Oof. It’s been a heck of a long year, these past nine months or so since my last entry.

Fall actually got me in trouble a bit, over-extending myself. Between the book deadline, directing a show, and multiple fight choreography gigs, I short-changed the time and brainpower and sleep required to do my best work as a teacher. Got called out on that, and have had a hard time making it up to my grad students. Tried hard going into Spring, and only had a few gigs (I’m de-facto resident fight person for Cleveland Playhouse, and had a blast working on CLUE with them), but then the whole pandemic hit.

First week or two of that, my laptop died (with no Apple store open to take it to) and I lost all my lesson plans. I was sure they were on my cloud drive, but maybe having it open when the laptop died screwed that up. Had to get a new motherboard and hard drive and screen. Then my wife got sick, and was in quarantine in our bedroom for a few weeks, while the three kids were also transitioning to online instruction, and while that was happening also our fridge died, several light fixtures died, some toilets needed fixing… it was just a string of crises, and I got a bit overwhelmed, and again, asked too much of the grad students in terms of solo projects between online checkins, and wasn’t the most transparent with the constantly changing game plan. Teaching movement online is a challenge. Internet connection at home was inconsistent, don’t have a big space to move in while on camera, some lesson plans had to be put off and new ones thrown in. Still waiting to hear what Fall will look like, but I’m sure it will also involve lots of constant adjustments. I’m committed to doing better, but if we can’t meet in person or come in contact, things like stage combat (which was supposed to be more than a semester before they leave at the end of next year) may not work. The SAFD won’t allow online-only certification, nor should they; partnering skills, distancing, etc. are a huge part of stage combat. It pains me, since that’s what I’m best at, and I sorely need to shine a bit with this cohort, but if it means paring it down to Spring in the hopes of getting to meet in person, and doing something else in the Fall, that may be what happens. I’m also down for an acting class and an undergraduate movement class this Fall. The writing seminar I did this last Spring worked just fine with the transition mid-semester to online-only, but performance classes are going to be much harder.

But, on the productive end of things:

The Screen Combat Handbook is now out!

It’s available on Routledge.com, Amazon, and elsewhere. Glad to have that off my plate finally, and I hope it can do some good out there.

The PewTube and Fight Designer YouTube channels both have new content from this past couple months.

I’ve started catching up on updates to the Fight Designer website, but still have a ways to go.

There have been a few online appearances (a panel at ZoeCon, and an upcoming stage combat online workshop class I’m prepping for), some online trainings (the Social Distancing Showdown happened the weekend I would otherwise have been teaching at the Allegheny Alley Fight, so I jumped on as a student, and I’m hoping to participate in a Synetic-sponsored online movement workshop series this week).

But mostly I’m still busy with keeping my household from falling apart. I got a list from the city last October or something of things we had to fix, and weather has kept me from doing most of them until recently – it’s been a late, wet Spring here, and things like driveway work and masonry don’t go well with that. Not the most creative or satisfying work I’ve ever done, certainly, but older houses take work and money, and it’s just one of many things I’ve neglected (and to be fair, it has like an 85 year head start on me, and we just moved in last year).

I think there are many things that I hope never return to quite what they were before, as I hope this has made obvious some of the failings in our healthcare and political systems in the US… but I can’t wait for the day we all feel safe returning to the classrooms, theatre, and film sets. And I hope enough of those institutions survive the interim, because I know they won’t all.

Hope everyone’s staying healthy and sane.

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