20 years ago I assisted in the production of a documentary of the 20th Pennsic War, the largest annual event of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to studying and recreating the cultures and customs of the middle ages and renaissance.
Since then the event has grown, and so have I. I acquired the rights to the documentary and released a 10th Anniversary edition on VHS and DVD with extra footage. I have become a filmmaker and entertainer, actor and writer, and competitive practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And I have taken on the professional persona of "Captain Zorikh." I have also met and done work with "Simply the Best" G.A. West, fitness professional, life coach, actor, model, and pro wrestler.
To me, the SCA is like a second home, a place where I have felt more comfortable, at times, than in the "real world." G.A. West is an "indoor oriented modern" who had absolutely no experience with medievalism, renaissance faires, LARPers, historical reenactments, or even camping outdoors.
Together we will be going to the Pennsic war 20 years after that original documentary was shot. G.A. West will be training me to see if I can spend more time fighting at the event than ever before. I will be introducing him to the culture of the SCA. This will give us two distinct points of view of the event.
So we will have on the one hand the story of a man returning to the culture of his youth to see if he still has it, and on the other hand the story of a man fascinated by this unique culture. Specifically, G.A. West is interested in things like the fitness and martial arts aspects of SCA combat, the life choices people make to be in the SCA, and comparing and contrasting the world of the SCA with the world of pro wrestling.
The ImpactThere is no shortage of video footage and media coverage of the Pennsic War, but most of it falls strictly into three categories: Outsiders covering the event for the mass media, SCAdians shooting their own footage to share with their friends. and videos shot to introduce people to the SCA. Never before has there been an attempt at a first-person video of Pennsic from the point of view of both an insider and outsider.
"Simply the Best" G. A. West has never done anything like the Pennsic War ever before, and I will be guiding him through it. I have never physically trained before like I am training now, and G.A. is guiding me through it. Once at Pennsic there are certain to be things that SCAdians take for granted that G.A. will need explained, things that G.A. notices that I will never have thought about, and things that I will think are important that G.A. will not understand.
By having these two points of view in one video, viewers both inside and outside of the SCA will have someone to identify with, thus making it accessible to a wide audience. It will bring a greater positive understanding of what the SCA is and why people do it.
This video will appeal to several target audiences. The first and most obvious will be the SCAdians themselves. Members of the SCA passionately devour any book or video that is about themselves, and the choice of material is small enough (barely a half-dozen items on Amazon/com) there is little danger of this video getting lost. This audience can be reached by ads in Tournaments Illuminated, kingdom newsletters, placement on Amazon.com, getting a merchant's table at SCA events, and by distributing the videos to SCA book dealers
Next will be the general LARP/ren faire crowd. These are people who attend renaissance fairs, LARP events, read Renaissance Magazine, and go to movies like Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and whatever version of King Arthur or Robin Hood comes out. This audience can be reached by ads in Renaissance Magazine, tables at comic conventions, and again, Amazon.com
Next is the martial arts/pro wrestling fan base. I compete in Brazilian jiu jitsu and lead a theatrical company that provides grappling entertainments. G.,A. West is a popular mulit-time pro wrestling champion. The combat in the SCA is very much misunderstood by the martial arts community. Marketing to this crowd woul educate these people about the intensity and dedication tot he sport that SCA fighters havre. By getting booths at conventions end events relating to martial arts and pro wrestling, we will have the opportunity to reach this crowd.
Finally, there is the mainstream audience. This crowd usually ignores what happens in the communities listed above. However, but having thi9s "insider/outsider" perspective on the SCA, it will draw interest from the mainstream. They will wonder what a life coach and pro wrestler could possibly see in an event of medieval recreationists. This crowd will be reached by seeking major or independent distribution through film festivals and direct solicitation.
What We Need & What You GetHere is our budget breakdown so far:
Site fee for myself, G.A. West, camera person, one PA: $515
Car rental & gas: $600
Wardrobe & supplies for G.A. West $500
Materials and supplies for garb, armor repair, etc: $200
Extra memory chips for camera $60
Portable hard drive for storing footage $120
Editing time $500
Production of DVDs $400
Misc. (sunscreen, bug spray, toiletries, duct tape, etc) $75Total $4900
In addition to Indiegogo, we are soliciting merchants at Pennsic for assistance and sponsorship; everything from loands and contributions of garb, supplies, food, etc, to money for promotional consideration.
See the "perks" below for the benefits of sponsoring this production.
If we fail to reach our goal, the money will come out-of-pocket and the completion will be delayed as the money is raised.
Other Ways You Can HelpIf you happen to be going to Pennsic and own (and know how to use) an HD camera, you can volunteer to help us out. I will buy the tapes or memory chips needed and return them to you after taking them home and transferring the content to my computer.
If you are a merchant, supplier, or producer of garb, period shoes, accessories, feast gear, camping equipment, or any of the things that a first-timer at Pennsic will need, we invite you to loan or contribute a sample of your products to us, most especially so that G.A. west is well-equipped. WE will feature your product and interview you talking about it. Just imagine having a good-looking, physically fit professional model wearing an outfit that you made on this video!. We will even let you take your own pictures for promotional use.
If you know anyone who would be willing to help this project, with camera work, production assistance, contributions of products or finding, please let them know that we would love to hear from them!
Producer, director, co-lead/host of documentary