fight scenes

Links That Are Link-esque

Here’s another linky list, lovely lurkers (oo, alliteration!), for your brain food happiness.   ~Jenn

Two articles re: William Gibson / Neuromancer supplied to me by Friend Harold, as I am now reading its sequel at his request. A Global Neuromancer and this one from Wired magazine.

This podcast ep done by  Friend Jason M. during which he and I hash out the “Genre Wars.” Many more linkish

This meme is about logical fallacies, which is one of the things I taught my Comp students about recently.

This meme is about logical fallacies, which is one of the things I taught my Comp students about recently.

links on the podcast’s page, too–all stuff we discuss during the ep. It’s not a new one, but I had recently re-shared it to my other social media, so.

Friend Ian’s new book is out soon, and I wrote him a Foreward. I was a beta reader for this one, and I highly enjoyed it. It’s called The Lion and the Five Deadly Serpents.

I will be helping Friend Corbin out with his latest film (coordinating stunts, natch). Here’s his film production site, and the insane 48-hr-competition short called “Spinners” for which I also supplied the fight scenes.

Did you hear the big news about Patrick Rothfuss’ brilliant not-quite-completed trilogy?

Have you followed the other websites/blogs to which I contribute my writings? There are three: Your Boulder, Nerds in Babeland, and Sherlock’s Home. All three are worth following, not just for my work alone.

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Fiction Selection

I came across this clip from an unpublished story that’s the first of 5 I need to get my butt in gear with and edit, proofread, revise, and freaking publish already! Or, at least I think I do. What do you think, lovely lurkers?

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From Sweet Revenge, 2000 (unpublished)

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“Take that, spawn of the devil!”

Thwang!

I whirl around. Protruding from the mast, inches from my right shoulder, is a sextant, the sharp end embedded into the wood. It trembles with the impact. I turn back around to face my assailant.

Three rigging-lackeys lounge on barrels, ropes, the rail. The man in the center, one Arbitor, curses at his near miss. The other two laugh.

“Here’s the instrument to stick in a pretty walking map!” the mustachioed pirate on the left jeers. The right-hand lackey, lounging on the rail, grabs his trousers and gestures lewdly. I frown. Jack O’Napes is nowhere in sight. Meeting my uncle the Captain, no doubt. The rest of the crew is far from us. Arbitor fidgets. He looks uncomfortable; he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. His two flanking cohorts advance on me, leering, muttering under their breath. I catch a few phrases: “Tie ‘er up and hang ‘er,” “Our treasure…” “Nothing but a little girl.” At that, the right-hand lackey clutches himself again and replies, “I’ll make ‘er into a woman, Skrike. You hold ‘er.”

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The main characters from a sequel to this story. You can see Gemma on the far left labeled as “Cap’n.”

I tense, every muscle on the alert. Arbitor backs up slowly, biting his fingers.

“Now!” shouts the right-hand lackey, and lunges at me.

I draw my sword so quickly, he runs straight into it. The point pierces his abdomen. He gasps in pain and fury. I wrench the sword free, and whirl to face my other opponent, who whisks his sword out of its scabbard and squares off with me. Arbitor drags his bleeding, cursing other crony downstairs, calling for the Captain. I do not hear him. Skrike swipes a cut at my left side, which I parry easily. He is already breathing too heavily, in anticipation. I can see his next move in his eyes.

I thwart his expected thrust and bind his blade around, surprising him with my strength, and exposing the left side of his back. I cut quickly towards his kidney, but he somehow twists out of his awkward position and beats my blade away. I hear running feet belowships and on the hollow-sounding stairs, but all my thoughts are on my man, my breathing, my footing. His blade, my blade.

His next thrust is far too sloppy, he being still off-balance. I tack aside the off-center miss, and aim this time for his right calf. He won’t expect a blow so low.

Just as I thought: the cut draws blood. He sucks in a ragged breath and falls to his knees.

He’s not through yet, however. He shoves his blade straight, like a battering-ram, towards my solar plexus. I parry the blade, and this time envelopée the sword right out of his hand. It circles, out of his control, and clatters to the deck. It flings itself across the floor and lands at the feet of Jack O’Napes, who has appeared from belowships. The Captain stands next to him. I point my sword at the hollow of Skrike’s throat. He, panting, sweating, eyes me with awe.

“Apologize,” I say between clenched teeth. When he does not respond, I place the point of my blade right up against the depression at the base of his neck. He swallows, with difficulty.

“A-po-lo-gize,” I sing to him. “Say you’re sorry in front of the Captain–” my vision widens, and I notice that the whole crew has assembled like a theatre crowd. “–and all the crew. Then,” I lower my voice and move a step closer, “kiss my foot and promise you shall never try me again.” At the word ‘never,’ I prick his skin ever so slightly. He tenses.

“I…am sorry.”

“That’s right.”

“Cap’n Jonquil, sir, ye crew, I behaved like an ass.” This makes the crew growl in malicious laughter. “I’ll never threaten the Gem again, to ye all do I swear.” His voice seeps with humiliation. I move the sword away from his throat. A tiny bead of blood wells up from the spot. We look into each other’s eyes for two heartbeats.

Then, he bows to the floor and brushes his mustache against my left foot. I smirk. The crew bursts into a roar. Captain Jonquil picks him up by the scruff.

The crew quiets.

Captain Jonquil speaks, holding Skrike by the back of his neck.

“Know this. If any one of you ever so much as dreams of touching our Gem with unclean intent, you shall be fodder for the sharks, understood?” A murmur of assent. “She is my child, more than my brother’s, and is no devil’s whelp. She shall get her share, you scurrilous son of a pig,” this last comment is directed at the wounded and gasping rigging-lackey I skewered. “and she’s a better seaman than you, Arbitor.” The man bows his head.

“For you, Skrike, to be this badly beaten by a woman should be enough punishment for you, yet the proper punishment for the attack of a fellow crew member, according to our code, which you dutifully signed when you boarded,” the crew murmurs again. “is nineteen lashes with the cat o’ nine. O’Napes, take him and bestow the honors upon him.” Jack hoists the sagging Skrike by the arm and drags him away.

Latest Theatre Event

Check out this article I wrote over at Your Boulder, about the latest theatrical gig I’m involved with. It’s The Five Fifths of the Princess Bride, and it’s going to be…as postmodernly insane as you can imagine. An excerpt from the YB article is below, and for the rest, go to the above link. And come see me on Saturday!   ~Jenn

The artists assigned to tackle each of the five facets of the Princess Bride are (in order):  Stories with Spirit,The Band of Toughs, Al Stafford Productions, Mandy Greenlee, and Jaryd Smart. Tickets can be purchased on the event’s Facebook page or the Boulder Fringe website. $25 will get you admission to a cocktail hour, silent auction, and of course the show itself. All proceeds go to the Boulder International Fringe Festival. It’s a Boulder event not to be missed, to support another Boulder event not to be missed!

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Genrification

Those of you lucky enough to have seen my presentation at Denver Comic Con (ROMOCOCO) heard about this classification system I have invented in detail and saw many clips illustrating the genres in my Prezi. Here is the essay on which that presentation was based.   ~Jenn

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GENRIFICATION: stage combat style categories

Part of being an effective fight choreographer (or performer, for that matter) is knowing what the feel and style is of the show in which your fights appear. The type of movement, the weapons used, the style of combat, and the mood of the fights all need to match what’s happening in the show as a whole. I have constructed a two-column structure that is useful when diagnosing the genre or style of fights you’re looking at. Here’s how it looks, sans explanation:

1 realistic                             a comedic

2 expressionistic              b dramatic

3 stylized / dance             c swashbuckling

Combinations between the two columns can be made ad infinitum. For example, a fight that’s 2a would be the big group fight in Anchorman. 3b would be the opening rumble in West Side Story. 1c would be the Ballad Duel in the Depardieu Cyrano.

Here is what all six of these “genrifications” mean:

1–the fight sounds and looks realistic or physically plausible. Note I did not say “real” but “realistic.” no theatrical fight actually looks real–fights are far too small and fast for an audience to be able to follow the action. We’re talking reaLISM, not reaLITY. So a realistic fight has plausible physics, fatigue/pain is acted the way a real person would be feeling, according to what’s happened to her.

Example: fight scenes in Fight Club

2–there are some over-the-top moves, fights may be a little longer and/or prettier. It’s still violence, but maybe the pain/fatigue factor isn’t there.

Example: the famous sword fight in The Princess Bride

3–movement is abstract, symbolic. Movements are not fighting moves, but dance that symbolizes the violence.

Example: Romeo and Juliet, the ballet. (also the opening sequence in West Side Story: what does the snapping represent?)

a–the fight is meant to cause laughter. Actors shouldn’t indicate pain in a way that will cause the audience to feel sympathy; that’s when it’s no longer funny.  (Famous Jenn quote from class: “big men, falling down = funny.”)

Example: Three Stooges, Looney Tunes, Anchorman

 b–the fight is meant to cause tension, be a serious conflict between characters. There should be real fear of pain/death, real fear of harm.

Example: Shakespearean drama (RnJ, MacBeth), Rob Roy

c–this is the attitude I call “La!” It’s not funny necessarily, though it may cause delight. It’s not heavy or serious, either, though a sense of danger may be present. The characters are actually having fun fighting, though they still have a strong objective, or need to win. Think of the shift in attitude from c to b in the final Laertes/Hamlet duel.

Example: Zorro, Three Musketeers, The Matrix 1 dojo scene

Brick killed a guy.

Brick killed a guy.

Think of your favorite fight scenes and pick one of these characteristics from each column. Are you right? Whenever I pick up a new fight direction/choreography gig, this is the first thing I do, as I read the script–I make sure I have a precise idea what direction I should be going in as I begin the fight designing process.

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