then, shall I?’

The figure in the top hat turns and nods to someone next to Bryna, off screen. A fist comes flying in from the side (off camera) and punches Bryna across the face. She whips her head back from the impact and spits blood at her unseen attacker.

MAN IN TOP HAT: ‘Tsk, tsk, tsk. You’re going to have to learn how to play nice.’
Bryna’s expression gives way to her brewing anger. (CLOSEUP – Bryna’s Face) Her nostrils flare and her eyes open so wide they seem to swallow all the light coming from the one blinding bulb. Her breath quickens and her pulse races madly, so loud the beating seems to fill the room with its ominous rhythm. Her body knows the end is near, and is trying to squeeze every last heartbeat of life into the time it has left.
(BACK TO SCENE) The man in the top hat laughs, then turns to walk out of the room. He pauses at the door and turns back to Bryna.
MAN IN TOP HAT: ‘Oh, and give my regards to your sister.’
He closes the door behind him, its square of darkness slowly growing larger, pressing the outside light into a smaller and smaller sliver. The door is so heavy that when it finally shuts completely, it echoes a loud thud around the small room that causes the one remaining lightbulb to start swinging.
Bryna’s anger has doubled now, and her fierce features are lit up like fire each time the bulb swings past her face. She sits there stewing under the swaying light for a second or two. Then suddenly, the swinging light clicks off, and the looming darkness swallows up the rest of the small room. Nothing can be seen, and the only sounds are the pounding of Bryna’s thumping pulse and her heavy breaths. Bryna is alone.
~.~.~
Stay tuned for the next installment of Flash Black!

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