Bill Arnett workshop notes on character→

  • In the info of a line, what’s important in that line?
    • What’s conveyed?
  • Character > situation
    • The character is what’s important
  • If your worst scene is still a realistic depiction of life, you’re golden.
    • Gagging is unrealistic.
    • Frequent direction:  “This is really happening, <x>!”
  • Don’t play the action, play the person.
    • Again, character > situation.
  • You can always disclose your opinions/knowledge about the other character.
    • This lets you ‘check in’.

Loads of good stuff in these notes.

Players and coaches fixate on inspiration and idea generation. The openings job is not to generate ideas; that is the players job. But players feel that if the opening doesn’t silver platter them with an idea then it was broken. Sorry players, a “poor” opening means you’ll have to lift a finger. The openings job is to be the best monologue, scene paint, organic mirror dance or source scene it can be. Coach them and play them to be solid on their own merits. Don’t burden them with some external, heavy and intangible goal as inspiring people to create art. When you do, you will find that they do inspire.
Bill Arnett talking organic openings and being inspired over at Reddit.

Free Range Harolds→

One piece of advice I’ve heard multiple times is that a strong Harold is about the scene work, and players don’t have to worry as much about tying ideas back to the opening. Bill broke down the Harold in such a way that added some more clarity. Namely, the first beat scenes do not need to find or tie back to a larger theme, but the players can declare a theme later in the show by looking back at everything that has already happened. I’d like to call this a free range Harold.


A Series of Diagrams→

The sharp as hell Bill Arnett from Chicago Improv Studio goes into theatre differences and how improv splintered in the ways it did.