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  • Posted on November 23, 2016 by Ashley Apap

    I have always struggled with being incredibly uncool as a person. What do I mean by this? As the definition of uncool is "not fashionable or impressive", here are some examples of how I have been both exceptionally unfashionable and unimpressive:

    1. When I was 11 years old I made handmade invitations for my wedding to Zac Efron and tried to slot them into the lockers of all year 5-8 kids. My best friend "forgot to print them for me", thank god.

    2. In year 8 I forced my entire class to perform the finale dance to Camp Rock's "We Rock" while (a) I couldn't dance and (b) my very developed body flopped around in the front and centre while I wore a singlet as support for my unwanted bosoms. 

    3. Just the other day someone mentioned that Christmas was coming around soon, and I exclaimed "Yay, it's almost time to play Hanson's Christmas album! 'Merry Christmas Baby' is my favourite."

    Apart from my clear affinity towards Disney Channel teen stars and my obsession with Taylor Hanson, I am uncool in a lot of ways. Trying to be cool is my personal definition of uncool. That being said, I have fallen victim to the waste of time that is trying to appear "cool". Especially in improv.

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  • Posted on November 2, 2016 by Josh Chodziesner

    Reposted with permission from a recent Facebook post

    You’re All You’ve Got - Apparently a Janis Joplin quote and something I've only just realised.

    Every time I come across an artist that I like, I go through the same basic three-step emotional process:

    1. This is great.
    2. Why can’t I be great like this?
    3. I’m not great.

    I’m aware that it’s not the healthiest way to be, but I’m working on it. Back off. I’m also aware that what I’m about to talk about is not by any means a new revelation, or even a unique way to look at things. But it’s new to me. Back off. I’m also aware that people may completely disagree with me about this stuff. But I don’t disagree with me. Back off. Sorry. I love you.

    Whether it’s a great song, a sketch, a drawing, a comic, TV or a movie, I always feel like there is some great secret that I’m not in on. Something that separates the real artists from the "try-hards" (because trying hard is lame). From all accounts, this doesn’t just go away - see Imposter Syndrome - but I find it very difficult to refute at my current level of output. I feel so frustrated because of this apparent disconnect between me and the artists I admire. What makes them real and me fake?

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  • Posted on October 17, 2016 by Adam Hembree

    If you’ve taken an introductory improv class, odds are you’ve done some form of emotional expression exercise. If you’re like me, this generates two responses over time:

    1. Abject fear (I never do this).
    2. Surprising release (I never get to do this).

    In doing this work, you’ve probably been limited by your teacher to a few “core” feelings. If you’re like me, maybe you responded in a further two ways:

    1. Resistance: Why can’t I play “jealous” or “nervous?” That’s more fun.
    2. Relief: Thank everything I don’t have to think hard about this.

    Found the game yet? Learning often follows a pattern of resistance and release. Changing perspective makes inertia. I certainly felt (and feel) that whenever I do emotional work in scenes or with students. 

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  • Lots of people ask me why I do improv. They’re probably just making conversation, but given this one-time hobby now takes up so much of my life, I take the question seriously. Up until recently I really did wonder if it was impacting how I behave in ‘real life’. I could see I was getting better at improv, but were there any useful side effects? 

    I started being able to see what was going to happen next in sitcoms, but that’s not exactly a life skill. I learnt to ask people not what they ‘do’ but instead what they did outside of work that got them excited, and got rewarded with much more interesting conversations than your usual cocktail standards (watching a woman my age get excited about pottery was a sudden reality check of how bizarre I must seem when I talk about improv). Slowly I noticed my listening get a little better, as well as my memory, and observational skills.  I was getting funnier too. I could make my friends laugh more and, because of the lack of inhibition developed from performing, I could make strangers laugh too. They didn’t expect me to go to places I felt perfectly comfortable to go to. To be honest, they probably didn’t expect me to talk to them at all.  

    But more recently, I’ve noticed some changes on a much more significant scale. Improv is helping me become my true authentic self.

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  • As an Australian improviser who’s just returned from the US, let me tell you, the improv scenes in the cities I went to (LA, Chicago & NYC) are terrifying. It really makes you realise how new and sheltered our community is when whole Harold teams at iO Chicago are regularly cut after only three months and hundreds of UCB improvisers are spending years auditioning repeatedly after they’ve finished classes in the hopes of finally making it onto a Harold team (if you haven’t seen this documentary about UCB auditions, check it out. It’s pretty crazy seeing a current SNL cast member having to work so hard for opportunities ). As the Improv Conspiracy grows, it will likely become more and more like these more mature communities where official opportunities are harder to obtain and performers have to make more of their own.

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