Field Hockey heads to Hollywood

Jan. 13, 2014, 3:35 p.m. (ET)

Former Men’s National Team Member and Assistant Coach Binh Hoang has a new impressive title to add to his resume. Over the last six months, Hoang has worked with various production companies in Los Angeles as a Field Hockey Technician for television series and movies.

Throughout his experience, Hoang worked with ABC’s Switched at Birth and NBC’s Bloodlines. Although Bloodlines was a pilot show not picked up by the network, Switched at Birth will be featuring field hockey in its third season premiering tonight, January 13. Hoang also assisted on the set of the independent film “Sisters”, premiering in February.

The companies were scouring the Internet for local field hockey coaches when they came across Hoang, who is currently a coach for Bulldogs Field Hockey Club located near Moorpark, Cali.

As a Field Hockey Technician, Hoang primarily worked with actresses as a coach, focusing on fundamental skills. The camera also does a lot of the leg work to help make actors look like professionals. Some scenes were filmed without a ball or very close up where the television audience cannot actually see the ball. Occasionally, body and stunt doubles were used for actors who were unable to do a specific skill or in scenes with falls. Oversized Wiffle balls were even used as fake field hockey balls.

For Hoang, a day on set usually began with an early morning “call time”, consisting of checking in on site by 7 a.m. Once on set, the entourage of cast and crew came flooding in for rehearsal where actors reviewed their lines and did a walk-through rehearsal prior to a final costume change.

Hoang’s main responsibility was to ensure that all aspects of the sport were displayed correctly in the scenes. Prior to filming, Hoang usually received a script and was able to modify any terminology or action during the rehearsal. He was able to recommend various field hockey scenarios for different scenes, depending on whether it was a corner, a penalty stroke or field play. The directors would then pick and choose scenarios that worked best for the camera.

On the set of ABC’s Switched at Birth, Hoang was able to work with the actresses and extras prior to filming to practice skills and drills necessary for their scenes. The series’ actresses Vanessa Marano and Katie Leclerc were some of Hoang’s favorite people to work with as they really enjoyed the game.

“Working on the sets was a lot of fun,” said Hoang. “The most difficult part for me was to watch the field hockey filming and not be able to say or do anything so as to not interfere with the take. It’s equivalent to coaching without being able to talk during a game.”

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