Life’s a Bash

Interns for the 2011 VA Beach Bash

It’s been quite the week.

Last weekend was my first time checking out the Virginia Beach Bash, a long-running regional SAFD workshop in stage combat and film fighting. I was there as an intern, along with the rest of the motley crew pictured here.

More than any other SAFD event I’ve attended (which granted is only a few- Portland, Seattle, Salem), this one really did cover film fighting. Besides the presence of guest artist and cinematographer Richard Clabaugh and the now-known-primarily-for-his-film-work Richard Ryan (Dark Knight, Troy, Stardust, Sherlock Holmes, etc), they had also teamed up with the cinematography department at Regent, so we had a dozen or so students there to study shooting and editing action scenes- Richard’s Short Sword for the Screen class on Saturday met for two sessions, and after lunch on Sunday all were able to view edited fight scenes and have Q&A with the student camerafolk about their video and editing choices*.  I think that’s great as a learning tool for both sides, and whether there’s any literal takeaway in the form of publicly sharable video or promotional material for the workshop, there’s plenty for all of us to learn from that. Sunday Richard Ryan and I and one of the best of the cinematography students also went off to help Richard try out some of the speed-ramping stuff he’s been doing lately along with the swordfight we’d just done. That was a great experience for me, and for the cameraman, and I think Richard learned a few editing and Mac laptop tricks from the cinematography student as well. Hopefully I’ll get to see (although not share) the results of that test later, and in the meantime I’ll just geek over the fact that Mr. Ryan has a file on his laptop (I think in the “Sherlock Holmes II” folder) titled “Kevin Speed Test”.

We also were treated to a special screening of Solomon Kane (not released in the US I believe), followed by Q&A with Richard who had been swordmaster on the production.

Sadly I wasn’t able to work with everyone there in the one weekend. Hopefully I’ll be there again next Spring and can work with Michael Kirkland and Gregg Lloyd, as they are the workshop coordinators, but I did get to cross swords with K. Jenny Jones (who was one of the first SAFD instructors I met, when she came to Earlham College some fifteen or so years ago), play with Jenny Male (an alum of the VCU Theatre Pedagogy master’s program, I found out!), and swing sticks with Michael Chin (somehow I’d managed to never meet him until now…) Good to see Casey Kaleba again as well, and meet Martin Noyes. Full teacher profiles from the workshop are here.

I had the good fortune of rooming at a hotel with an incoming VCU MFA grad who will be in the same program as me starting next Fall- Dan Granke.

There’s some great photography of the event from fellow Intern Craig Lawrence– the shots above are from his camera, although the Intern shot is not taken by him- he’s front and center.

The day after I got back, I shaved my head.

Yesterday I spent most of the day up in Northern Virginia working with the fine folks at Mind & Media, shooting a project they’re working on for a National Guard group- thus the haircut. It’s a worthy project (resiliency training) and actually interesting for the actors as well (as it’s all about people dealing with crap in their lives, and either overcoming or not). I’ll admit to feeling it a bit today, as one of my shoots had me improvising dialogue with a buddy while working out. Haven’t spent that much time doing bench presses in a loooong time, and I was feeling out of shape compared to most of these guys anyway. Something to work on this Summer I suppose. I’ll be back on set with them next Wednesday afternoon to finish up the role.

Sunday night I’m supposed to be on set for a VCU 35mm film shoot- a night shoot, so I’m hoping the weather isn’t too miserable. It’ll be good to finally get to work with them- I’d sent introductory emails a while back, but it took a specific project and being referred by David Leong & Aaron Anderson to finally make that connection. It’s a little mugging/fight/accidental stabbing scene- should be fun.

Saw Troy Women tonight, which I’d done the fights for. Good show, but not a style I tend to gravitate towards- more about the poetry than the motion or connection between actors- lots of one person talking out to the audience while others watch. Set design’s good though, and there’s some solid direction and performances- plus a hot little dance number by fellow grad student Penny Ayn Maas opening it up. I’ll admit I liked the dance and fights best, as that’s when I felt the most interaction between people on stage, but that’s just about my taste in scripts and genres as opposed to any fault of the production. Tonight was the invited dress rehearsal- it runs for two more nights in the Schafer theatre.

Also had fight call for The Bluest Eye, which opens in about a week. Great to see that all coming together, and be on the set (nice set too, by the way). That’s the next mainstage show at VCU.

As you can see, I’m keeping busy. Just returned a rental deposit for some basket-hilts and revolvers that saw service recently in the Scottish Play, and made up a contract for another likely rental going out. No rest for the wicked!


*Edited to add: One of them is now up on the event Facebook page:


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