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One year ago I enrolled in a summer intensive course with the Improv Conspiracy. I didn’t know much about longform improv, and I was initially drawn to the course due to the fact that my family had gone to Europe without me and I was very bored. The prospect of spending my birthday alone was super, super depressing, so I thought it better to spend it with new improv pals!
The fact that I was able to do two 3-day courses over two weeks to complete the (then) entire course program also appealed to me, and most of all; the chance to perform in a class show at the conclusion of the workshops was a unique opportunity.Continue Reading
Improvisers say "yes", obviously.
Not just on stage. But everywhere. All of our training has led us to subconsciously become more agreeable people. Certainly, I find that's the case for myself.
My music has often kept me at home or made me rush back home from whichever event at whatever place. Whether related to the business side or the creative side of things, I've always got a pretty good excuse to get back home and back to work.
I remember one time I was getting picked up by friends at 7pm. Stupidly, as if I didn't even know myself, I picked up a guitar at 6:50 and in that ten minutes came up with a melody I really liked. The result of this? I spent the entire night humming it to myself so that I wouldn't forget it. This was before I had a simple voice memo function on my phone. Fair to say, I was probably horrible company that night.
Since sinking my teeth into improv, I actually feel more free to chase whimsies and live in the present, like improv is the best life coach on the planet. I'm not talking about anything crazy or out of the ordinary, but instead about very simple things. For example, yesterday I had an improv session with some of the guys I do "The Movie" format with and we finished at 2pm. "Old me" thought he was going to grab lunch and rush home to get some work (or, let's face it, procrastination) done. We said goodbye to each other before Tim asked "What are you doing, Broni?" I replied that I was getting lunch and a coffee and going home. He asked "anyone else want to do that?", and "YES! YES! YES!" we all said. We continued to laugh all afternoon. If you're thinking "So what, I'm already a social butterfly and this happens all the time!" then shoosh your mouth because I usually forget to be in the moment, unless that moment is after a four-count from a drummer.Continue Reading
Acting as responder in a scene has been a big topic of conversation recently. Some people asked me my opinion, so I decided to write it down. Hopefully it helps.
There are three categories of response:
Complete – Speaks to the question: What am I looking at?
If someone starts a scene by picking up rubbish and throwing it away, you might mime throwing things on the floor. It doesn't have to be opposing to them, but we complete the picture. Alternatively you could come in as the bin.
Consolidate – Speaks to the question: What is happening in this scene?
Join. Think mirroring. You'll join them on whatever train they are on. If someone initiates a scene picking up rubbish, you'll do the same. Major difference from complete is that this move wouldn't necessarily answer the question of what is happening - but it will definitely add weight to the action, and might imply relationship/character dynamic.
Connect – Speaks to the question: Who are these people to each other?
Our trusty improviser starts a scene picking up rubbish, and you step out and give him a hug. This move may not add weight to the action, it might not tell us anything about what is happening in the physical world, but it will tell us a lot about the relationship/character dynamic.Continue Reading
Improvisers can't shut up about improv. We love talking about it — scenes you did, scenes I did, scenes we were both in together. Scenes that were good (and why), scenes that were bad (and why), scenes that we thought were going to be about this and ended up about that. Scenes that we thought about doing and didn't do, scenes that we did and wish we hadn't, scenes that we thought about afterwards we wish we'd done!
Theories of structure and technique, creativity and inspiration, our personal strengths and challenges, other players' strengths and challenges, other formats, other groups, and improv blah blah this and improv blah blah that.Continue Reading
Most people would think that to be an improviser you need to be outgoing, talkative, loud, bubbly and have boundless energy. Well, those things do help to some extent, but they’re not the whole picture.
I’ve always been on the quiet side. Don’t get me wrong – I love to talk – I just prefer talking to a couple of people rather than a whole bunch. I considered myself an extrovert because I’m interested in theatre and enjoy performing, and I think other people generally assumed I was an extroverted person because I’m chatty and friendly. It wasn’t until more recently I realised that I’m more on the introverted scale of being, and I’m learning to work this to my advantage.Continue Reading
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