New member
Who has successfully died before? How can I advise my actors to die properly? I need some tips -- I find it difficult to make someone die convincingly!

So let me break up my question:

* Ok. So someone's gonna shoot you with an SMG. You got about 8 squibs (compressed air) attached onto your body. How would you act to make all that blood spray convincing, real and/or painful looking, like exaggerating the body jerking/twitching, facial expressions?

* Get shot, 'fly' backwards to ground, die quickly, or slowly collapsing onto knees, says the last words blablabla while cotching blood, falls down?

* Real time or slow motion?

* Camera angles? Front, side, or a mix of both? Close ups on the bleeding area (crop out head and legs) or whole body?

* Anything I need to look out for the costumes?

* I'm planning to film a day-scene outdoors in snow, and I got three identical snowboarding jackets that I'll be using. They're white so it'll match with the snow, and a sharp contrast with blood. And I'll probably do the squib setup in the jackets instead of on the actor for the sake of easiness. Suggestions?

* Should I trigger the squibs in one go (and use multiple cameras) or trigger 2-3 squibs per cut and change the camera angles in each cut and also do touch-ups on the blood stains & the "bullet hole entries" on the costume?

I know we can practice with water squibs (triggered by compressed air), but on the shooting day, nothing must go wrong. I can only modify 2 of the 3 jackets because the last one is required in other scenes (we're filming in random order). They could get cleaned again and everything reset but it'll take time!

Well I guess these tips could be applied to getting shot by arrows or what not, as long as it's a lethal projectile :D


To me, 99 out of 100 times, even in the BEST of movies, the dying scenes stink. They're just never believable to me.

And they're visually pretty boring anyway when those eyes finally close, or stay open. This moment always seems to look the "same."

I think the best part of death scenes is BEFORE the person dies, when he's wracked with fear and looking for a way NOT to die. Or the dialogue is so great that the acting is secondary. ("Steel Magnolias.)

"Saving Private Ryan" is a great example of action dying, but NOT the big scene where Tom Hanks dies at the end. It's all of those OTHER soldiers buying the farm and crying for mommy.


New member
Lots of angles with quick cuts will help to hide a less-than-par performance. But for a good example of what you're looking for, watch "The Godfather" when Sunny gets "whacked" on the causeway.