Author Topic: Fight Captain Selection  (Read 9007 times)

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Rebbe

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Fight Captain Selection
« on: Sep 18, 2006, 08:50 pm »
What protocol do you follow in choosing a fight captain? 

In beefing up on the SPT rules for my next production, I notice they are a bit vague.  They dont seem to specify when or exactly how the Fight Captain should be choosen.  It just shall be assigned from among the company.

What role should the SM play in assigning a Fight Captain?  Should actors, other than the person selected as Captain, have input into the decision?  How early in rehearsals should a Fight Captain be in place?   

Ive SMed several productions with stage combat before, and in those cases either an actor was cast partly because the director had them in mind as a qualified Fight Captain, or it was a small enough cast that the director asked the person not/least involved in the fight, with the most stage combat experience, to serve as Captain.   In the latter cases, we didnt assign a Fight Captain until we were ready to begin fighting in rehearsals.  I haven't had any problems with past shows, but I'm curious what other SMs are doing.
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MatthewShiner

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #1 on: Sep 19, 2006, 12:59 am »
How I chose a fight captain:

1) Discuss with the fight director who they think should be the fight captain.  I tend to look for a strong fighter who is not a lead (so, not Macbeth, not Banquo, but maybe Malcolm).  If the fight director and I can't not agree on someone, I usually defer to the fight director. 

2) Discuss with the actor if they wish to be fight captain.  If they do not wish, we go back to #1.

3) If all parties agree, then I forward info to business off so he can be ridered.

« Last Edit: Oct 15, 2006, 11:04 am by MatthewShiner »
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hbelden

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #2 on: Sep 19, 2006, 11:31 am »
Agreeing with everything Matt said, and modifying it for smaller companies that have non-AEA cast members:

Most small theatres want to save the $10/week rider by making the Fight Captain be a non-AEA actor.  I ask the fight director first for his/her opinion as to whether a non-AEA person is qualified to be fight captain.  If, in the fight director's opinion, and my own, there is not a qualified person, I would go to the mat with the producer to get the right person for the job even if it cost them an extra $30-40 on the show.  Safety first, after all.

If possible, the fight captain should be at all of the fight rehearsals, and able to spend extra time with the fight director during rehearsals.  But of course, it all depends on how detailed and difficult the fights are.
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Ran

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #3 on: Oct 15, 2006, 06:18 am »
Even that your question was posted a month ago - I still hope my advice will help.

My career has two faces, Stage Manager and Fight Director.
(artistic director of Scuola Brancaleoni www.scuolabrancaleoni.com).

A fight Captain is normaly being picked by the F.D.
It is normaly the one who knows, best, the choreography.

The main point of having a Fight Captain is to make sure the fight is being done SAFE, (when the F.D is away - after he or she are done with the choreography).
This way the production will not face legal problems...

The best thing would be to give the fight Captain 15 minutes "fight call" before each performance, to warm up and Run through the moves with the cast.

This is when you talk about actors - who are mainly fighters. (not leads).

Sometimes when the F.D. is busy they call another F.D. to check the Fight Scenes.

It is not only to be safe! but to make sure it will look good and not "tired".

In Europe, choosing a F.D. is the job of the production manager together with the F.D. (or the Director).

Fight Captains are not Fight Directors! they do not choreogaph - they keep the fight scene safe and in good shape.


If you have any more questions - or looking for good people to do this line of work, let me know

Swords Up,

Ran

« Last Edit: Oct 15, 2006, 06:21 am by Ran »

MatthewShiner

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #4 on: Oct 15, 2006, 11:02 am »
Something interesting recently came up, and I never thought of this before.

Before you and the fight director finalize the decision about a fight captain, you should get your general manager involved as well.  There is a contractual issue involved, since they have to be ridered and paid extra on some contracts.  I never really thought of that as a major issue, but some actors could want to negotiate a fee LARGER then the minimum, or may have wording in their contract that may complicated matters.

Just remember if there is a contractual component, it's best to make sure those who have to write and sign the contract have a say in the matter as well.
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Ellen B.

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #5 on: Oct 22, 2006, 11:54 am »
What if no one from the cast is qualified to be fight captain (or if all of the cast is involved in the combat)?  I will be working on a union show soon that has a very small cast and the only one who has significant combat experience is the lead who does all of the fighting.
« Last Edit: Dec 10, 2006, 07:05 pm by Ellen B. »

VSM

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #6 on: Oct 22, 2006, 01:53 pm »
Hi Ellen ~

The major rule books (Production, LORT and WCLO) all mention the need for a Fight Captain and outline when rehearsals and runthroughs should be conducted (15 minutes prior to Half Hour) but don't directly address your question. I would suggest you get in touch with the Business Rep that handles the contract in your area and chat about it. I'm sure they will have some ideas and suggestions that will help in your situation.

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VSM
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Ellen B.

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #7 on: Oct 22, 2006, 02:14 pm »
Thanks VSM.  That is what I will do.  Like Rebbe's, my show is an SPT contract and the rule book doesn't even get as specific as those that you mentioned.  ("All Actors who participate in a fight shall run through the routine before each performance.")

This may not be the case with this show, but how do you handle fight calls when there are a lot of fights (more than 15 minutes worth) to go through before half hour?

This will be my first union show as the stage manager and I want to be sure that I do everything properly.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #8 on: Oct 22, 2006, 02:20 pm »
Quote
This may not be the case with this show, but how do you handle fight calls when there are a lot of fights (more than 15 minutes worth) to go through before half hour?

One, is ask for a concession from Equity through your general manager. 
Two, is to pay overtime for the extra time.
Three, is check with equity if you can use your weekly allotment of rehearsal hours to cover the extra fight time.  They may allow you to do - they are being generous in allowing you to use that time for other things . . . but it's something to check with.

I have always been able to get fight call done in 15 minutes, it's amazing once youare organized how quickly you can run through things.
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Ellen B.

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #9 on: Oct 22, 2006, 02:33 pm »
I don't anticipate this becoming an issue on this particular show.  We haven't begun rehearsals yet for it- I am just interested in learning as much as I can pertaining to combat rules because I have worked on several that had quite a bit of fighting in them.

BayAreaSM

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #10 on: Jul 19, 2011, 03:48 am »
I hate to revive a very old, dead, topic - but this came up for me today. I have a cast of 5, all but 1 of them fight. This contract is only 1 week long and we perform this Saturday and we're done. The Fight Director can't be present on our tech/performance day, so a Fight Captain has to be selected. Since the 1 non-fighting actor was released before fight work began today, the FD thought I should be the Fight Captain.

I'm working on a Periodic Performance referenced to Lort, and while I don't see anything that says I can't be the FC, I don't see anything that says I can either. And granted, based on the previous comments re: selection, the group then decided that the actor without any fighting should be the FC, so he can watch all of the fights. I don't know what his experience is with fights, and the fact that he missed two of them today makes me wonder if I should just do it myself.

Is there a major reason why the SM can't do it? I'm by no means as well trained as some of the actors performing the fights, but I did take extensive notes, and was calling out the moves as they rehearsed today, when they forgot.

Maribeth

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #11 on: Jul 19, 2011, 11:44 am »
I was in a similar situation once- a theatre asked me to be the dance captain. We got a special concession from AEA, and I have some (limited) dance experience, so we went with it. I wouldn't do it again. There was nothing terrible about the situation, but I found that I really missed having a second set of eyes to watch the dance sections, and a second voice in maintaining the dance. It was a show with a whole host of other issues, and it would have been better to have another person thinking about the dances in addition to myself.

In my understanding, with the selection of fight captain (or any other similar job that requires additional payment), it's the producer's decision, usually with some input from the fight director, who to hire. If this other actor is not suited to being the FC, the producer should decide who they want to hire. Personally, I think it helps to have a second person keeping an eye on the fight. It's good to have someone else concentrating on the fights (in addition to yourself) and someone you can have an ongoing dialogue with about what's happening and what maintenance notes need to be given.

You can make sure that the actor selected is always present when the fights are happening. (I would put his name on the call for that scene, as FC, even if he's not acting in it.) It's important to have someone as FC that is capable of running fight call, and understands the fights well enough to maintain them and the actors' safety. If this actor can't do that, they shouldn't be FC.

hbelden

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #12 on: Jul 19, 2011, 12:50 pm »
Les, if I were in your situation, as you've described it, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest that I should be the fight captain.  With your outside eye, knowing the move sequence, and that there is only one performance; it seems like you are the best choice in the situation.  However; if your pre-show is going to be too intense, or if you're going to be practicing cues in your book or something, or if you feel unsure about your ability to keep the actors safe, I would suggest one of the combatants be the FC.

Whatever you do, given the timeline of your show, I would highly recommend settling the issue as soon as possible so that whoever is responsible has as much time as they can get in preparing for the responsibility.

Just my two cents.

Post Merge: Jul 19, 2011, 01:19 pm
P.S., just to clarify a difference raised by Maribeth; on an AEA show, the union requires that the dance captain be an Equity contract (the theatre can always request a concession which may or may not be granted).  There is no such requirement for fight captains.
« Last Edit: Jul 19, 2011, 01:19 pm by hbelden »
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BayAreaSM

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #13 on: Jul 19, 2011, 01:24 pm »
Thanks, guys. Another lovely bit of info is that we won't be able to have a fight call for either of our 2 "performances" that day. However, we will be teching at both locations a few hours before our performances. So, I will be available to watch that.

Meredith - granted, whoever is chosen as FC needs the additional $35 fee, I am not allowed to call actors beyond what the original schedule was set as, because due to this type of contract, everyone has been prepaid for their hours. Granted, I could try to play with his limited hours and see if we can reduce his hours elsewhere, but that would be up to the Director.

I've done shows with fights before - come to think of it, aside from my staged readings - every show I've done has had a fight call. I've just never been asked to be the FC because there was always someone in the show who was suited for the responsibility.

I'll check in with the FD and Director and see if they want me to do it, since this is such a short run, and I'm already versed in the fights, or if they want the actor to do it.

Maribeth

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Re: Fight Captain Selection
« Reply #14 on: Jul 19, 2011, 03:56 pm »
It sounds like, given your situation, it makes sense to have you as fight captain. (Especially with only a day of performances- it's not like there will be a lot of time for changes to creep in.)

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