Before going much further I need to acknowledge that there are written sources on falls from fight directors far more advanced than myself. By way of example, an excellent technical manual is Combat Mime: A Non-Violent Approach to Stage Violence by J.D. Martinez, is one of the standard texts on unarmed combat and a book I strongly recommend for anyone pursuing any long-term study of physical performance.
Anyway, let's talk a bit about falling on stage or screen. (Like some of my other posts, this is probably an early draft of something that I'll expand into a more in-depth article or paper later on.)