Great improv is making a circle in as close to zero seconds as possible. Removing the fear-based delay we build in to avoid making a choice that may or may not be foolish or “incorrect.” Great improv is when you create with alacrity and focus and joy. It’s not about nailing the perfect idea (or making a perfect circle). And yet, it is amazing the lengths improvisers will go to avoid the present moment, be it living 3 seconds, or ten seconds, or a minute, or 15 minutes ahead of what’s going on right now. This stems from a need to control and protect themselves from failure. Ironically, this fear-based way of playing only decreases your ability to be funny, and the audience can see your avoidance a mile away.
“I admire your calm spirit when you walk into the room,” he told me, “but you need to set that aside when you play the violin.” The thought of my quiet personality compromising my expression in music terrified me. And with that, my journey of growth began. Roger did not call me shy. He did not allow my personality to define my ability as a player. Roger showed me in this memorable observation that I am capable of playing out. He continues to teach me with his inspired mentorship that the tendencies of my personality are not linked to my abilities as a musician.
- The main difference between a 201 grad show and a seasoned improv show is that when people step out their eyes are locked on each other. People are so worried about putting out their initiations that they don’t see the choices they’ve already made.
- I think of scenes like pyramids, on the bottom we are listening to each other and agreeing, above that we are playing realistically and intelligently, above that making them important and reacting emotionally and above that game.
- Saying a suggestion in a Harold is usually really lame. It’s like if Darth Vader were to say “I declare Star Wars”.
Will Hines substitutes a UCB 401 class and brings a lot of wisdom. That last quote made me laugh out loud.
Not true improv advice, but if you’re anything like me you’ve suffered from self-doubt when doin’ the improv.
Most of the time, we need to get out of our own way to start creating things we really want to make. It’s never a matter of banishing the fears and doubts we have, because those never go away. It’s more a matter of moving forward in spite of them.
There are three reasons we don’t support someone: laziness, judgement, fear. All of these are fucking unacceptable.
Adal Rifal, via Sam Clifford.