June 2, 2016 … Justin Long is 38 … born June 2, 1978
Wikipedia: Justin Long is an American actor known for roles in such films as Galaxy Quest (1999), Jeepers Creepers (2001), Dodgeball (2004), Accepted (2006), Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), Live Free or Die Hard (2007), Alpha and Omega (2010) and Comet (2014).
He played Warren Cheswick on the NBC TV series Ed, and appeared with John Hodgman in TV commercials for Apple’s “Get a Mac” advertising campaign.
In 2009, he starred in He’s Just Not That Into You with co-star Ginnifer Goodwin and After.Life opposite Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci.
From 2011-2015 (5 episodes) he played Paul Genzlinger opposite Zooey Deschanel on the sitcom New Girl.
Today I got to watch people pretend to punch and kick each other for three hours. It was delightful. I took lots of notes.
I hadn’t planned on doing research for my writing today when I went to campus; I had planned on cleaning my office, working on a paper, and categorizing citations on my computer. But when I saw that a Hollywood stuntwoman and alumna of the university (Jessie Graff, credits include Live Free or Die Hard and X-Men: First Class) was going to be giving a “master class” this afternoon in the theater department – “Free and open to the public!” – I figured that the citations could wait. Even though I’m not writing anything right now either involving martial arts or the stunt profession, learning about both of them in the context of a workshop class was a fantastic opportunity.
In my experience with martial arts and rapier, the instruction is aimed at giving individuals a deep knowledge of the sport. History, proper mindset, technique, solid footwork and grounding, all is important before you start getting to the parts that “look good” to an audience. A three-hour theater workshop in stunt fighting, however, is completely different. There, it’s all about what your actions look like. In other words, perfect for a novelist. The class also moved quickly: the instructor took the class through basic punches, rolls, and kicks, as well as how to “properly” respond to them.
“To learn how to properly react to being hit in the side of the face,” Graff said, “place your hand on your chin, push your head to one side, and let it go limp.” Note how your head swivels, but it doesn’t lean to one side. Further, it doesn’t just turn and stay there as if you’re purposefully looking over your shoulder. Instead, it “bounces” slightly, rebounding/jiggling in reaction to the sharp movement. (Try it and you’ll see what I mean.) Graff said that she likes to think of the reaction in a “1-2-3” pattern – side, forward, side, all happening very quickly. If you’ve been “hit” especially hard, blow air into your mouth, inflating your cheeks and exhaling quickly.
Camera angles are also a much larger part of stunt fighting than I had ever thought about before. Good stunt doubles and actors will see where the camera is pointed, draw a line from the camera to the actor’s face, and know from that both what height to hit at and when the actor should respond to the hit. For instance, the instructor said that she once had to throw her punches at triceps height for an actor she was supposed to be hitting in the face, because the camera was shooting up from the level of their feet. A bit strange, she said, to be aiming punches at his arm and having his head respond to her “blows.”
Being ten feet away from a skilled stuntwoman, watching her demonstrate attacks and blocks over and over again, was a fantastic experience for me as a writer. While I don’t need to be able to do the things that fighters can, I do need to be able to write them in a way that others can picture them. In a way, then, writing is like being a stunt person. You don’t need to be able to actually throw a punch, you just need to be able to fake it well enough that the people who are enjoying the entertainment you produce think it’s real.
With that in mind, here are some mechanics I learned today about how various types of attacks and blocks work. These aren’t going to give you enough detail to become the next superhero, but they should help you write about one.
How to stand like a fighter:
- Always shift, and stay on the balls of your feet. Don’t let your heels touch the ground.
- Your feet should be shoulder width apart, with your off-foot (left, if you’re right handed) forward and your primary foot at between a ninety degree and forty-five degree angle.
- Keep your elbows in and your hands up in closed fists, with your thumbs on the outside of your fists.
- Keep a straight line going from your arms up the back of your hands: if you want to practice, you can rubber-band a chopstick to the back of your hand and your wrist. If you let this get sloppy, you can break your hand if you hit wrong.
- Stay low: imagine that you have a bar placed over the top of your head, and if you stand up, you’ll smack into it.
How to block a punch
- The block comes from your hip, shoulder, and arm. If someone punches toward you, twist your hip and shoulder so that you’re almost showing your back to the attacker. This should result in your back heel lifting off the floor.
- At the same time, lift your elbow up against your ear, so that your hand is behind your shoulder. This is almost a “combing your hair” type of motion.
- Keep your arm tight against your head; this presents a flat surface (that isn’t your head) to the attacker.
- During all of this, keep looking at the person you’re fighting so you don’t miss anything that happens.
How to throw a punch
- The motion of your hip initiates the movement, whether you’re throwing a jab, cross, or hook.
- Keep your muscles taut all the time.
- If you’re jabbing, turn your body to the right as you punch with your left. It’s opposite for a cross.
- Keep your arms straight, but slightly bent: don’t hyper-extend your arms or you’ll hurt yourself.
- For a hook punch: turn your hips, extend your arm, then come in from the side. All of this should be on one horizontal plane: no punching upward or downward.
How to duck a hook punch:
- Keep your eyes on your opponent
- Bend your entire upper body forward in a u-shaped motion toward the direction of the punch, by twisting your hips. (So if the person is swinging with his right, you duck from your right to your left and come up again.)
- This presents the small of your back as the target, rather than your head.
- Keep your fists by your face to block.
How to roll into a fighting stance:
- Imagine a line that goes from your right pinky down your arm, then across your back in a diagonal line to your left hip and down your left ankle. This is how you land in a roll to be able to come up fighting.
- Once your back is on the ground, tuck your left foot behind your right knee, in the shape of a four. This allows you to push up on your right leg and be in fighting position.
- Once you know what you’re doing, you can do things like grab a sword on the ground as you go into a roll, then come up out of it holding the sword and ready to fight.
Two other ways of using rolls:
Dive roll. In this roll, Person 1 flips Person 2 over Person 1’s shoulder. Person 2 goes into a roll and comes up fighting. To do this: Person 1 is standing in front of Person 2, facing the same direction. Person 1 holds the wrist of Person 2 with his left hand across his body, and reaches behind him to grab Person 2’s shoulder with his right hand. Using his hips, Person 1 throws Person 2 forward and into a roll.
Back roll. In this roll, Person 1 is facing Person 2. Person 1 grabs Person 2’s shirt and falls backward on purpose, with his left leg straight and his right leg bent to his chest. As Person 1 falls, he places his right foot on Person 2’s lower abdomen and pushes, sending Person 2 flying over Person 1’s head and onto the ground. Person 2 lands in a roll.
In addition to learning this information, I had a blast watching the theater students get into the acting portion of the workshop. From the right angle, you could almost believe that these students were actually knocking each other silly. And then one or the other of them would laugh and the spell would be broken. All in all, it was a remarkable afternoon: both enjoyable for its own sake, and hopefully profitable for later writing. A perfect way to celebrate being done with the semester.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (born November 28, 1984) is an American actress and recording artist, best known for her scream queen roles in the horror film Final Destination 3 (2006), Black Christmas (2006), Death Proof (2007), The Thing (2011), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016). She appeared as John McClane’s daughter Lucy in Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard, the fourth and fifth films in the Die Hard franchise, Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Kate Hannah, an alcoholic struggling with sobriety in the Sundance drama Smashed.
Film Academy Invites a Record 683 New Members: 46 Percent Female and 41 Percent People of Color
Actors Mahershala Ali – “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Parts 1 and 2),” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” Anthony Anderson – “The Departed,” “Hustle & Flow” Adam Beach – “Suicide Squad,” “Flags of Our Fathers” Kate Beckinsale – “Love & Friendship,” “The Aviator” Chadwick Boseman – “Captain America: Civil War,” “Get on Up” John Boyega – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Attack the Block” Betty Buckley – “Wyatt Earp,” “Carrie” Rose Byrne – “X-Men: First Class,” “Bridesmaids” Julie Carmen – “The Milagro Beanfield War,” “Gloria” Enrique Castillo – “Déjà Vu,” “Bound by Honor” Morris Chestnut – “G.I. Jane,” “Boyz N the Hood” Cliff Curtis – “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Training Day” Loretta Devine – “Crash,” “I Am Sam” Carmen Ejogo – “Selma,” “Sparkle” Idris Elba – “Beasts of No Nation,” “Pacific Rim” America Ferrera – “Cesar Chavez,” “End of Watch” Vivica A. Fox – “Kill Bill,” “Independence Day” Andrew Garfield – “99 Homes,” “The Amazing Spider-Man” Greta Gerwig – “Frances Ha,” “To Rome with Love” Jesse D. Goins – “The Ugly Truth,” “Patriot Games” Bruce Greenwood – “Flight,” “Star Trek” Carla Gugino – “Watchmen,” “Night at the Museum” Luis Guzmán – “Punch-Drunk Love,” “Carlito’s Way” Dennis Haysbert – “Dear White People,” “Wreck-It Ralph” Tom Hiddleston – “Crimson Peak,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” James Hong – “Safe,” “Mulan” Oscar Isaac – “Ex Machina,” “A Most Violent Year” O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson* – “Ride Along,” “Friday” Dakota Johnson – “Black Mass,” “Fifty Shades of Grey” Cherry Jones – “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” “Signs” Michael B. Jordan – “Creed,” “Fruitvale Station” Daniel Dae Kim – “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” “Crash” Regina King – “Ray,” “Jerry Maguire” Brie Larson – “Room,” “Trainwreck” Byung-Hun Lee – “Terminator Genisys,” “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” Nia Long – “Keanu,” “Boyz N the Hood” Sal Lopez – “The Astronaut Farmer,” “Full Metal Jacket” Ignacio López Tarso – “Under the Volcano,” “Nazarin” Patti LuPone – “Parker,” “Driving Miss Daisy” Peter Mackenzie – “Trumbo,” “42” Rachel McAdams – “Spotlight,” “Midnight in Paris” Eva Mendes – “The Place beyond the Pines,” “Hitch” Tatsuya Nakadai – “Ran,” “Kagemusha” Adepero Oduye – “The Big Short,” “12 Years a Slave” Marisa Paredes – “The Skin I Live In,” “All about My Mother” Nate Parker – “Beyond the Lights,” “Red Tails” Harold Perrineau – “Zero Dark Thirty,” “28 Weeks Later” Jorge Perugorría – “Che,” “Strawberry and Chocolate” Silvia Pinal – “Vintage Model,” “The Exterminating Angel” Freida Pinto – “Immortals,” “Slumdog Millionaire” Michelle Rodriguez – “Avatar,” “Girlfight” Anika Noni Rose – “For Colored Girls,” “Dreamgirls” Cecilia Roth – “Lucia Lucia,” “All about My Mother” Mark Rylance – “Bridge of Spies,” “The Other Boleyn Girl” Pepe Serna – “The Black Dahlia,” “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” Martin Starr – “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” “Adventureland” Elizabeth Sung – “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “The Joy Luck Club” Sharmila Tagore – “Dhadkan,” “The World of Apu” Tessa Thompson – “Creed,” “Dear White People” Lorraine Toussaint – “Selma,” “Middle of Nowhere” Glynn Turman – “Super 8,” “Men of Honor” Gabrielle Union – “Top Five,” “Bad Boys II” Jacob Vargas – “The 33,” “Jarhead” Alicia Vikander – “The Danish Girl,” “Ex Machina” Emma Watson – “The Bling Ring,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” Damon Wayans, Jr. – “Big Hero 6,” “Let’s Be Cops” Marlon Wayans – “The Heat,” “Requiem for a Dream” Rita Wilson – “It’s Complicated,” “Runaway Bride” Daphne Zuniga – “Staying Together,” “Spaceballs”
MAGGIE Q [Tori] is an American actress who currently stars on CBS’ new drama thriller series, Stalker alongside Dylan McDermott. Directed by Liz Friedlander and written by Kevin Williamson, Stalker chronicles the story of a pair of detectives who investigate stalkers in Los Angeles.
Maggie came to prominence on CW’s successful action series Nikita, created by Craig Silverstein. For four seasons, Nikita chronicled the story of a rogue assassin (Maggie) who returns to take down the secret organization that trained her.
Last year, Maggie starred in Summit Entertainment’s box office hit Divergent, alongside Shailene Woodley and Theo James. Directed by Neil Burger, Divergent was the first installment of an adventure sci-fi series – based on the books by American novelist Veronica Roth. Divergent is set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that represent different virtues of humanity. Maggie depicts of the role of Tori, Tris’ (Woodley) reluctant mentor. Divergent was released in March 2014. Maggie recently finished filming the second installment, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, directed by Robert Schwentke which will be released on March 20th, 2015.
Maggie completed production on the independent cyber thriller A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island, alongside Minnie Driver, Dianna Agron and Ed Westwick. A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island was written and directed by Aram Rappaport.
Maggie will develop, produce and star in Red Flag, a limited series from Steven Jensen’s Independent Television Group, Mike Medavoy & Benjamin Anderson of Phoenix Pictures (Black Swan), and Fred Fuchs (Transporter). Red Flag is set in the early 1800s and centers on Ching Shih (Maggie Q), a beautiful young Chinese prostitute who becomes one of history’s most powerful pirates and head of the most successful crime syndicate in China.
In 2005, Maggie appeared in J.J. Abrams’ and Paramount Pictures’ Mission Impossible III, alongside Tom Cruise and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Subsequently, she appeared in a string of action films including Twentieth Century Fox’s Live Free or Die Hard with Bruce Willis and Justin Long and Robert Ben Garant’s Balls of Fury, in which she starred alongside Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken and George Lopez.
In addition to starring in action films, Maggie has been seen in a number of comedies and dramas showcasing her versatility across multiple genres. In 2012, she lent her voice as Princess Diana and Wonder Woman in the animated television series Young Justice and in 2011, she starred in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller Priest opposite Paul Bettany and Karl Urban. Maggie also appeared in New York, I Love You opposite Ethan Hawke and Summit Entertainment’s Deception with Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor.
Maggie’s additional film credits include House of Harmony, directed by Marco Serafini and a cameo in New Line Cinema’s Rush Hour 2 with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. She also captured Chinese audiences in a number of action films from 2000-2009 including The Warrior and the Wolf, Daniel Lee’s Three Kingdoms: Resurretion of the Dragon and Dragon Squad; Naked Weapon and Gen-X Cops2: Metal Mayhem.
Maggie is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii. She is an animal and human rights activist through her support of programs such as PETA, Best Friends, WildAid, Kageno and the Washington D.C. based PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). She currently resides in LA.