When we talk about Screen Combat at The British Action Academy, we consider it more than just a skill; it's an art form unto itself and as an art form it's not always an exact science. Of course, the technicalities remain the same, but there is a huge part of Screen Combat which is intuitive. There's a part which comes from the heart. It's what separates an adequate performance from a great fight. With this in mind, we asked Andreas Petrides, Chief Instructor and Warrior Masterclass creator, for his top five tips to elevate your Screen Combat performance!
Often the element which can make or break a Screen Combat performance is believability. You need to remember that this is a performance, and you are playing a character. When preparing for a performance you need to research your character, and when it comes to performing you need to believe that you are that character. When you fight you need to become that character. If you don't believe it, then no one watching you will!
2. You Are A Storyteller
Great Screen Combat is no different to great storytelling, and your fight must take the audience on a journey. Always have an exciting beginning, a high energy middle, and a climactic end to every routine you perform. As recent concluding chapters have shown us, the end is incredibly important. So, when performing a final killing blow don't waste it and just standstill. Move into a cool final stance, and swiftly move your weapon to give an exciting finish.
3. Give Yourself Time
Don't confuse high energy with speed. Sometimes performers can be in such a rush to get through their routines they don't let it breathe. Try breaking your routines up into sections, this will give you time to think, and allows you to perform as your character, and to add in vocals between each section of the fight.
4. Work Together
Although they might be your opponent in the fictional world of the fight, when you are fighting someone they are your partner, and how you work together will have a huge influence on the final routine. Always work together with your partner and give yourselves cues within the routine such as holding your face from a given blow, so that when your hands come away from your face this cues your opponent to attack again. These cues will aid with your timing and help you to perform your reaction fully. These cues will also help you to show pain in your reaction, correct your distances, and prepare for the next blow.
5. Watch It Again And Again!
You always hear stories of actors or actresses who don't watch themselves in their movies and hate seeing themselves on screen. Well, a Screen Combatant is never afforded that luxury. You should always try to record and view back every performance. This is so you can see how to better yourself to give a better performance on the next take, and you should also watch your opponent, you may be performing well, however one performer on-point is not enough to make a routine good! On the Warrior Masterclass course, you have the benefit of the instructors telling you what needs correcting, but when your on-set you need to be able to watch back and analyse the routines yourself and come up with your own solutions!
To learn how to put these tips into practice join us on our next Warrior Masterclass course, you can find our course dates HERE!
If you're already a Warrior Masterclass Student, and want the latest advice on breaking into the industry, join us on our next Agency Day for the chance to train with Andreas, and to meet our Agency Team. Find out more HERE!