Got Your Back E24: Roy Janik

Here are some notes and interpretations I took while listening to Austin improv podcast Got Your Back. This is from Episode 24 with Roy Janik of improv group Parallelogramophonograph. Click the links on the times to be taken to an audio version of the note.

4:50 – Interesting things about the Keith Johnston approach:

  • Be obvious above everything else. If something occurs to you and it’s really stupidly obvious, that’s what you should be doing.
  • Don’t try so hard, don’t get in your own way.
  • Teaching yourself to trust your very base instincts

7:08 – “You’ll probably discover some fun thing along the way if you just start doing it.” Creating something from scratch and communicating it to 3 to 10 other people without talking about it ahead of time will probably create its own problems.

7:46 – These issues that people give themselves come out of fear.

9:01 – “It’s not just managing failure, and it’s not just being ok with failure. It’s actively perusing failure and celebrating it.”

9:48 – “That’s an easy thing to say but truly a tough thing to believe. But if you can get to the point on stage where you make “a mistake” and not only are you ok with it but basically you laugh it off and turn it into something beautiful, the audience sees that you’re at that level of comfort and confidence, basically half your job is done.”

12:58 – “Be average! Be more boring! Do less!”

21:38 – Narrative is taught to focus on one single character and follow their journey.
Tools: Once upon a time there is a thing, and every day they did this, until one day something happened that shook it all up, and because of that all these things happened, until finally this climax happened, and ever since that day it’s been like this.
“There’s a world, something happens to upset it, we go through a bunch of shit, and something happens to create a new normalcy”

24:20 – Difference between Johnstone style and Chicago style: character change.
In Johnstone style narrative, a platform tilt will result in change of status or relationship and a character might have a change of heart, status, or change of philosophy.
Chicago style means that we play with character and heighten that relationship/status/philosophy, but not necessary change it.
Same want, same character, different environment.

30:45 – “What does this show want to be? What makes sense for this show?”

34:00Mindsets: “Completely serving the show, to a point where […] trying not to worry about being polite, accepting the fact that we have this level of trust where I can put motivations in other character’s minds, or I can endow them as having done things in between scenes, and vice versa. Or where I can tap them out and take over their character, and mess with them in that way.”
Full commitment, zero risk.

43:40 – Narrative can work on instinct rather than sticking to structure – work on impulse, move when inspired. “In a perfect show, I’m never thinking ‘right now a mentor needs to come in’ but I will know a mentor needs to come in.”