If I had gotten on a Maude team the first year I applied in 2011, I wouldn’t have pitched an article to The GLOC about rejection.
If Glennis McCarthy hadn’t said yes to my pitch, I wouldn’t have asked Julie Klausner, Caitlin Bitzegaio, and Lennon Parham for interviews.
If they hadn’t said yes, I would never have gotten Julie Klausner’s advice: You might have to work harder to get what you want. But you’ll learn more from the process, and then you’ll be a creator. It takes balls to be the creator - to be the one who puts it all together and produces it. But when you do it, no one can ever take it away from you.
If I had gotten on a Maude team the second year I applied in 2012, I wouldn’t have asked Michael Hartney to coach me in sketch.
If Michael hadn’t said yes, I wouldn’t have formed Bridge & Tunnel.
If I hadn’t formed Bridge & Tunnel, I wouldn’t have been ready when Michael asked us if we wanted to put on a show.
If we hadn’t put on that first show show, we wouldn’t have kept performing, and gotten a monthly show that’s nearing 2 years at the PIT.
If we hadn’t performed together for 2 years, we wouldn’t be as good as we are—and getting better—and we would never have been selected for festivals where we won awards.
If Bridge & Tunnel hadn’t stayed together, we wouldn’t have submitted our first Spank in 2013.
If our spank hadn’t gotten a pass after our show not long after I’d been rejected from Maude a third time, I wouldn’t have been broken-hearted and asked B&T’s brilliant director Aaron Burdette, “Jesus. What do I have to do here?”
If I hadn’t been that low, I wouldn’t have told him about the very personal show I was thinking of writing, but wasn’t sure how to write.
If I hadn’t told him about it, he wouldn’t have said, “That’s exactly the kind of show you should be writing.”
If he hadn’t given me that push, I wouldn’t have started writing The Dead Dads Club last September.
If that show had been easier to write, it wouldn’t have taken me 6 months to write the first draft and a year for the final.
If the process had been shorter, it would have a completely different cast and director.
If Michael Hartney didn’t direct this show, it wouldn’t be as magical and meaningful and personal as it is now.
If all of these things didn’t happen when and how they happened, The Dead Dads Club might not have gotten a run at UCB Theater starting in October.
It takes balls to be a creator, and no one can take it away from you.
*Edited to add: I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a cocky jerk. I just wanted to write about how great it feels to have a win after a lot of rejection. And hopefully I’ll remember it the next time I get a big ‘no.’ The no’s are good. They make you better.
"And hopefully I’ll remember it the next time I get a big ‘no.’ The no’s are good. They make you better."
Here’s some previously published advice on starting an improv group.
If there’s any sort of improv scene in your area, definitely check out some shows and talk to the performers.
If there isn’t much of a scene, gather friends with an interest in improv and just play/learn together, possibly with the help of books like Mick Napier’s Improvise: Scene From The Inside Out and The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual.
There’s also E-Mprov on Facebook, where you can watch (and maybe even participate in?) shows with people around the world through the magic of Skype.
Also, improv really can help with stage fright, as (theoretically) there’s nothing scarier than stepping on stage with no idea what you’re going to say and do… and yet with the right group of people it’s one of the most incredibly fun and supportive things in the world.
It’s #FanArtFriday! This gem was created by Smart Girl Erin Dorholt 😍 Submit your fan art to firstname.lastname@example.org 😜😂
Recently-ish a 301/401 level improv person told me they were struggling with second beats. They could recognize the game…or art least a game… and play it in the first beat but then would struggle bring it to the second beat. Or how to initiate the second beat. Or all that stuff.
Practicing second beats is hard for the simple reason that if the first beat is muddy or unclear or just bad, it’s hard to get a solid second beat.
Here is a simple way to get better at them: SEE SHOWS.
Lot’s of shows. If you want to get better at Harolds, see shows with Harolds (for example, Lloyd Night and Harold Night at UCB in NYC). See as many as you can. People tell you to, but you really need to.
And don’t watch it passively. This will probably suck some of the fun and joy of watching improv for a while, but actively study and think about the scenes. Has those first beats, in your head try to label the game. And then think of what second beats you might initiate.
And then when the second beats happen, see how closely they played the game as you labeled it. If it fit, great! If it felt different than what you thought the game was, can you label it in a away that fit both the first and second beat?
Also pay attention to what second beats hit the ground running and which got an immediate laugh from the first line. And what second beats rambled before they found their feet.
See show and think about them. Seriously. Do it. Make time for it if you want to become better. Classes and practices are not enough.
Also true for improv, if you think about it.
We talk to The Walking Dead star about I, Origins, his improv background, and the growing importance of social media.
Alex Elle (via textposter)
They just DO NOT exist.