Congratulations! You’ve spent hours and hours on your test fights, and you should be proud of all the work you’ve done! At this point, many people want to post the video of their exam, but I caution against it. Posting the video from your test fight is like posting the archival video from a show, meaning that it’s not meant to be shown on that medium and so it will not appear to be good work, no matter how brilliant it was in person. The scene and fight are not paced for the screen. Moreover, you’re being evaluated, so your performance will usually have a degree of nervousness, or at least awareness that the audience of adjudicators is assessing your work. Often some of your attention is taken away from the storytelling. Even if you’re not nervous at all, and your technique and acting are amazing, the scene isn’t performed with camera placement in mind and so the archival video invariably won’t appear to be your best work.
Instead, I suggest grabbing some manner of video device (you have so many choices now!) and experiment with filming for your fights for screen.
Before you start filming, check with the choreographer to see if they are okay with you posting their fight. Remember, it is their intellectual property. Once they’ve given permission, ask how they would like to be credited: their title, and the correct spelling of their name. Some people have professional names that are different from the one you may know them as, and it’s important to be sure that they are properly recognized.
Now, let’s get started on your project!
Part 1: The Big Picture
Think about how you’d like to present the fight. You may wish to go all out and set the fight in a historical period. Remember that every little detail becomes noticeable: if you haven’t been behind the camera before, you may be surprised at just how easy it is for a seemingly empty beach to have modern details everywhere. Be sure to scout your location ahead of time and make sure it will work. If the period is modern, you’ll have a much easier time of it, but you’ll still want to check out your location ahead of time so that you can plan your shoot.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may wish to shoot your fight in a rehearsal setting. This is often an easier place to start while you are still experimenting with the best ways to capture the fight (hopefully this is just the beginning of new set of projects for you, and not just a one-off activity). It’s well worth your while to rent a rehearsal space and experiment with camera angles, pacing, lighting, and the numerous elements that will be new to you as you transition your fight work from stage to screen.
We’ll continue next week!