- “We don’t do short form, we do long form. It’s much more sophisticated and interesting.”
- “Improv? I don’t do improv comedy. I do improvisational theater!”
- “You know how they are so obsessed with game? Well we just follow our gut and let what’s funny take care of itself.”
Odds are, if you are an improvisor, you have said something like this when describing your work. You might even have some statement like this in the description of your group or show, maybe even your personal bio. And maybe you have heard someone else say something similar, contrasting what they do with what you do and casting your work in a negative light. Chances are you have felt that defensive lurch in your belly, a wave of anger as you think of things to say in response, to put them in their place.
Me? I’ve been on both sides of this. Continue reading “How to excel at scenework and influence improvisors – part 3”
My intent with this series of posts was to go through all the principles from Dale Carnegie‘s book and discuss how each one might apply to the improv world. But as I have been thinking about this topic, I have been tempted to wander down a different path. I may still return to the original plan, but I don’t think I’ll be able to until I’ve written about this.
I’ve been thinking of my own interactions with people over the years, where I did well and where I came up short. I feel like there are some situations and stories I’d like to share that might help me in my future interactions in the theatre and comedy worlds. One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is status.
Pay less attention to status
I remember when I was in Chicago, I was intensely aware of status within the improv world. I was a part of many conversations that likened the ImprovOlympic subculture to a second high school. The new students were the freshman. Continue reading “How to excel at scenework and influence improvisors – part 2”
I recently read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie for the first time. It’s the kind of book that I’ve avoided most of my life. Self help books, especially ones with a strong slant towards the business world, usually don’t excite me. However, it had been recommended to me by a couple of people, and I realized that it might be of some use for me.
As I read the book, I wondered about how it might apply to the life of improvisation. On one level, it’s pretty straight forward. The way you build relationships in the worlds of theater and comedy are not that different from the business world. The advice translates pretty directly to how you should treat your fellow improvisors off stage. The advice seems especially well suited for sales, and while many of us in the theatre world loath selling ourselves, it is something that definitely helps us be successful.
Continue reading “How to excel at scenework and influence improvisors – part 1”