Interview with Fantasy Women Battles founder, Tim Weske

fantasy women battles feature

Are you a fan of fantasy? Do you like sexy females? What about some cool battles with bladed weapons? Then you should check out Fantasy Women Battles, a project that pits 16 beautiful warriors against each other to the death. The voting will begin this week, where we’ll have the Galactic Empress go up against the Star Princess (see the trailer below). It’s up to you to decide who’s going to win. To vote, visit Wednesday, August 7, 2013.

We recently had the chance to chat with FWB creator, Tim Weske. We asked him about his training in sword choreography and his inspiration for Fantasy Women Battles.

John “Spartan” Nguyen (Nerd Reactor): Let’s begin.

Tim Weske: All righty.

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Nerd Reactor: How did you get into choreography and swordplay?

Tim Weske: I think it was when I was in college. I started studying acting and I got cast in plays where I had to do a lot of physical stuff like punches, kicks and I had no idea how to do any of it. So sometimes you really make contact with people and there’s no one to talk to you, it’s just – it still happens today in films, TV shows and plays, they just say, “Go do it.” It wasn’t working out that well, everybody would do it for the show and not say much about it. And then I started doing Shakespeare. One of my first plays they threw a sword in my hand and said, “Here, you’re gonna have a sword fight with this guy?” I was like, “What the hell? OK, I better learn what I’m doing. I’ll kill somebody with this if I’m not careful.” So I started studying and there was nobody to study under. I feel bad for a lot of people I now meet that never have, or were taught wrong. So I started studying film and then it made sense – got through one fight then the next fight. Then I was doing a play in a park and this guy walks through the park, then stops to watch us. He has in his hand a fencing foil and a mask. I asked him, “Hey, where do you go to do that? What’s it called?” And he goes, “It’s fencing, and just up the street.” So I went and started studying there.

Then when I started studying the competitive fencing, I understood what I’d been seeing on film, it all made sense somehow, to me. I studied the film work of the masters, which I didn’t even know. Bob Anderson, Bill Hobbs and Ralph Faulkner. And then one thing led to another and I ended up coming to Los Angeles. It was an acting school. I started teaching at the school two months after I graduated from there. A teacher left and they were like, “Who can we get?” They said, “Tim’s fully capable at fencing and theatrical combat.” And then I just continued doing that and started getting into theatres around town and people found out I had this certain skill. They would ask me to do their little films and their plays. I’d do it for free, and I just kept doing it and doing it and doing it. Finally I started my studio in 1992 and went after film work. So 30 years later – 37 years later, here we are. And pretty much that’s how it is, just growing and growing and growing.

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Nerd Reactor: You’re teaching all these classes and now you have a new project that you want to push out, Fantasy Women Battles. It’s hot chicks with weapons and fighting, right?

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Tim Weske: Not really. What it is is something I’ve always wished I could have. In film work or TV work or professional work, with big budget movies and stuff. They don’t give you a lot of time, so I have to create a system which worked really fast and was still effective. The sword fights and the fights have to look real as far as I’m concerned. But they also have to be extremely safe. When you’re dealing with A-list movie stars, Oscar winners, franchise athletes, you can’t hurt them. But you have to work really fast, and so you have to do something they will understand. So I never really did have time – my whole career, I’ve never had a ton of time to be able to put stuff together. And so I decided to do something that I just always have wanted to do. I think this is a great, sellable product people will really like. That is fighting with hot chicks as fantasy characters. I researched it and saw that there’s a huge interest in this type of genre of fantasy. And with women of course, everybody likes that, beautiful women. So put them together with good fighting, where the girls really are going at each other – I said, “I’m going to hold auditions and see what I get.

We put just a two line description of the audition which I didn’t think would hardly get any interest at all. It said, “Looking for women playing strong fantasy characters, no experience in fighting necessary. But there will be sword action.” Something like that – I’m paraphrasing. We got 2,000 submission. It didn’t have my name in it, so nobody could look up my resume. I only took non-union people and so right then, I was like, “Wow, I really do believe there is an interest.” It was all women we were asking for, not just dudes. Then they came in and I found 16 – well I found more than that, but could only take 16 roles and I think I hit a home run, grand slam with the casting of it. I just said, “Let’s keep going on.” And so it’s kind of like, we had time, kind of like a dream come true. I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to get done. There have been a lot of rocky roads on the way, but I think it’s far and away better than anything that’s out there, for sure.

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Nerd Reactor: Yeah. And for the different fantasy women, you’re taking inspiration from different genres. For example, you’ve got werewolves, elves, inspiration from things like Tomb Raider and Star Wars. What went into the deciding factor on choosing which genre and elements you wanted to use for the females?

Tim Weske: There were some that I loved. Some characters that we all love. I don’t know if we all do, but I do. And I thought, “How cool would it be to have a vampire fighting a werewolf in a straight razor fight?” I don’t know, it’s just the way my brain thinks. The jedi and sith are a given, and it’s so popular to have those two going at each other with beautiful women instead of grotesque or heavily dressed men. So I thought along the fantasy lines, and then my fantasy mind, I came up with these ideas.

Now, the Egyptian for example, it was not an Egyptian, but when I met Yvonne, my Egyptian, I went, “You know what? Let’s change that character to an Egyptian instead of – and I forget even what it was at this point.” The executioner – and we’re not gonna use the word “tomb” anymore, but the raider girl, they changed as well. They weren’t that in the beginning. One was an Amazon and one was something else. When I saw the girls, I went, “No.” Oh, a genie! One was a genie at one point. And then she turned into an executioner after I said, “We’re gonna switch this!”

We had a zombie in it, I got talked out of that ’cause they told me I couldn’t mess with zombies. Of course I should have listened to myself, just take a look at Brad Pitt’s new movie. Of course you can mess with zombies.

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Nerd Reactor: Oh yeah. That and Dawn of the Dead, where they have pretty much changed how zombies act.

Tim Weske: Exactly, and they got away with it, I think. People just love that. So anyway, I was worried about that but I did change my mind. So we didn’t have a zombie, which I thought would be cool. But, ah, anyway, they came out to be what they were, and most of them came from volatile combinations that I thought were popular, and that I thought were really cool. You know, a knight vs a Celt, why does the Celt have to be some grubby, dirty dude from the hills of Scotland or some crap? Why can’t she be some hot redhead, and that’s what I got. Fighting like a freaking maniac. And a knight, the same thing. Why does it have to be some dude in complete armor?

And so it was just an interesting creative goal I had in my mind’s eye that I wanted to do. And in my mind, I didn’t hit perfection as to what I had. I think it’s pretty darn good. So far people love it. I don’t think you can be 100% satisfied in your own head when you’re doing something like this. But you know, it’s cool. Basically that’s how I came by it. I thought that people would enjoy these characters – popular characters and they would like to see them in a different way than the norm.

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Nerd Reactor: As a straight male, I enjoy hot, sexy women fighting, but I know that there are going to be people that complain about the outfits that the girls wear, because they do wear skimpy outfits. There will be people complaining about the outfits not being combat-accurate. Do you have anything to say to those naysayers?

Tim Weske: Yeah, I would say, have fun guys. C’mon. This is called Fantasy Women Battles and – yeah, an angel fights with two swords? How about a demon? Is a demon supposed to have a glaive, or are they supposed to have something else? Just enjoy it. Sit back and enjoy it for what it is. At some point, whatever, whoever complains, at some point, I can tell you that however a knight is supposed to look, however a demon is supposed to look, it wasn’t supposed to be that. Somebody made it up, and then it became the law. Well, somebody made it up. I mean, can you prove that’s how a demon or angel suppose to look? You can believe in it, or have opinions about it, and really, is a knight sexy in a full suit of armor? I don’t think so.

Some might not enjoy it. But it’s a fantasy, like so many other things, it’s trying to bring some kind of joy into your life. Something that you’re going to like. It’s not about realism. “This doesn’t look like a real fight to me!” So what? That’s fine. Let’s see you make a real fight. I’d say a real fight is boring. It’s movie fighting which has been going on since the beginning of film making. Way beyond that, Shakespeare had a couple fights in his plays I think.

And so I would say to everybody, just have fun with it and if you’re that miserable that you have to gripe about it. That’s a hot woman and she’s fighting. And that actress worked so damn hard to bring this to you. And they got paid almost nothing. And you’re gonna gripe about her costume? I’d say you have a pretty sad life.

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Nerd Reactor: So starting in August, there will be voting involved where you’ll pit two of the female characters against each other. Let’s say you have the vampire vs. the werewolf – after one of them wins, they’re going to fight another person from another genre. So that’s going to be really interesting to see how it’ll work out.

Tim Weske: Yeah, the idea is to put the most volatile ones out first. Vampire vs Lycan, which I tried to give to the people who love vampires and there’s obviously a feud between the two of them. Same with knights and Celts and jedis and sith, etc, etc. And then I mean, everybody gets behind their champion, and this is the idea of the marketing. Everybody goes, “Yeah, I’m gonna support the Jedi, I’m gonna support the Sith.” Then what has to happen, one of them has to lose. And they go on to face somebody completely different.

Nerd Reactor: Yeah.

Tim Weske: Yeah, and it’s like, “What would happen if this one fought that one?” That’s the second round. It gets into, “Well, what happens when a pirate fights a whatever they fight next – an elf. Who’s gonna win?” Pirate fans are gonna say, “Of course the pirate will win!” Naturally the people in the elf camp are going to feel the same way. That’s where the fun comes in, chatting back and forth, “This is why a pirate would beat an elf, or this is why an elf would beat a pirate.” It’s fun banter. It’s what folks like. But yeah, I think it could be really interesting.

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Nerd Reactor: What’s the voting going to be like?

Tim Weske: What people do is they come to the site and see introductions to the girls in videos. We’ve written monologues for them. They will watch the monologues, the show itself starts August 7th. And two of them go up. Every week after that, we present the next two. You’ll be able to vote on one in each bracket. I think the first four are the Jedi, the Sith, then the knight and the Celt. You’ll be able to vote on either the Jedi or the Sith one time. Then you’ll be able to vote on either the knight or the Celt. And you’ll get one vote per, right down the line, for all eight of the ones you want to win. At the end of the voting period, we tally up the votes and then the fights are presented with the ending, so nobody knows who is going to win. Not even me. I have no idea till the votes come in. And then we have alternative endings we’ve filmed and that one gets dumped into the edit. The winner. And then they go in brackets, like I said, til there’s one winner of the whole thing.

Nerd Reactor: What do you have planned for the future of FWB, after initial voting?

Tim Weske: We’ll see what happens. After this one is done, there’s a couple of things I want to do. One of them I’d like to do is occupations. Like for example, the firemen vs. the police officers. The nurse the vs. the doctor. You can look and see fantasy female police officers in drawings all over the place. They’re hot.

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Nerd Reactor: Oh yeah. Especially during Halloween.

Tim Weske: There you go, exactly. It gives women the chance to dress up like that and the guys go freakin’ nuts when they see that sexy cop. “Please give me a ticket. Take as long as you want.” And another one I’d like to do is elementals. What does Earth look like, fighting fire? With a sword of weapon of some sort. What does air look like fighting – I don’t know, wind, lightning – what does thunder look like when she’s a beautiful woman? In the costume and makeup and all that. That’s another one that’s kind of cool to me that I would love to see how that turns out. Then there’s more. I enjoy the beauty, the strength, power and confidence of these women. Not just a couple of scantily-clad women going “click, click, click,” with swords. I’m putting a lot of the skills that I’ve learned over the last thirty years into this. Those swordmasters I studied when I was in school and film? They were my friends. They’re my friends now. One of them passed away a couple years ago but it’s amazing. It’s like I was sent to do something like this. I don’t know why, but it’s cool. With all this knowledge and all these people I’ve met, bringing this to film, I can’t imagine how anyone would not like this, or not enjoy just seeing – you look at the interviews on the website, where I interview the girls. You’ve seen those right?

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Nerd Reactor: Yeah.

Tim Weske: You see how they act, and how they talk. It’s just so much fun, I wish it would have gone on longer. That’s a month and a half of grueling training and then fighting for – we have three hours for each fight. That’s what we have on stage. Three hours. That’s all we have. These fights take two, three days. For Master and Commander it took three months to do that fight. And we were ready and prepared to do it. And they were just talking about what a thrill it was in their life to be able to do this. And that’s awesome to me. I hope that people feel the same way when they see it and appreciate all the work that’s been put into it.

Nerd Reactor: Sweet.

Tim Weske: Yeah, and so I hope there’s a lot more of them. A lot more of these characters that we can create.

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