An actor and performer for over 30 years, and a licensed fencing instructor for 15, Matthew is the creator and owner of SaberCombat.com–a performance-based business focused on live fight work.
Known as “Novastar” in the Star Wars/lightsaber community, Matthew Carauddo has over 15 years of experience in fencing, staged combat and martial arts (Wing Chun Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Shotokan Karate, Jeet Kune Do, Tricking). Matthew is a licensed fencing instructor, approved and examined by the Francais Federation D’Escrime (FFE). He has taught hundreds of group fencing classes and one-on-one lessons behind the mask throughout the California bay area at schools, academies of fencing, summer camps, and parks & recreational facilities.
DIAMOND DRAGONS: Matthew stepped away from most all of these facets of his life–for the past 2.5 years–in order to develop “Diamond Dragons”… the original “hero’s journey” masterpiece and amazing fantasy world which he has been filled with zeal and discipline to deliver to audiences young and old!
Matthew achieved his FFE (Federation Francaise d’Escrime) diploma in France after testing in front of several French fencing masters, and after years of training, assisting with instruction, and years of competitive saber fencing. Studying originally under Maestro Daniel Tibbetts of California Fencing Academy, Matthew continued forward from there, learning from additional instructors and masters over the past 12 years, including: Maestro Marcos Lucchetti, Prevost Miklos Benedek, Maestro Rob Handelman, Maestro Tomek Amborski, Maestro Anthony Joslin, and several others.
In addition to this, Matthew had to say: “Fencing also helped me rehabilitate my ankles after some accidents I’d had, including falling off a cliff, which badly damaged my right ankle… and later, another accident that wrecked my left ankle. I really had some trouble running, bending my ankles too far, and lifting heavy things, but after some PAINFUL dedication to fencing footwork, hard work in general, and tons of training… my ankles improved DRAMATICALLY. All the hard work paid off, and I basically came out stronger after my accidents.”
Matthew’s staged combat experience ranges from choreographing classic plays such as “Twelfth Night” and “Romeo & Juliet”, to children’s performances of “Peter Pan”, “The Three Musketeers”, and quite naturally… L.E.D. light saber combat!
In 2006, Novastar launched “Balance of Power”, a series of 100% live staged combat shows, complete with music, vocals, story, character, and of course–saber combat. Visit “greytale” on Youtube to see more of Novastar’s “Balance of Power” performances, along with many other videos regarding sabers and martial arts: ttp://www.youtube.com/greytale
Finally, Novastar is also considered one of the primary pioneers of the “sound font” (2006/2007), which is basically a collection of “swing” and “clash” motion effects meant for custom sound/light driver boards for LED saber props. Originally designed for Erv Plecter’s “Crystal Focus” board, Novastar’s original & unique sound fonts continue to be the inspiration for amazing sound design in the saber community today.
Exclusive Interview with Matthew Carauddo – Actor & Performer
NY Glam: What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently developing a feature-length “hero’s journey” film (akin to the lessons taught by Joseph Campbell—a past instructor of George Lucas) called “Diamond Dragons”. Additionally, I’m (slowly) re-pursuing acting, since I have a good amount of talent, training, experience and understanding regarding performance as a craft… but developing the film has been taking both precedence, *and* the majority of my time!
NY Glam: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
In my opinion, the #1 priority is having a compelling, powerful, viscerally emotional story. Most everyone will note this. However, *every* aspect of a film is important—just like with a theatrical production: lighting… sound… music… props… costuming… color palette(s)… tone… pacing… actors/performances… EDITING, and more! If any of these are extremely sub-par and painfully so—they can make or break the power of the story being told. My recommendation is: do everything as specifically and robustly as is possible. Certainly budget, logistics, time/deadlines and more can be prohibitive to some aspects of most any production… but—for example—if your story is amazing, but the MUSIC is absolutely awful… you’ll drastically undercut the power of your work. Same goes for *any* aspect. Bad sound = bad film. Bad acting = bad film, etc.
NY Glam: As a screenwriter, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
To me, it’s without question that two things *must* be present. One of them would be some type of flaw or hardship that constantly harangues them from growing. The second would be… eventually OVERCOMING that flaw or hardship… or… using it to their advantage in either an unexpected or relatively-expected manner.
NY Glam: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
This is a tough one for me to decide, as… I’ve done a lot of my own. In no particular order—portraying “Bilbo Baggins” in a stage version of “The Hobbit”… portraying “Darth Vader” on dozens of varying occasions (in full costume + lights & sound that I wired up and designed/masterminded)… and voicing the character of J.C. Denton from “Deus Ex” in a short Machinima animation—J.C. Denton is one of my favorite all-time video game characters, and I loved Jay Anthony Franke’s original vocals on the initial game (from ~1999/2000).
NY Glam: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Very much. There are too many things to list, but, I’ve been a part of performance, theatre, film, acting and more for decades. I sing fairly well, and I’m excellent at bringing varying artists together in order to create a team-oriented project that serves a larger purpose.
I was also a licensed fencing instructor for 10+ years, competed, and taught 100s of lessons behind the mask. I have my share of golds, silvers and bronzes, but nothing Olympic.
NY Glam: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?
I would actually have very little, as… I have no intentions of making a “career” out of filmmaking—my intentions are to produce the projects that I desire to see created. “Diamond Dragons” is the latest one of my creations, and not much will stop me from pursuing it.
I suppose *if* my advice was truly desired, I’d simply HEAVILY reinforce: DISCIPLINE… and CONSISTENCY. In all regards—no matter the subject/vocation/hobby/career. You must do your craft, and do it often. No matter how hard it gets. Otherwise, pursue other ventures?
NY Glam: What can we expect from you in 2020?
“Diamond Dragons” keeps gaining both ground, followers, team members, and more content. I’m both excited about this, but also dedicated (#discipline and #consistency!) to pursuing the goal of seeing it go from proverbial “A to Z”. Independent of what others might say.
NY Glam: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social media…website
Currently, the website and social media for “Diamond Dragons” is sparse, but, here are some links. More information, content, and teasers/trailers coming in due time:
Some of my legacy work (via “Star Wars” and other interesting live fight work projects) can be found at: http://www.sabercombat.com