By Donna Parker
If you’ve ever wondered how actors make fight scenes look so realistic, they’re relying on fight directors like Ron Piretti ’71 to make them look good.
“I’m an actor first of all, but I stage fights for movies as the fight director,” says Ron, who equates this unique skill to choreography.
“Staging fights is exactly like a dance. You have to make it look realistic without the actors getting hurt. If it looks too fast or too fake, then people definitely won’t buy it.”
Between throwing punches, Ron has soft soaped it on One Life to Live and The Guiding Light. He also teaches acting classes at Marymount College in New York City and is the Acting Department Director at the Broadway Theatre Project in Tampa, Fla.
“That’s what you do — you look for work at all times. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. Everybody doesn’t work at some time, so you find a survival job. Acting, though, is my love and always has been.”
It’s a love story that began on the Trinity campus when Ron was very involved in theater and studied acting under Gene McKinney.
“Also, Paul Baker was an amazing man and definitely opened my eyes to new ways of thinking. However and whenever I teach now, I think back to those days,” says Ron.
“I was in a production of The Birds on campus and there was a wonderful sense of community in the theater department. Many times I walked into the theater when no one was there just to experience the quiet and potential of it all.”
He continues to be awed by the creative process and says his greatest achievement is, “getting this far and still being in the business.”
“It’s a great ride! The most important thing in life is to follow your heart. Lots of people settle for things they don’t like to do. I always try to have fun with it and never take things too seriously.”
So even though this acting thing has its challenges, Ron says he’ll fight for it – to the death – so to speak. He keeps at it, as of late playing “the guy putting up the sign” in the last shot of the latest New York Life Insurance commercial.
“As with any art form, you go into a different zone. Whether I’m acting, creating, writing, or directing, sometimes it’s a disease and you just can’t help it,” he jokes.