(1 customer review)
Publication Date: 28 Jan 2021
Categories: Media and the Arts, AutobiographyISBN: 9781913551353
Take One, Action! takes you behind the scenes of swordplay in film – written by professional swordsman and film director Andy Wilkinson who has appeared in over seventy-three films, including many Hollywood blockbusters.
Part memoir, part film and swordplay manual, this is a must-read for all aspiring actors, swordsmen, fight choreographers and film directors. It will also appeal to theatre, film and fencing students, entertainment historians and those who thirst for an insight into the world of swordsmen and the art of making movies.
It also incorporates intriguing nuggets of information from both swordplay and film worlds, such as:
– Why do spiral staircases rise clockwise?
– Which Hollywood star was a British Army fencing champion?
– Where did the term slapstick originate?
With advice, anecdotes, a valuable guide to fencing terminology and illustrated with photos, this is an unusual guide to a greatly misunderstood art.
Andy Wilkinson is a film swordmaster, film and theatre director, writer and radio executive. He won the Artistic Fencing Championships, is an Honorary Professor of Theatrical Fencing and a member of BAFTA. Andy is the only UK swordmaster to win the world title at the prestigious International World Artistic Fencing Championships organised by the Federation Internationale d’Escrime and the Academie D’ Armes Internationale. He now runs a radio production company and lives in Hertfordshire.
Peter Northam (Guest Review) - 05 May, 2021
As it says on the front cover, this is the memoir of a Film Sword Master, Film & Theatre Director, Actor, Writer and Radio Executive.
Any one of those roles would be enough for a single lifetime career and here we have six!
This is the journey of Andy Wilkinson and how he fulfilled his ambition to become, first of all a Film Sword Master, which then developed into his other roles.
What came across to me was the dedication and tenacity required to open ‘barred’ doors. Very much a question of getting to know people, making contacts, studying the subject of action film from all historical perspectives and perseverance. In an industry where work is hard to come by, it is no wonder there is ‘hostility’ towards newcomers.
Andy explains to us how he worked his ticket and the process, in some detail, of how to make a film. This is not a story of someone who came in at middle management but of someone who came in at the bottom and worked his way up. Academic qualifications are important but nothing can replace hands-on practical skills and experience.
A large part of his work involved the art of Fencing and he was extremely fortunate to find two Fencing Masters who not only produced fencing champions but also worked in the dramatic field, this was Professor Roy Goodall and his wife, Professor Angela Goodall, both senior Masters of the British Academy of Fencing. Here marked the main boost to Andy’s rise to success. With their collaboration and guidance, Andy not only learned classical fencing and started his own very successful fencing club, the Cutting Edge Fencing Club, he now had the opportunity to study the dramatic skills of acting and directing.
The rest of his journey you will have to read yourself, it is fascinating on many levels. He lists the process of directing a film, from writing the script, to selecting actors, to on set discipline and finally post production. He also provides a comprehensive list of films to study, and an excellent fencers guide to fencing strokes and tactics. All told with anecdotes in a friendly and engaging way.
This is an easy book to read but a hard one for a ‘newbie’ to assimilate quickly. It is not an ‘I’ve read that so I know it all’ book, it is a study guide to come back to over and over again.
I recommend this book to all those who wish to become Swordsmen in the sport of Fencing but also those who are interested in the film and theatre industry. It is an excellent starting point!
Prof Peter Northam
The British Academy of Fencing