Improv Conspiracy Blog

The latest news, opinions and more!

All posts tagged: opinion
  December 3, 2015

In the beginning there was the Yes. And the Yes was good. The Yes yessed, and from within that yessing was beget an And. And that And anded the Yes, for anding was its own yessing. And so the And begat the Yes which begat the And, and so on until the Edit. —The Book of Improv 1:1-5

People often joke about the improv world being a cult. That’s an easy dig and not always unwarranted. If the Training Centre replaces the cooler water with Kool-Aid I will concede the point. After a year and a half with The Improv Conspiracy as a student, performer, and now assistant teacher, though, I’m more inclined to call improv a religion or philosophy instead.

If that leaves you throwing up in your mouth a bit, stay with me! Do you sometimes cringe when your teachers or friends said things like “Good improv advice is good life advice?” Is that too reminiscent of things like smarmy self-help books and snake-charming mega-churches in Texas? Instead of pushing that notion aside, let’s go to church for a minute.

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  November 29, 2015
  Jayden Masciulli

Jayden Masciulli is an Improv Conspiracy student currently in our Level 5 Intermediate Harold class. He previously blogged for us back in January after he finished his Level 1 Intensive course.

I get nervous.

Not only when I step out to do an improv scene, but pretty much every day, in some way. I get nervous before I visit my grandmother, because I’m not sure if I can carry a conversation with her on my own. I get nervous around my little cousins because I honestly don’t know how to act around children. I get nervous ordering food at a restaurant because I’m worried I’ll pronounce "biryani" wrong and the waiter will laugh and make me repeat it again and again until I’ve offended everybody in the room. I realise now as I write this that these are all highly specific social situations, and are ridiculous. Not even my good friend Dr. Google has any idea what to call this condition.

Naturally, I’m easily petrified when I do improv. It’s one of the many reasons why I started taking classes in the first place – to bust out of my self-constructed, albeit very comfy, shell. I know nerves are a bit of an ‘everyone’ problem, but for me it’s always been my biggest pitfall. They stop me from committing to characters, they block my listening of other scenes and they make me go completely, utterly blank. I’ll always remember fumbling my way through my first Jam to an audience of roughly seven people and coming off stage with a dizzying head rush as if I’d just stepped off of a rollercoaster.

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  October 26, 2015

On Saturday night The Improv Conspiracy Theatre hosted Everything Must Go, a show I was fortunate enough to produce. It was my take on all improv-All Tomorrow's Parties festival - I asked a bunch of my favourite teams to perform, had a little play myself, and added all the MB trademark flair (baked goods and dumb bits) to put my signature on the evening.  The turnout was great, the performances were spectacular, and the people who spoke to me seemed to really enjoy the night. All in all, good times.

Here's the confession: I can't take credit for it.

I've been with The Improv Conspiracy for just over two years. Now I'm off, to go chase some dreams that I've had before improv even came into my life. I'm excited but it's a bittersweet excitement, because I have to give up being a part of the community that gives me so much ongoing joy.

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  March 17, 2015

David Evans is a former Improv Conspiracy student and performer who moved to Sydney last year. Rather than come back and play with us, he wrote a fantastic article for our blog. We'll take it!

No one teaches you how to manage people. It’s not a skillset likely taught alongside your first job possibly folding jeans at the GAP, lifeguarding at the local pool or if like me, spending your summers scooping ice cream for hungry tourists. The skills that teach us how to inspire, instruct, trust, and motivate others is a talent that somehow gets lost in our current education system and absent from the majority of our professional development training. If you’re lucky, you work a job for a number of years, follow the rules set up by some senior team and wait for your time to crawl up the ladder. In the meantime you pick up the habits of your previous managers whether good or bad and typically adapt their methods on how to communicate information, lead others to success and how to support people through uncertainty during stressful times. It’s a continuous cycle and normally a broken one where the blind are left leading the blind.   

I’ve spent 12 years working in professional environments and found myself either at the mercy of really bad management or in the glow and awe of some brilliant ones. When I recently began to lead my own teams again I found myself unconsciously drawing upon my improv experiences and the lessons learned from performing Harolds again and again to help influence and strengthen my own people management skills. For anyone who’s taken improv classes or a weekend workshop you quite often hear about how the skills highlighted in those courses are applicable not only for the students who dream of one day being on SNL, but also for those who dream of being CEO. It soon became clear to me after aligning my personal management style with the principles of Improv, I became a much better manager. Within days there was a noticeable difference in the daily interactions of my team as people engaged with each other instead of hiding behind email. The overall mood in the studio seem to lighten as people slowed down and listened to each other. Productivity increased as individuals worked together to accomplish tasks instead of working independently. The changes were profound. 

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  January 14, 2015
  Jayden Masciulli

Jayden Masciulli took The Improv Conspiracy's Level 1 Intensive course in January 2015. He was gracious enough to write an article about his experiences!

"YES, AND... WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?!" - MY FIRST WEEK OF IMPROV
By Jayden Masciulli

I signed up to The Improv Conspiracy’s Level 1 intensive workshop on a whim. I had only been to one Harold Night, and while I loved every manic second of the show, it never really occurred to me that I would - or could - actually do it. 

Maybe it was the liberating feeling of graduating from uni a few weeks earlier. Maybe the haze of New Year’s resolutions got the better of me. Maybe I was drunk and looking for new and creative ways of embarrassing myself in public (actually, that was the exact reason. It was New Year’s after all). Regardless, when I first spotted on my Facebook feed the ad for TIC’s upcoming workshops, a little part of my brain fired up – the part responsible for my irrational need to make others laugh, and my ability to absolutely nail 21st birthday speeches on cue. Maybe I could do this. 

I had no idea what to expect on the first day. All that self belief I had when I triumphantly typed my credit card details online had vanished. I’m not an actor. I’m not a fan of being the centre of attention. I’m not even that funny. What the hell was I doing?

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