Behind the Duel: Brandeis Fencing Team

Descriptive Transcript

The video starts with sophomore student, Quin Smith putting on his fencing gear and then shots of people fencing, his interview and shots of specific things that he hears during a fencing competition. “The feeling of a close match is pretty indescribable. Everything is so loud. There’s the sounds of people’s blades crashing against each other, the sound of the scoreboard going off. Fencers screaming after they score a touch.”

We see more shots of things that Quin is talking about, such as a referee, shots of him getting ready to compete and then some quick shots of him fencing as the music picks up and stops suddenly landing on a close up of his face, breathing. “I’m not focusing on the referee. If they’re going to give me the touch or not, I try to keep it to within things that I can control. Deep breaths. I’m calming myself. I’m zoned out” we then see shots of him putting his mask on and we go back to his interview. He continues “I’m just focusing on what my plan is. For me. I’ve worked really hard throughout my entire career to be able to kind of just, like, drown it all out. And it’s like a sort of out-of-body experience. You take a deep breath and you’re transported.”

We then see a shot of Quin looking right at the camera and closing his eyes as the camera zooms in on him and then cuts to the same shot but with the background all black, now the camera zooming out. He says “When the mask comes on you really have to be able to focus in on just yourself and your opponent.” We see Quin putting his gear on again while he is in this dark room, and then we fade to black and then see his opponent walking toward the camera as he puts on his mask. We then cut to a wide shot of both of them standing in pose, ready to fight. The next shots the music picks up and we see multiple shots of them sparring, some quick close up shots, some wide shots and then we see some shots of Quin just standing looking at the distance. Quin says: “My name is Quin Smith. I’m a second-year undergraduate here at Brandeis, and I’m a varsity athlete on the men’s fencing team.” We then see some quick shots of a helmet, foil and some gloves on the floor and we land on a shot of a helmet and the title of the video comes on screen “Behind the Duel: Brandeis Fencing Team”.

We hear a music with a violin emphasis, we cut to a shot of a scoreboard, some foils and a then a shot of Quin walking on hallway, and then back to his interview. He says “I initially discovered fencing through my mother. She found a discount offered by my local fencing club on some classes. And being an eight or nine-year-old, I was really stoked about sword fighting. So of course, I said yes.” We see some shots of Quin putting on some gear and walking to towards the middle of the room. He continues “And I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't too much slashing and swashbuckling, but I still really, really enjoyed the sport and I stuck with it. The fencing team was a pretty big reason for why I ended up choosing Brandeis. I just really liked the coaching staff and the team culture at Brandeis, so that was a main reason behind why I committed. But also, I enjoyed the fact that there was the culture within the athletics department of that balance that you find in division three athletics where school work is still important. You’re encouraged to like, enjoy the college experience and develop interests outside of your sport.” We see some shots of Quin in full gear posing in the middle of the room. The music picks up and then it ends.

We cut to some shots of Quin practicing in a room with a dummy. He says “I think the thing I like most about the sport is definitely the mental aspect of it.” We hear some music kick-in, that sounds like a clock ticking. Quin continues “I think it’s really, really interesting, how different fencers build different strategies. There’s no one perfect build or no one perfect skill set that makes you an elite fencer. Nothing really is like unbeatable, which is one of the things that lends it that really unique strategic element.” We see more shots of Quin practicing with the dummy and suddenly we cut to a shot of him sparring with an opponent on a black void, while matching the sounds of the music. As Quin continues talking we see more shots of back and forth between him practicing with the dummy and sparring with an opponent on a black void. “It is important to be pretty fast and you have to be able to solve problems on the fly to change your strategy, to be able to analyze what your opponent is doing and react to that.” The music end with the sound of a bell and we cut to Quin back in the practice room, with the dummy. He continues “It’s very helpful, very important to also be strong and to have good stamina, because sometimes fencing bouts can go longer than you think. And at the end of a long meet day, you’ve been fencing a bunch of schools. Whoever gets tired quicker might end up losing the bout.”

We hear an energetic song and we see establishing shots of Brandeis gym where the fencing competition is taking place. Quin says “There’s nothing like winning a really close bout, especially at a college meet. There’s nothing like witnessing one of your teammates win a really close bout either.” We see a shot of Quin, some of his teammates and their Brandeis coach cheer and scream in excitement. We then cut back to Quin’s interview and he continues “In fencing, similar to other sports. Everybody, you know, yells when they celebrate. But in fencing it’s a little bit different because you’re not really like out there on a stadium with a bunch of fans that are drowning out your noise. It’s kind of like it’s right there and everybody can see that display of emotion. So, you know, you might score a touch, you let out a yell, your teammates are going crazy. You know, people are giving you high fives. It’s really a good rush.” As Quin is saying this, we see shots of him competing against an opponent of another school and then he lands a touch and yells celebrating in excitement. We then see shoots of participants from both schools bumping fists as a sign of the competition coming to an end. The music ends with that last shot and we cut to black.

We hear an energetic, violin driven song kick in and we cut to Brandeis fencing athletes training in numerous shots. Quin says “My favorite part of the Brandeis fencing team is definitely how close knit we are. It’s definitely a super inclusive and welcoming community. We have all kinds of different athletes on the team and within our culture.” We cut to a lot of different shots of the team practicing and interacting with one another, we see shots of Brandeis fencers at a college meet and we see some more shots of Quin sparring with an opponent in a dark void. Quin continues “We know that our diversity is one of our strengths. Everybody brings a different skill set, a different perspective, and the combination of all of those things make us stronger as a unit. We’re always like lifting each other up in practice, offering each other advice, but also, like holding each other accountable and really pushing each other to be the best athletes we can be. Fencing is a really special sport to me. It’s let me travel across the country. It has definitely been like one of the most influential things in my life so far. It’s gotten me into a pretty awesome school and I’ve gotten to meet some really, really incredible people.”

We see two shots of Quin posing in front of the camera in the dark room and then the Brandeis University logo fades in. We then fade to a blurry, panning shot of some fencing gear while the credits roll and music ends.



Special thanks to

Brandeis Fencing Team



Jonathan Duran



Matheus De Araujo Fortunato

Jonathan Duran


Executive Producer

Dan Kim