Fight Choreography: The Art of Non-Verbal Dialogue
Written by John Kreng
All of us have seen films in which the story and acting might be great, but the film suffers because the action and fight sequences are not convincing enough, are terribly shot or edited, or do not integrate seamlessly into the story, causing them to be ineffective, gratuitous, or worst of all, unintentionally humorous. However, when done well, fight and action scenes support and heighten the story and expand the characters.
Fight Choreography: The Art of Non-Verbal Dialogue helps filmmakers ensure that the fight scenes in their films add to the film?s overall quality. Creating a stage fight with a high level of clarity and entertainment value is a very complicated endeavor and requires skills that acting classes and martial arts schools cannot teach. This book helps filmmakers make sense of this art form and how they can use it to create their own styles of fights for a variety of projects, whether they be feature-length films, shorts, or television shows. The book is instructional, informative, and entertaining, and focuses on every important element involved in fight choreography, from basic philosophies, initial concept, and planning, to filming, editing, adding special effects, and sound mixing the final product. e book is not only an indispensable resource for filmmakers, but will also interest film buffs who want to learn how great fight sequences are made so they can better appreciate the action.
John Kreng Biography
John Kreng has had a successful multi-faceted career in the entertainment industry working as a Stunt Coordinator, Fight Choreographer, Stand-Up Comedian, Author, Actor, Video Game Designer/Producer, and Stuntman. Born in Washington, D.C., the son of the Cambodian Ambassador to the United States, John is of Chinese and Thai descent, and is fluent in Vietnamese, Chinese, and English. After his father died before John was one year old, his mother decided to stay in the U.S. so he could have a better education and the freedom to be successful at whatever he desired.
As a Stunt Coordinator, Fight Choreographer, and Stuntman, John has worked with both Asian and Western luminaries that include Jet Li, Yuen Cheung Yen, Tsui Hark, Steven Spielberg, Roger Corman, and the late David Carradine. He has been featured and/or appeared in Black Belt, Martial Arts Training, Impact (UK), and Inside Karate magazines. John is also the author of the only in‐depth textbook on screen fighting, Fight Choreography: The Art of Non‐Verbal Dialogue.
As a fight choreographer, John feels he brings many elements to the table that makes the fights exciting and is at home choreographing rough and tumble Western style brawls as well as precise and intricate Hong Kong style fights. Living a dual life as an Asian-American has also helped John when working with Asian talent because he understands both the Western and Asian approaches to action on film because they have different mythologies when it comes to acting non-verbally, aka action.
John has been studying various martial arts since he was a child and holds 3rd degree black belts in Tang Soo Do and Te Katana Jujitsu. He is an accomplished tournament fighter and has worked as a bouncer at several nightclubs, bringing practical knowledge and understanding of the human psychology of how a fight why we fight. Some of his real life experiences are published in the book, Bullyproof Your Child: An Expert’s Advice on Teaching Children to Defend Themselves, by Keith Vitali.
John was an art major in college, having attended Parsons School of Design in New York City, and studied screenwriting at UCLA Extension. He brings the unique knowledge to the stunt world with his understanding of the 3-act structure to an action scene (in relation to the story), while also understanding the visual aesthetics and composition that a fight needs to look appealing to audiences, while also keeping them grounded with the films vision of “reality.” In addition, being a veteran stand up comedian (14 plus years experience), John has honed his comedic instincts and understands the mechanics of comedy, where he can easily apply it to his fight choreography when needed.
As a Stand-Up Comedian, John started out in Washington, D.C. at The Comedy Café alongside other promising comedians at the time,Martin Lawrence and Tommy Davidson. After moving to Los Angeles, he was a regular performer at The Comedy Store for over a decade where he honed his act and learned from the world’s best comedians like Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, and Sam Kinison, to name a few. His act is unique and personal, basing much of his material off his personal life and growing up in an Asian-American family in America. He has 3 national TV appearances to his credit, was the first non-African American comedian to appear in BET’s Comic View, performed all across the country as a national headliner, and was L.A. Weekly’s Comedy Pick of the Week.
Working in the interactive media as a Videogame Producer and Designer, John has been able to combine his talents as a screenwriter, fight choreographer, martial artist, comedian, and graphic artist all into one job. Some of the titles he worked on were ART OF FIGHTING 3 (Associate producer and mo-cap artist) and FULL SPECTRUM WARRIOR (stunt coordinator). He has worked for THQ, Mattel, SNK of Japan, Sony Pictures, and Disney and is a featured interview in the book Ultimate Game Design by Tom Meigs.
John’s extensive knowledge and passion for martial arts films since he was a child, has led him to write for several martial arts magazines, providing some ground breaking interviews with Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Woo Ping. He was also a film critic with a monthly column, and was the coordinating editor, project supervisor and writer of the 25th Anniversary tribute to Enter the Dragon & Bruce Lee, published by TC Media. For home entertainment, he was a director, segment producer, interviewer, and special consultant to many special features on DVD for The Weinstein Company and Contender Entertainment Group (UK). He recently gave an on-camera interview for A&E’s Biography: Steven Seagal.
With all these diverse experiences and accomplishments, John sees the similarities rather than the differences, “The common denominator with everything I have done is finding creative ways to express myself and to always challenge myself and grow as an artist,” comments John.