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Aug
19th
Thu
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What is the final answer for: What happens to us after we die?

Our bodies return to the ecosystem after several detours through hospitals, funeral parlours and some less reputable restaurants.

-fv

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Apr
9th
Fri
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How do you create a sketch show? How do you use improv to do that? How long does it take? Can you describe the actual process you go through? What specific techniques and exercises do you use?

Ian
http://improviser.fr/blog

I’ve been holding off on answering this one because I have no real experience in this sort of thing. I’ve written sketches but not in many years and not using improv. I’ve read about it and I have a few ideas but I don’t like to write about things without having a little firsthand experience.

That doesn’t usually stop me.

How to create a sketch show? Write a bunch of sketches. Revise them like crazy. Write in pairs. Pass it to someone to edit. Find the best person for each role. Forget who wrote what. Figure out your blocking, props, costumes and transitions between sketches. Vary the pace, energy, themes and kinds of jokes. Perform them in front of people to get real feedback. Re-write like crazy. Rehearse like crazy. Use music wisely.

How do you use improv to do that? Write sketches and improvise new lines. Find new games to play within the scene. Write outlines of sketches. Improvise from the seed of a sketch. Improvise beyond the end of the written sketch. Improvise what happens before the start of the sketch. Re-write. Rehearse. Do an improv show. Note what worked. Write sketches based on that.

How long does it take? Start now. You’ll never feel like it’s done. Never stop writing. Keep a notebook. Everywhere. Keep pen and paper by your bed.

Here’s a podcast where they discuss this very topic:

Finally, keep writing.

-fv

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Feb
25th
Thu
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Do you think Improv can save the world?

An interesting question.  I guess it depends on what we’re saving it from.  I think practicing improv can help socialize individuals and can teach them some practical skills for surviving in society, but people are still people and assholes will probably always be assholes.  Improv can help us be better, but we have to accept the offers that improv is giving us.

However, improv can save the world from alien attack.  This has been proven.

-mr

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Feb
19th
Fri
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I'm in an improv rut. I do improv on a weekly (sometimes biweekly) basis and I have found that lately I'm not enjoying my own company on stage. I feel like I'm not contributing to scenes and that my ideas are stale and uninspiring. I feel like I'm letting down my scene-mates. I essentially feel like a bad improviser. Do you have any tips on how to dig myself out of this situation (or at least on how to avoid being overly-critical of myself)?

Ah. The dreaded Improv Rut. I think I’m coming out of one myself so I totally relate. In Jill Bernard’s Small Cute Book of Improv (which I just finished reading), she talks about the Sine Wave of improv, of alternating between peaks and troughs. It sounds like you’re in the middle of a trough.

How to get out? First, be patient. You’ll come out of it eventually. It can be frustrating but there is an end. Second, try new things. Push your physicality, try stronger characters, use bigger emotional reactions (don’t be phony, just amplify what exists), play with your environment. Don’t force anything but find inspiration in new things. Finally, don’t get down. This really happens to everyone and it will happen repeatedly.

My theory on this is that your old tricks don’t work because you find them boring and so you find yourself boring. Find something new that engages you in the scene and play with it. And while I won’t tell you to stop beating yourself up over it (we all do that), I will tell you to just accept failure (real or perceived) as part of the learning process. It’s the people who can best accept failure and rejection that keep going through the troughs to the other side where gold and glory lay.

-fv

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Feb
18th
Thu
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There was talk of a Character Class on Sundays. Wassup?

Its in the works!  We’re booking the space and it will either be on Saturdays or Sundays, depending on certain factors.  More info soon.

-mr

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Feb
12th
Fri
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Oh my God, improv has become my whole life. What do I do?

Take improv classes. Hang out with improvisers. Read books. Watch movies. Listen to music. See plays. Play instruments. Watch improv. Pretend to be someone you’re not. Sing. Dance. Write. Fall down. Get up. Do improv. Do improv. Do improv.

11:12pm - Comments (View)



Feb
11th
Thu
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Why do you do improv?

[click the question to see the answers so far]

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Feb
7th
Sun
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More a request for your opinion than a question I guess. I had an epiphany, of sorts, last week during the Scene Work Class and later that night at TSC. Now, I don't want to get too far into anyone's head but it strikes me that every time I watch people Improving really well, it looks very much like when I see people flirt. I don't mean "verge of a make-out flirt" but just the playfulness that comes with it. Regardless of the genders of the Improvisers, the behaviors of flirtation are there; side looks, small smiles, head tilts, etc.... Pretty fascinating to watch. What do you think? Am I insightful or a creepy pervert?

Nope, you are totally insightful. I wrote about this exact topic last July.

Playfulness and Intimacy

Keep the questions coming!

3:42pm - Comments (View)



Jan
29th
Fri
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How do you make sure that people learn improvisational skills in one day workshop?

At gunpoint.

Or, if you want a little less drama, I think there are plenty of good exercises that can introduce improv to people in a one-day workshop. (I’m going to assume the question is essentially “How do you teach people improv if you only have a one-day workshop?”)

I’d break it down into the following steps:

  • Get people to enjoy playing
  • Get people to enjoy making mistakes
  • Introduce the terms of improv
  • Introduce storytelling
  • Introduce listening, cooperation and sharing control
  • Do some scenes and games

That would take me about 6 hours to cover though I could squeeze it into 4 and stretch it out to 8 if I had to. There are plenty of sample exercises out there on the web for each of these steps. That’s what I would do.

-fv

8:00am - Comments (View)



Jan
19th
Tue
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A question. How might a person "practice" improv outside of the classes or workshops? Are there exercises or activities that make sense?

Well, if you can get a group together, certainly playing around with the exercises you already know can help. There’s a huge amount of improv resources out there on the internet (just google “improv exercise” or “improv games”). But I get the impression that the question is meant for solo work.

I think there’s lots a person can do alone to hone their improv skills. One of my fave activities is people watching. Just riding the bus or sitting in a restaurant, you can try to figure out who is higher status and why. Look at people’s postures, physical distance, contact, etc.

You’re also bound to meet people with voices or mannerisms that stand out. Feel free to try to mimic or channel them later on (or to their face if that’s how you roll) and you can discover some great characters by making them you’re own.

Try sitting at a computer and just writing out a story without stopping. don’t fix typos, don’t delete a single letter and go at a smooth and continuous rhythm.

Give yourself some rhymes and try to spontaneously do a little spoken word poetry. Grab some dope beats (instrumentals) and let loose your freestyle rapper.

If you know a child between the age of 12-24 months, watch how they walk (or try to walk) and do your best to copy them. These kids are the source of some seriously awesome movements.

Practice miming common activities in front of a mirror. Check out YouTube for tons of examples to copy!

There’s tons of inspiration out there that you can find to work your storytelling, your character work, your voice, your body, your powers of observation, your listening. Almost all of it can be done by yourself.

Keep the questions coming. These are great!

-fv

5:33pm - Comments (View)