Today, I took the first major step in fulfilling a lifelong goal … PADI Open Water Diver certification. I had a lot of fun at the course taught over at Scuba Dogs. The instructors were great! At the end of the course, we played underwater frisbee and toss. That was an unexpected treat after intense practice. Rolling over in 15+ feet of water and looking up without holding my breath was a pretty amazing experience. I cannot wait to do it in the open ocean.
Alias traveled to New Zealand for the world premiere of The Return of the King and to meet with four of the key players at Weta Digital to find out more about the 3D effects in the third movie. Scott Houston, chief technology officer at Weta Digital; Randall William Cook, animation designer and supervisor; Matt Aitken, digital model supervisor; and Jason Schleifer, senior animator and creature technical director offer up their thoughts on working on three back-to-back movies, their successes, challenges and what’s next for Weta.
Is there a conflict for you between maintaining your journal and writing fiction? How do you manage your time / ideas / approach, in order to stay active in both?
I’ve enormously enjoyed the immediacy of having the blog. In some ways it sort of bypasses established promotional and advertising systems. It means that, for example, if I’m giving a talk or doing a signing, many of the people who would have wanted to know this, know it. So while Steve Martin and I were both headlining at New York Is Book Country, and his face was on the ad material, mine was the talk that sold out. And if he had a blog, and blog readers, and so on, like I do, his would have sold out as well. It also means that I have several hundred thousand people cheerfully being some kind of a knowledge pool, for when I need to know things (especially techie things, which are always very mysterious to me) and more questions always being sent in than I could ever answer.
I found this snippet really interesting. It is very telling about the power of the blog/online journal. Not only can blogs be a non-intrusive, opt-in marketing tool (intended or no); the medium also provide an unprecedented means of two-way communication between artists and thier audiences. This recipriocal and potentially symbiotic exchange has tremendous potential.
I just got home from three hours of great play with Jackie and Adam. They very graciously introduced me to the basics of single-hand rapier fighting. As with my experience on Henry V, I am very impressed with how similar the discipline of Stage Combat (SC) is to the discipline of actual martial arts study. While SC is very stylized for dramatic effect and actor safety, it seems to require the same sort of mental acuity and focus as classical martial arts training.
After my rapier lesson, I did my best to introduce Jackie and Adam to some of the fundamentals of Japanese swordsmanship.* Mostly, we focused on basic sword ettiquette (how to hold, carry, exchange blades), simple cutting mechanics/postures, and historic/societal dynamics; all of which I hope may be of use to them if staging a duel, battlefield or “dojo-challenge”.
Everyone enjoyed our “play time”. I hope Jackie and Adam got as much out of the time as I did. At the behest of both of these talented fight coreographers, I took a look at www.safd.org, the website of the Society of American Fight Directors. The following blurb is lifted from their site and outlines what SAFD is all about. I intend to further investigate and perhaps participate in a workshop over the summer.
The Society of American Fight Directors is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting safety and fostering excellence in the art of directing staged combat/theatrical violence.
* Disclaimer: Out of respect for my teachers, I need to be clear that I did not introduce any specific techniques from either Shinto Muso Ryu or Muso Jikki Den Eishin Ryu, nor did I present myself as a qualified teacher of either art.
For strike, Jay (my buddy) and I took charge of the storage space, making sure that items were correctly and appropriately stored. It also involved a fair amount of heavy lifting.
Really? All I recall is Drew shooting the proverbial shit while everyone else worked their backsides off. 😉
In all seriousness, Drew worked hard that evening. All of us did. That said, I am told it was a relatively light strike; as our set was rather spartan as sets go.
As chronicled elsewhere in this blog, Henry V was my first theater experience and it was a joy. From the first fight call to last call at the last cast party, I had nothing but fun. Everyone was wonderfully supportive of this first-timer and I made friendships which I am sure will carry forward.
I just realized, it is Friday night and I do not have fight call.
/me gets a little misty.
I have intentionally decided not to blog about Henry V for at least two weeks. I want to let the experience sink in; particularly in light of the war in Iraq. Until then.