How to Direct Action Sequences Like Michael Bay

Break up the big with the small.


“Going from the big, epic action outside to the stuff right inside with our people.”

Say what you will about director Michael Bay… Despite poor critical reception, the man knows how to succeed at the box office! For example, Transformers: Age of Extinction brought in more than $1 billion worldwide, making it the tenth highest-grossing film of all time.

I tend to agree with the critics when it comes to Bay’s films, but I really love this behind-the-scenes video about his approach to action sequences.

If ever you’ve wondered about helming a big budget, effects-heavy action film, it’s well worth eleven minutes.

Check it out:

Bay’s thoughts on juxtaposing the epic with the personal especially resonate. “What I try to do with my action,” he explains, “Is…. go from my very big epic shot, to… small, minute… shots”:

My style is to do something small [with the characters], and then you just, ‘bam’, you whack ‘em with [insert epic event here]… Going from the big, epic action outside to the stuff right inside with our people.

What do you think about Bay’s approach to action sequences? Why? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 Michael Koehler, with

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