Improv Is Easy!

(Then why is it so hard?)

Posts tagged Improvisation

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When asked by newer improvisors “What forms are there?”, this is my answer

chrisreblogs:

"The Harold, Montage, La Ronde, Deconstruction, Eventé, Eventé ala Roo Ro, Movie, Documentary, Monoscene, Microscene, Slacker, Kromf, Spokane, Onion, DThe Sleepover, Ladder, Flux Capacitor ie Tracers, Improvised Play, McManus, The Bat, French Harold, Harold Til Bored, Organic Harold, fwand-y Harold, Artificially Flavored Harold, Dearly Departed, The Fugue, The Wait, The Weight, The Way, Bookclub, Season Finale, Hot Tamale, The Burrito, Exploding Dinosaur Pillow Fight, The Chimichanga, Flautas, Whatever, Six Ferrets And A Can Of Worms, Knicker-Knock, and The Flibbity Fibbit.  Those are the basic ones.

Filed under improv improvisation comedy forms Harold evente

5 notes



Hi, first I’d like to say that I love your blog. I might be sucking up, or maybe I’m being sarcastic which is very hard to pick up on in writing. I’ll let you decide. Anywho, I was wondering what your thoughts are in how to go about starting an improv group in a city that has no schools or anything improv about it. Also if you don’t mind answering a second question, is moving to Chicago a good idea to pursue a career in improv. I’m 18 so any advice would be immensely helpful :)


STARTING AN IMPROV GROUP
Great question! And a toughie. In a city with nothing, huh?
I’d recommend starting out with an informal meeting of some friends — ask on Facebook, see who else has an interest in learning improv. (I figure people you know are slightly more reliable than strangers on Craigslist, although that’s always an option, as well as checking in with any local theaters or performance spaces.)
Schedule a time to practice and play games and do what is technically called “goofing around.” If it’s fun (and always keep it fun), people will keep doing it.
Sooner or later, you might want to get some outside coaching or direction. Maybe hire someone from the closest improv scene (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dirty South, Phoenix, Austin, etc.) to lead a workshop?
If that’s not possible, I know some coaches use Skype, which is worth trying, and there are always books to read — I’d recommend Mick Napier’s Improvise: Scene From the Inside Out.
From there, if/when you want to perform, I’d look up any performance venues in the city and see if you can get a slot. Everyone should invite all their friends.
Good luck! It’s exciting, you’re living on the frontier.
MOVING TO CHICAGO
When you write “to pursue a career in improv,” I do have to wonder… there aren’t many “careers” in improv. Like any art, it’s a passion, but one that won’t reliably pay the bills.
If you want to pursue a passion of improv, then sure, Chicago’s a great city to move to (as are the others mentioned above).
This is a big life decision, though, with a lot of other factors to consider — college (there are lots of schools with established troupes), work, weather (Chicago gets COLD), proximity to family and friends.
If you can, visit Chicago, take an improv intensive if possible, and see if it feels like a good fit for where you are in your life right now.
Good luck!
Ask improv-is-easy a question!

Hi, first I’d like to say that I love your blog. I might be sucking up, or maybe I’m being sarcastic which is very hard to pick up on in writing. I’ll let you decide. Anywho, I was wondering what your thoughts are in how to go about starting an improv group in a city that has no schools or anything improv about it. Also if you don’t mind answering a second question, is moving to Chicago a good idea to pursue a career in improv. I’m 18 so any advice would be immensely helpful :)

STARTING AN IMPROV GROUP

Great question! And a toughie. In a city with nothing, huh?

I’d recommend starting out with an informal meeting of some friends — ask on Facebook, see who else has an interest in learning improv. (I figure people you know are slightly more reliable than strangers on Craigslist, although that’s always an option, as well as checking in with any local theaters or performance spaces.)

Schedule a time to practice and play games and do what is technically called “goofing around.” If it’s fun (and always keep it fun), people will keep doing it.

Sooner or later, you might want to get some outside coaching or direction. Maybe hire someone from the closest improv scene (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dirty South, Phoenix, Austin, etc.) to lead a workshop?

If that’s not possible, I know some coaches use Skype, which is worth trying, and there are always books to read — I’d recommend Mick Napier’s Improvise: Scene From the Inside Out.

From there, if/when you want to perform, I’d look up any performance venues in the city and see if you can get a slot. Everyone should invite all their friends.

Good luck! It’s exciting, you’re living on the frontier.

MOVING TO CHICAGO

When you write “to pursue a career in improv,” I do have to wonder… there aren’t many “careers” in improv. Like any art, it’s a passion, but one that won’t reliably pay the bills.

If you want to pursue a passion of improv, then sure, Chicago’s a great city to move to (as are the others mentioned above).

This is a big life decision, though, with a lot of other factors to consider — college (there are lots of schools with established troupes), work, weather (Chicago gets COLD), proximity to family and friends.

If you can, visit Chicago, take an improv intensive if possible, and see if it feels like a good fit for where you are in your life right now.

Good luck!

Ask improv-is-easy a question!

Filed under improv improvisation comedy Chicago frontier new teams

6 notes


So. I get that I shouldn’t be in my head, because thinking too hard leads to overthinking and that’s bad for the scene. On the other hand, I have to be in my head a little to spot the game or fix a floundering scene or think about what missing parts of platform I still need to establish. How do you balance those? How do you stay out of the thinking part of your head while being at least a little in the analyzing part?

Oh, boy… this is a toughie.
"There is no good or bad but thinking makes it so," says Shakespeare, and yet humans are thinking creatures who love to overthink it. Meanwhile, the scene (and life) are passing us by.
A lot of it is muscle memory, I believe. The more you improvise, the more you learn to recognize and adapt to what’s going on. 
It’s like typing or playing a musical instrument. When you’re first learning, you devote all of your brain power and focus, but after years of practice (yes, years), you can do it instantaneously without thinking. 
Otherwise, I’d say the place to really think is on the backline, where you can fully analyze a scene. When you’re in the scene you’ve got to be IN it — act/react/heighten. I recommend focusing on that, and with experience your brain will be in the moment and still have analytical flashes like “Ah! There’s the game.”
I wish there was a quick and easy cure, but I think the best bet is practice and experience. Commit on the front line, analyze on the back, and eventually the two will meet.
I hope this helps!
(Does anyone have any tips?)
Ask improv-is-easy a question!

So. I get that I shouldn’t be in my head, because thinking too hard leads to overthinking and that’s bad for the scene. On the other hand, I have to be in my head a little to spot the game or fix a floundering scene or think about what missing parts of platform I still need to establish. How do you balance those? How do you stay out of the thinking part of your head while being at least a little in the analyzing part?

Oh, boy… this is a toughie.

"There is no good or bad but thinking makes it so," says Shakespeare, and yet humans are thinking creatures who love to overthink it. Meanwhile, the scene (and life) are passing us by.

A lot of it is muscle memory, I believe. The more you improvise, the more you learn to recognize and adapt to what’s going on. 

It’s like typing or playing a musical instrument. When you’re first learning, you devote all of your brain power and focus, but after years of practice (yes, years), you can do it instantaneously without thinking. 

Otherwise, I’d say the place to really think is on the backline, where you can fully analyze a scene. When you’re in the scene you’ve got to be IN it — act/react/heighten. I recommend focusing on that, and with experience your brain will be in the moment and still have analytical flashes like “Ah! There’s the game.”

I wish there was a quick and easy cure, but I think the best bet is practice and experience. Commit on the front line, analyze on the back, and eventually the two will meet.

I hope this helps!

(Does anyone have any tips?)

Ask improv-is-easy a question!

Filed under improv improvisation comedy overthinking stress

7 notes

Themed Jams at QSIC!

larhunter:

Hey guys,

As some of you may know, my team, SIster Sex Wolf, performs weekly at the Queens Secret Improv Club in LIC. At the end of the night, QSIC hosts a jam and they have just started attaching themes to those jams—something that I think is really cool. So, I wanted you guys to know what types of jams are coming up:

9/6
Black Out Jam (scenes in the dark)

9/13
Large Group Mix’em Up

9/20
2 & 3 Person Scene Jam

I’m really excited about these. They’re a good opportunity to flex muscles you might not be able to flex at a typical jam. I hope you’ll come out!

Visit the QSIC fbook page for more info, and don’t forget to come see Sister Sex Wolf when we go up this Friday at 8pm!

Filed under improv improvisation comedy jam jams QSIC NYC

8 notes

Improv is Magic

My friend Justin (@jblite on twitter) and I often talk about the nature of magic, and he surprised me the other day with this interesting email:

Here’s a random thought I had:  Magic IS Improv

  1. There’s an offering (sometimes literally) and an acceptance
  2. There ARE rules, but the more proficient you get, the more you can skirt/refute/act contrary to and still succeed
  3. You DO get better w/ practice.  Failure pushes to achieve better than success does in many cases
  4. Your teachers always seem omnipotent
  5. When it works, IT WORKS
  6. Some users are more well-rounded than others. Some seem to specialize/focus in certain areas (openings/necromancy)

Magic IS improv. It’s very interesting. I’ve always defined magic as using one’s imagination/willpower to alter reality, and that’s sort of what we do when we’re improvising, only it’s collectively.

Magic is improv. Improv is magic.

Filed under improv improvisation comedy magic wizardry