“At the time, Jacobson and Glazer were already working on a Broad City TV pilot; the plan was to wrap up the series, then head to L.A. to pitch it. But the finale was so well received that they were inspired to hit Poehler up with an audacious request: Would you want to, ah, executive produce our project? “Just being like, ‘We might as well fucking ask,’” Glazer recalls. “I don’t know what the fuck we thought she’d say.” And she said — yes! “So it went really well with Amy. We were all the same height, which helped.””—
“You look up to your heroes and you shouldn’t be intimidated by them; you should be inspired by them. Don’t look up at the poster on your wall and think, ‘Fuck, I can never do that.’ Look at the poster on your wall and think, ‘Fuck, I’m going to do that!’”—Dave Grohl at last night’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony where he perfectly describes the role Nirvana played in my adolescence. Thank you Nirvana. Thank you forever. (via harryandthepotters)
“[Improv] makes you work with people better, just in general. And I don’t mean like work like at a job—just interact with people better. I keep going back to the same word “listening,” but it really is just that.”—Matt Besser (via ucbcomedy)
Which improv format do you feel is the hardest to perform successfully and why? Thank you.
Ooh, good question!
Without practice they’re all pretty difficult, but I’d say even with practice the trickiest is probably any sort of Narrative (like the Movie form).
Why? Narrative lends itself to plot, which can lend itself to writing on stage, which can be antithetical to improv.
You want to tell a compelling story that makes sense, but you still have to build it up moment by moment. Also, it can get bogged down by the plot, which isn’t fun for anyone, audience or improviser.
It’s tricky! But it can be done.
As for a non-Narrative form, I’d say the Evente, for similar reasons.
You want to return to the ending (which was the beginning of the show), and you want to return in a way that’s not plotty or connect-the-dots. There needs to be a surprise in there somewhere, either in the how or the why or whatever.
Also, it needs to make sense, not come out of nowhere, and you actually have to remember that first scene.
It’s a fun challenge, though!
I’m sure people have other opinions — if so, please share ‘em!
This class will force you out of your t-shirt and jeans comfort zone, and urge you to put on character skins. Using the Eventé as a structure, this class will work to heighten your theatricality, your [time] period play as well as balancing plot and game. You’ll come out of this class with an arsenal of new character types and acting styles, as well as an understanding of The Eventé improv form.
The Eventé is a form revolving around a single event/scene. The first scene establishes the event. That scene informs, and is followed by several background scenes which explore the world leading up to, or resulting from the event. One character from the event scene usually serves as a plot thread. Then the event scene is performed again, taking into account new information discovered by the background scenes. The Event scene can be returned to any number of times, provided the event scene evolves and heightens with each replay.
The Evente is one of my favorite improv forms, and this’ll be a great class.
Have you ever found it frustrating having to do something you don't want to (as in, doesn't tickle your fancy) but it helps pay the bills?
So, let me tell you a quick story:
My grandpa on my dad’s side came over from China when he was pretty young— grew up in Chicago. He was in high school when World War 2 broke out; he joined up, and was put in the 407th Air Service Squadron. It was part of the famed Flying Tigers fighter group, and one of the first all Chinese-American units in the military. He fixed planes. He also shot at them when they strafed the airfield. With a pistol.
He was there when the Japanese officially signed the surrender, and was honorably discharged soon after. The very first thing that he bought with his stashed up pay was a sterling silver bracelet with his serial number on it.
I keep it within sight of my desk at all times.
After the war, he went back to Chicago, but his father was already housing too many Chinese immigrant workers (up to this point, most Chinese immigrants were single men because of strict immigration laws and quotas), so he had to move to Detroit to live with an uncle and finish high school.
One of his high school teachers noted his artistic abilities, and recommended that he use his GI Bill to go to art school. Of course, his dad wouldn’t have it. So, he worked in laundromats, owned his own grocery, and later worked as an insurance salesman instead.
70 years later, I’m the graduate of an art school, and I’m taking a break from drawing to write this out.
I guess my point is this: the time that you use to pursue art has to come from somewhere. At some point, a sacrifice was made by you, or others, to allow you to have that time. Illustrators try to make a living in that intersection of art and commerce in an effort to lessen that sacrifice. There are some that are doing quite well at that. There are many, many more that are not.
Even those artists who we view as extremely successful have to sacrifice time. It just comes from other places: relationships, health, or family, etc. The real struggle then, is to find that balance on how you are spending your time.
If you know that a life spent making art is your ultimate goal, then doing things you don’t like aren’t really frustrations. They are necessities that must be done to give yourself time.
I think this is why I cringe every time I hear someone say that self-righteous creed of the “creative class”: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That statement discounts all the hard work and sacrifices that you or others have made to be in that situation—what on Earth would entitle us to only work jobs that we love?
I don’t do this because I love it. I do it because I must.
This is one of the single most important statements made about how to direct a comedy. I am not exaggerating. Shittier comedy directors focus on closeups, so you can see actors make silly faces. Great directors use more wide shots, so you can feel how everyone reacts.
“There’s no shortage of dumb comedies. But you know, comedy, it’s got to be more than manipulation. For me, there has to be some point, some message. Frank Capra said a great thing. He said, ‘If you’re going to have the privilege of talking to people for two hours in the dark, you have to take it as a great responsibility.’ And I take it that way, whether it’s comedy or tragedy or anything. So I think there’s a responsible kind of comedy that enlightens us to some extent, makes us think, exposes real hypocrisy, or the real contradictions in society, and that’s useful. That’s valuable. That’s good comedy.”—
Last night I went to the UCB Lady Jam for the first time in probably a year. I somehow found myself awake and with energy enough to stay up past midnight for the show, so I went with a couple of friends.
For the last several months, probably since I started my La Ronde class at The Magnet, improv has felt easy. Or maybe I should say it hasn’t felt hard. I was enjoying the form and my classmates. I didn’t feel preoccupied with any thoughts other than the desire to have fun and to push myself and expand my range of characters and play. For the most part, I think I succeeded and I got some great feedback from Rick Andrews, who hasn’t seen me play since I took his level 1 class over a year ago.
But last night, I found myself thinking things that took me away from the focus of having fun. I was worried about not fucking up in front of the audience and wanting to make smart moves to stand out and look good. I felt rail-roaded at certain times, while I was busy trying to find a more patient way to heighten or make moves. I felt a little lost. I hated my moves. It was maybe a 10-minute set, but it felt like it went by so quickly, before I could get my bearings and feel settled. And I get that a jam is a different animal - it’s often faster play. People are more aggressive and the emphasis is more on game moves. I’ve done jams where I felt like an asshole for being aggressive. This time I felt like a lamb, just trying to get through the set without fading away.
I made a move at one point that immediately felt like a negation or like I was undermining or calling another improviser out. I did not like my play. I can chalk it up to it being a long day (I ended up being awake for 20 hours, which is unusual for me). I could blame it on a rough week emotionally for me. I traced back the start of these feelings to the practice I had days earlier where working on game stuff put me back in my head and took me away from the fun.
Maybe I’m just in one of those waves that we all go through where improv just isn’t working or making sense to me right now. Maybe I’ve sat too long in a bull market and I’m heading into a bear market?
Then I read the post I reblogged from Sarah Rainone (see below this one), which was a lovely post about why we do improv. It’s about supporting your partner and making them look good. It’s about genuinely making human connection and quickly without thought or pretext. And it’s the reminder I needed for why I continue to do improv. Prior to the Lady Jam last night, I saw a great Monoscene class show with a bunch of people I know. I was impressed at how much fun they seemed to have, how big their choices were, how much they committed to what they were doing and how they supported each other. At the practice where I felt a little mentally strained, I was playing with some improvisers I only recently met, but with whom I’m having a blast improvising. And outside of improv - and this isn’t a profound anecdotal point, but it feels important to me nonetheless - I’m using my improv training to feel comfortable talking and flirting with someone I would never ordinarily have the courage to chat up.
Improv has given me so much and made my life better in innumerable ways. Who cares if I have a bad show? Why harp on not getting into that class I wanted or failing to impress the audience or beating myself up for not showing off? Why am I even worried about trying to show off? Why can’t I just refocus myself on being good and continuing to improve?
I just applied to be a Magnet Big Sibling because working with younger improvisers and helping to create a supportive space for them to play and experiment and grow is what I think I need right now. Getting to coach some great people has revitalized my improv perspective. Maybe being a Big Sib will help re-adjust my attitude again and clarify why I continue to do this.
I’m lost in thought, on my way to pay for an improv space, wondering if I’ll get into the class I applied for, when an older gentleman, as bundled for the cold as I am, waves his hand to indicate that I can step in front of him and step on the train first.
I get the sense that he doesn’t speak, or doesn’t speak English at least, so I follow his lead with the pantomime and kind of half-bow to say thank you.
I step forward and feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and he tugs on his hat and smiles, points to my hat, indicating he likes it.
I smile, tug on my own hat, point to his hat, indicating I like HIS.
He gives me a thumbs up.
We board the train. It’s so packed that no one need grab a pole: we’re so smooshed together that there is literally nowhere to fall. (This is the red line, boarding at 34th St. during rush hour.) I can’t really turn around to see the guy, but I know he made the train, too.
A bunch of people get off at 42nd street, and somehow I manage to get a seat. So does the guy.
He lowers his head in an exaggerated way to indicate exhaustion, but then raises his head and laughs.
I do the same.
He gives me a thumbs up.
I’m thinking, holy shit, we are doing some straight-up vaudeville right now. This is the best.
Then he points to his knee and waves his hand to indicate his knee is not doing great. Thumbs down.
I wave my hand over my own knee to indicate “so, so, but pretty good.”
Then I cross my fingers and point to his knees to show I hope his knee gets better and I say a little wish to myself that it does.
I don’t think wishes work like people think they do, in a physical way. It’s more subtle than that: it’s how the wish makes you, and others around you, feel. It’s about what happens next.
The next stop is mine, so we smile and wave goodbye.
This is why we do this, I think. This is why we do this.
Moments later, I check my email and see that I didn’t get into the class. For the first time, I don’t care. Instead I think: how can I fill my days when I would have been in class? Where can I travel? Who will I meet? What will we make?
There is a bigger stage out there. And no one is casting us. And no one is giving us notes. And no one is deciding whether we’re ready for the next level but us.
But it’s real and it’s magic and it’s our job to bring what we’ve learned out there.
Listen, pay attention, yes-and, wish your scene partners the best.
A note I get a lot is that I have a hard time using emotions on stage. Is using emotion more of a commonly used skill or more of a crucial element to scene work?
Hmm… My initial thought was “There’s no scene without an emotion.”
And then I thought that might sound a bit too pretentious / actor-y, because let’s face it, there are many great improv scenes without much emotion.
But a great scene ALWAYS has something interesting or compelling, whether it’s an idea or an action or a characteristic or an emotion. Or maybe those exist in good improv scenes, whereas a great one will have all of them.
I will say that of the many things that make a scene interesting/compelling, emotion is probably the strongest.
Also, if you’ll accept some unasked-for advice — if you’re having a hard time with emotions on stage, just react. Don’t think of the right reaction, just express how you naturally feel. It might be bumpy at first (since a lot of times we’ll feel negative emotions of fear or anger or doubt or whatever), but it’s a beginning.
And to answer your actual question — can’t it be both a commonly used skill AND a crucial element?
Thanks for asking! Also, hello. I’m sorry I haven’t written a lot lately. I moved to Los Angeles.
Well done hero! No more walking for you. You’ve found an airship!
"Let’s see them get me now!" - Captain Phillips
Get ready for everything to get better! This ship will expedite your journey and take you to lands farther than you imagined. And look at all the amenities! This baby comes with beds, weapon/armor shops, item storage/sales, and rooms for everyone in your party. Plus extra rooms for when you meet other adventurers! From now on, you’ll be surrounded by like minds, able to work with all different combinations of heroes to form a party and create the greatest group possible! What could be better?
Man, who knew there were so many heroes out there? This ship has gotten crowded! It’s now full of adventurers, some much stronger/faster/more powerful than you. Since only 5 people can be chosen to be in the party that leaves the ship, lately you’ve stopped being chosen all the time. Sometimes you get to go out, and sometimes you stay on the ship. Eventually it feels like the same 5 people are chosen every time, and that group grows incredibly strong. How can you compete with that? You’re a pretty good adventurer, but your skill might require special timing, or saving up, or a secret ingredient that’s more complicated than the guy who can insta-kill with his special move. And your weapons and armor are just hand-me-downs that the other characters don’t need anymore. It’s not fair! If you had the best equipment, or leveled up all the time, you too would be that strong. But you don’t, and you can’t. You now spend most of your time on the airship, sleeping and eating and generally feeling bad about what you can’t do and what others get to. While you were originally a hero walking to fight evil, now you’re just a guy along for the ride on the airship, surrounded by an increasing group of other heroes just waiting for a turn which may never come.
Have a seat! The AD will see your fart ninja character soon.
As improv has become more popular, each improv theater reaches a point of supersaturation where, though they would love to give everyone every opportunity, they simply cannot. Each theater responds to this differently. Some hasten the turnover of their teams, while others let veteran teams remain almost indefinitely. Regardless, chances are that there will be a small group of people at each theater who seem to get to do everything. The chosen ones, the weekend people - whatever you want to call them. The ones the theater seems to be behind the most. A coveted position, to be sure. But it is very important to understand something as you go through your time at an improv theater. Statistically speaking, chances are that you will not be one of these people. It’s a sobering thought, and one that everyone hopes to avoid. But if it does happen that you’re not one of those people, the single most important thing you can do is make sure that this doesn’t ruin your relationship with your theater(s) - both the people and the establishment.
What you must understand about an improv theater is that each person’s relationship with the same building will often be very different. You respond to it differently, and it responds to you differently. It will respond “better” to some people than you. This may create feelings of resentment toward that place or those “chosen” people. Should you be in that position, what you do with that resentment/those feelings may define you as a person and an improviser for the near (and perhaps far) future. It’s important to make the right choices. Therefore, a few tips:
Do not treat your time at an improv theater as something to “get through” until you are famous/successful/on the weekend/etc. Make the theater and its community a place you enjoy being right now. You may not get any more opportunities than you have right now, so waiting for the day that never comes is not your best bet. Create a space that is fulfilling for you as a person and comedian now, so that even if you never take a step up, you can die happy, (hopefully) loved and (somewhat) fulfilled.
Take a look around. Even though you’re at a theater and trying to gain more experience and opportunities, there are new people coming in and out all the time. They bring new shows and new perspectives you may not have. You may think you’ve seen it all, but chances are there’s always something you’ll admire, and possibly someone you want to work with, that you haven’t seen yet. And even if it’s all bad, doesn’t that make you want to replace it with something good?
Realize that even the people that you think get every opportunity think they don’t. And they look longingly at the people who they think get every opportunity. In some ways, it never ends.
If your theater, or your relationship with it, stops making you feel like a hero (comedian), you should leave that theater. For a month, a year or a decade is up to you and your personal situation. But always remember that a theater does not make or break you. You were a comedian before you came to this theater - that’s what made you seek it out. And you will be a comedian after you leave it. Most likely what you need is to simply redefine your expectations - take a few months off and come back with new, probably lessened expectations of what the theater “should” do for you. Remember your simple love for improv, as absence will remind you. For some it takes more than a few months. For some it’s forever. Again these are individual cases. But don’t let yourself suffer through this time. It may be all you have.
An example from my own life: When the Magnet Theater started, I loved everything about it. It was new and fledgling, and yet the work that went up there was so strong. It was also unknown, some secret that I felt needed to get out, and because of that I wanted to put the whole place on my back and carry it to fame and glory and all that stuff. I believed in the theater and was ready to work harder than I ever had to lift it to new heights. What I wasn’t ready for was that the Magnet didn’t see that same potential in me.
It’s a hard thing to reconcile your own belief in a theater and its belief in you when the two are at different levels. It’s like being in a relationship where one person loves the other more - eventually that’s going to come to a head. It did for me, though not through any grand blow-up or anything. Due to the nature of the improv business, you won’t often get a vote of “no confidence” so much as not get a vote of “confidence.” I started to get a few of those “no”s when they eventually came up - TourCo, teaching, etc - all stuff that seemed like the end of the world at the time. I became aware of the gulf in our perceptions of one another. It was all very polite, of course, but it still hurt.
It’s hard to go backwards in a relationship. It colors everything in your view. Things don’t feel new and exciting when you feel like you’ve been there before. So it was with me. Eventually my relationship with Magnet came to the point where I needed to change my expectations. I felt the theater owed me more for my service. I mean, I’d done stuff for them. I ran a jam for 5 years, damn it! So pony up!
Looking back, my need for these votes of confidence now seems somewhat desperate to me. Why was that? I see now that the real reason these votes of confidence were so necessary to me was because, like many improvisers, I developed a sense of identity tied to my theater. As a struggling artist who could barely afford my lifestyle and had few sources of support, if I couldn’t even be sure that my theater believed in my potential as a performer, what certainty in life did I have at all? I was allowing the theater to basically solely dictate my sense of self-worth. That is a wholly unwise idea for anyone who intends to be happy at all. So I decided to change up my routine. I quit a few things (my house team, the aforementioned jam THAT THEY OWE ME SO MUCH FOR WTF!), started doing some new ones (musical improv, sketch, web videos), started performing at a new theater and even changed up my crowd a little bit. It helped immensely.
I don’t love everything about the Magnet Theater anymore. This seems like a weightier statement than it is. Things change. Hell, I came to NYC to bum around and do improv forever. Now I still wanna do improv forever, but other stuff too. I’ve changed. The Magnet has grown way beyond that place I started at - the one where if there were people in the lobby you knew Mike Myers was there. It’s changed. How could our relationship not? I’ve redefined my Magnet relationship many times - from someone I thought was at the forefront of the theater to now basically a musical improviser and esoteric show creator. There was some pain involved in that, but now there’s a lot of freedom. I play/socialize at 2 theaters, and have good relationships with 3. It’s a pretty good place to be.
My feelings on the Magnet have pretty much followed my feelings on my parents - at first they’re the greatest people ever, then you briefly hate them, and finally you love them again and are grateful, but you don’t owe them your life. Once you get old enough to start relating with your parents as two independent agents, things tend to get much better quickly. The same is true of improv theaters, in my experience. My feelings on the people has never changed, though.
I’ve been part of 3 different improv theaters in my time in New York, and I’ve disagreed with aspects of all of them. One must assume that each theater is running exactly (or close to) how they want to run, and that they want different things than you personally do, even if what you think is right seems so universally correct. The key to managing this is to lose that sense of gang identity so many of us have when we start out.
In short, remember that you’re not a comedian because you’re at a theater. You’re at a theater because you’re a comedian.
“Humorous responses to Sandy’s destruction rose, peaked, and eventually fell over the course of 100 days. We find that temporal distance creates a comedic sweet spot. A tragic event is difficult to joke about at first, but the passage of time initially increases humor as the event becomes less threatening. Eventually, however, distance decreases humor by making the event seem completely benign.”—Social Psychologists: It Takes 36 Days After a Tragedy Before Jokes About It Become Funny (via shortformblog)
We now have a definitive answer to the question “Too soon?” (via chrisreblogs)
“Improv is for people who are willing to spend their nights standing in a circle, making weird sounds with eight strangers for a couple of years, until they’re best friends.”— Bobby Moynihan, in High-Status Characters (via ucbbook)
I’m sitting alone at McManus and this made me cry a little.
If you’re a musician, that means that when the internet says you can play what you want, record the way you want to, release it when you like, at the length you prefer, to the fans you’d like to share it with…
If you’re an actor, that means that when the internet says you can perform what you’d like, film it with the team you’ve chosen and distribute it far and wide…
If you’re a writer, that means that when the internet says you can write what you want, when you want to, at any length and subject matter and intensity you prefer, and then send it to five or ten or a million friends and followers…
You get the idea. Now, for the first time, you can choose yourself. You can be responsible for what you do and how you do it. You have to do the hard work of finding and pleasing an audience.
But you do have to say, “yes.”
Also, say “And” and build on that Yes. That’s called improv.
“You can feel good about failure. Failure means you did something. You finished the story even if it wasn’t what you’d hoped. Failure means you’re learning. Growing. Doing.”—Chuck Wendig - Terribleminds (via wmilam)
I want to thank everyone who’s been so kind in the wake of our announcement about this Comedy Central opportunity. The messages, comments, blog posts, and emails have all been insanely nice and it means the world to me to see them all. It’s very motivating and makes me want to get this thing right even more than I already did.
With that in mind, I feel like I wanted to just put my motivation out there publicly. This is for a few reasons. First off, I’ve always felt so strongly connected to the fans of this show and feel like they are a huge part of the process. People are already posting suggestions for the pilot on our message board over at the main web site unsolicited, and I think that’s the best. I read them all. Also, I think it’s interesting to let you guys see my thought process - I have a chip on my shoulder and often think about why and this should show that off. Mostly though, I feel like I put this out into the world it will force me to live and die by it a bit more - declare something publicly and you are accountable for it.
So why are we doing this? Why take this thing we love and change it? What motivates that?
I’m not gonna lie, I’ve served some real douchebags in my time. Any seasoned server like myself has had experience with a variety of self-entitled morons in this bustling metropolis. I’ve served insecure women who have openly discussed the realness of my breasts. I’ve had men ask me to sit on their laps for photo-ops to send to their wives. I’ve served both men and women who think it’s ok to get my attention by hitting me. Some people are idiots. This is not news.
I’m immediately on the defense with these people, obviously, and bristle at any sort of personal question they may ask me, especially about acting. I suppose it’s pretty clear that I’m an actor-type, and the fact that I’m a walking cliche waiting tables is just bonus evidence. I usually brush off their questions with a stock comment about it being a tough business and offer them another round. I have no desire to let these people into my life, and I keep them at a distance. The walls are up.
Once in a while, though, some of my guests surprise me. They’re kind and appreciative, they’ll offer me a seat and a drink, they treat me like a new friend. They’ll compliment me in a sincere fashion by telling me that I’m doing a great job. They say thank you. They won’t ask me what my ethnicity is as a segue to talk about my body (PS: I’m not Brazilian but that would be cool). I love these people. I love working for these people. I will literally do anything to make them happy as long as they are my guests. They make my job incredibly easy and, dare I say, rewarding.
Sometimes guests like this, unbeknownst to them, help me. They’ll unintentionally say something that I need to hear, desperately, to keep pushing in my horrible and wonderful career of acting. Last night I met a cool guy who’s brother is a fairly prominent actor. His boisterous friend nudged him, “Give her some advice, she’s a nice girl.” A little embarrassed, this is what the cool guy had to say:
"Just…be persistent. It’s one of the loneliest, most brutal things you could ever want to do, but, you know, just keep going. Keep pushing, and eventually you’ll get to the place you want to be. Be persistent."
It was the word “loneliest” that got me. It is lonely. In a city of 9 million people and hundreds of thousands of fellow actors, writers, directors, and other show biz people, the struggle to create and produce and maintain a sense of individuality as an artist can be quite isolating. It’s the type of thing that most actors feel but can’t really share. It’s internal, and it’s yours.
Before I could stop myself, I admitted something to him that is very personal. “I just get so tired sometimes. Like…so tired.”
When you make the choice to pursue acting, nobody tells you about the exhaustion. Sure, they say that it’s tough and time management is key and you have to take care of your body because eight shows a week is killer, but nobody really articulates the fatigue. The consistent, pulsing ache in your muscles and your breath and your feet and your voice that you push to the very recesses of your mind because the moment you acknowledge it you’ve been defeated, you’ll collapse for sure. It’s the weariness you feel behind the chipper “Hi, I’m Megan!” in the audition room and at your tables and at a bar after a reading or a show, because you’re networking networking networking it never stops, you’ve always got to be on. It’s the 5 to 6 shifts a week on your feet, screaming over loud music, hustling for tips, literally hustling on a bad night because young suits never tip and there’s never enough money on their debit cards but they’re trying to be cool so they drink more and just don’t tip you. It’s the panic you feel when you first open your eyes and jesus it takes you 30 seconds to remember what day it is, the GODDAMN DAY OF THE WEEK and even then you’re not sure until you check your phone, which you pretty much sleep with and is the most intimate relationship you’re able to maintain at the moment. The Facebook feed of baby after baby after baby after wedding after wedding wedding after engagement after engagement after engagement and your friends’ kids SO MANY HAVE KIDS and family you never see, vacations you just don’t take. It’s the saying no to the food you’re craving because you actually have to work out to maintain your weight and whenever you binge an audition on film always seems to pop up the next day. The willpower to do cardio AND conditioning when you closed the night before and didn’t get home until 3am. It’s the exhaustion. Nobody warns you about the exhaustion.
"I just get so tired sometimes." It’s a loaded statement, what I tell this stranger. My walls are down. I’m completely vulnerable. What’s wrong with me? Why did I just say that?
He looks a me, and nods, understanding. He gets it. All of it. “I know. I know you do. But you’ve got to keep going. Just be persistent.”
Once in a while, my guests surprise me, and I am revived.
“Don’t talk to yourself in such a way that if you did so to a friend, it would end your friendship.
If you had a friend dealing with the same things, you wouldn’t berate that person, say, ‘You’re not working hard enough,’ ‘You suck,’ or ‘You’re not as good as [whomever].’ You’d offer your friend encouragement, you’d try to point out all the things your friend did right, and how much progress your friend had made.
“The comments didn’t add anything to your post and none were funnier, so just keep making funnier stuff than those people.”—Chris Dignes (@tehdig) on dealing with comment monsters. (via talkingbreakfast)
Any tips on doing an improv scene with no dialogue? In the scene, my partner and I are roommates, at home in our apartment. It has to be a three minutes, and my acting teacher said "try not to make it boring". It's my very first time doing improvisation so I'm kinda clueless
This sounds like a fun assignment! And it might be very similar to most of your other acting exercises, only now you have no dialogue. So when that’s the case, you use your nonverbal assets, like…
Emotion! The easiest way to make it not boring is by making the scene emotionally relevant. Get sad, get happy, get scared! (Although I’d recommend avoiding a fight with your partner… those can get boring very fast.)
Your environment! What’s in your apartment? How do you interact with it? What do you do with it?
Physicality! Anything nonverbal has to rely on the physical, so sitting on a couch won’t get you many places (unless you really interact with the couch), so do things that involve physicality.
Your scene partner! Acting is reacting and improvising is reacting in the moment, so react to your scene partner again, hopefully in a positive way). Your reaction will cause them to react, and the cycle continues.
Your want! What’s your character’s want in this scene? It can be anything nonverbal, and the simpler the better. Then you just pursue it.
I have been laying some turds of song structures lately in musical improv. I think I'm just going through a slump. Any helpful hints? Also, any ideas for a person who is completely unconfident in his singing voice?
Hints To Strengthen Song Structure!
Watch/listen to musical improv, and as the performers sing, try and identify their song structure. Sing along in your head to the tagline or chorus.
Then focus on the piano. Other times, listen to the piano — after a verse, did they repeat themselves, or build into something slightly (most likely a chorus).
If you know your structure but forgot the words to the chorus or tagline, that’s OK, you can always fake it. As long as you sing in rhythm and with confidence, anything’ll sound right. (And maybe your teammates might sing some backup to help get you back to the original lyrics.)
Practice, practice, practice. I wish there was an easier way, but muscle memory is a big part of being able to instinctively sing songs with a structure.
As for being unconfident in your singing voice, I’ve always felt (and most audiences will agree) that singing with emotion and joy and fun trumps everything else.
If you bring those elements to your song, you’ll sound wonderful.