April 9, 2012

Virginia Beach BASH ’12 Recap

This year’s Virginia Beach BASH, held March 24-25 here on Regent’s Campus, celebrated nine years of combat with a variety of class offerings for all levels of participants. Classes included a wide spectrum of fighting styles and weapons in workshops sanctioned by the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD). Unique to the BASH, the weekend also offered opportunities for filmmakers to learn the art of producing, filming and editing fight action sequences.

The BASH was coordinated by Regent’s own Dr. Michael Hill-Kirkland, assisted by Professor Gregg Lloyd, from the Theatre Department of Christopher Newport University.

Stunt performer and guest instructor
Tim Bell is set on fire as part of a workshop demonstration.

Photo by Jared Beasley

As reported by Regent’s Rachel Judy, one of the highlights of this year's workshop was the opportunity for students to create the illusion of a car accident featuring stunt performer and guest instructor Tim Bell being set on fire. Besides providing a first-hand look at how to set up and safely conduct such a stunt, the "accident" was filmed by Regent cinema-television students under the direction of guest instructor Richard Clabaugh who then edited the sequence for viewing on Sunday. The stunt was coordinated by stunt coordinator, Dale Girard.

Other featured workshop instructors included SAFD fightmasters Richard Ryan (Troy, The Dark Knight, Stardust, Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Michael Chin and Scot Mann.

"The Virginia Beach Bash features some of the best fight direction talent in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom," Hill-Kirkland explained. "Over this two-day intensive workshop, students had the opportunity to study stage and film combat techniques with some of the best talent in the business and the academy."

MFA Michael McLendon learns about
safe fire stunts
2nd year MFA Ashley Dakin, attending the BASH for the first time, appreciated the opportunity to incorporate film technique with combat. She stated, “My favorite class was Kung Fu for the Camera with Michael Chin because it was fun, easy to learn and because I was able to use my Martial Arts background. Also, the instructor kept the camera on for the whole class and kept showing us how the fight should look on camera. After we learned the fight, we were able to be filmed with our partner and learn the importance of camera angles. If we messed it up, he would let us try again and then all of us observed how our fights looked on camera…(in the future) I hope to see more classes that involve combat for the camera. I really loved working with the CTV students.”

Another first time attendee, B.A. Tianna Yentzer, appreciated the nunchucks and Apache knife fighting classes. She says, “It was awesome being able to learn a skill that is hardly ever seen or used… it teaches coordination and patience. Whether or not I ever become a Nunchuck master it taught me something in a mere hour and a half class I know I will carry with me when approaching any skill I tackle… I joke now that I have found my two inner callings through knife fighting and nunchucks.”

MFA Beth Litwak and MFA Lauren McDonald cross quarterstaffs
Whether planning to pursue Stage and Film Combat as a part of a future career, or attending classes purely for enjoyment, many of the participants recommended the BASH for future students in glowing terms. MFA Marji Peters commented “It’s a good introduction to stage combat if you’re a beginner, and a great way to hone your skills and work on technique under the eyes of people who have proven themselves to be good at what they do.” Ashley Dakin adds “I believe that this workshop has opened my eyes to opportunities that I didn’t even know were out there for stunt work. Something that the instructors would emphasize in every class is not to anticipate the next move when you’re fighting. I have been able to transfer this idea to my acting as well. There are many lessons from combat to be transferred into acting a scene. Finally, people should attend the bash because it is an opportunity to network with other actors and directors.” And B.A. Rachel Albrecht enthusiastically stated, “It is a great opportunity to meet people and to hone your stage fighting skills. Also, IT'S SO MUCH FUN!!”

Get ready for next year – the 10th Anniversary of the Virginia Beach BASH! Coming in March, 2013!

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