Hi ActorActioneers all!
Howzit going? Are you working at your craft? Are you looking ahead to better, busier times? Are you using the present time productively?
OK – Today I feel like nattering about achieving new dimensions to your acting. I’m going to chat about the benefits of IMPROVISING. And tell you about our IMPROV INTENSIVE on Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th of March, 9.00 to 13.00 both days. (Use ‘JUSTDOIT’ as a coupon during checkout to receive a 20% discount! There are limited coupons so do not miss out! )
I’m going to be writing metaphorically, and I’m sure you’ll get my meaning! I’ll also have a few short pitstops for you to get Take-Aways!
TAKE-AWAY – “Metaphorical” means symbolic, an image or thread that runs through writing, and is not strictly literal, or factual, but a bit more imaginative. And that’s what acting is about – using your powers of visualization and imagination.
IMPROV is like a Road Trip – an adventure, an exploration of as yet unchartered territory. Scary new places and spaces. But if we follow the Rules of the Road we will travel safely to and through these unknown areas. And we’ll discover unexpected new scenes and unanticipated, surprising scenery on the way.
TAKE-AWAY – Improv is an adventure that can help you to understand a script, a situation, a character – and search for a meaning from the writer, from your character – and indeed, from yourself.
So open your Acting Guide – your “Roadmap”, get your heads into ”Road Trip” gear, fasten your safety belts and let’s start an imaginative trip to The Land of Improv!
TAKE-AWAY – Do you enjoy travelling? Do you enjoy seeing new aspects, angles and exciting details you haven’t seen before? Well, Improvisation gives you that sort of insight into your CREATIVE self. You find yourself discovering new and original thoughts and ideas in your work.
Herewith some Helpful Hints and Top Tips to prepare you for our Weekend Improv Intensive.
- The “YES … And…” Rule. This is about moving forward, and adding to the Improv story, or situation constructively.
- TAKE-AWAY – There is a little lesson in Improv that I have always called “The 3 A’s Rule” The 3 A’s are “Accept”, “Assimilate”, and “Add to the Action”. Accept what your improv partner has offered you, assimilate or absorb it into the situation and your character, and then add what you’ve just learned to push the story forward.
- Follow the broken white lines, one by one, which lead you closer to where you’re going. Create the unbroken Story line.
- TAKE-AWAY – A road, a Highway has sometimes broken, sometimes unbroken white lines. These lines guide you. Use them in Improv to keep following in the same direction – forward – and know that the story or character you are creating is moving to it’s final goal.
- We’re not racing to “get there first!” Improv is not a competition or an ego-driven contest. A race. It’s rather about cooperation and collaboration. A driver and a navigator working together.
- TAKE-AWAY – Working together and in sync is important in Improv. It simply doesn’t work if someone decides to dominate too strongly. Working together and in tune with each other always seems to achieve the best results.
- Feel each other’s intentions, steer in one direction, make your minds meet. “I’ll follow my leader” or “I’ll lead, you follow.” “Let’s make this journey together.”
- TAKE-AWAY – You are all stars because you are all talented. But there is nothing more exciting than a team or an ensemble of stars working in harmony and consideration for each other, to produce a new and meaningful piece of work. Work together, guys!
- Listen, react, respond as one. Remember, you’re going to the same place.
- TAKE-AWAY – As I said, listening and feeding mutually off each other as you create makes for a good, strong union between you.
- Avoid getting caught in roadblocks, and don’t drive into Dead Ends, Cul de Sacs, potholes. In other words keep your eyes on the road ahead and know clearly where you want to end up.
- TAKE-AWAY – Often Improv can be more careful, deliberate and thought-through than emotional, uncontrolled and highly dramatic. It depends what the group is trying to gain through the Improv. Know what you’re looking for, and think of the best way to grow the depth and meaning of the work. Don’t block the work with input that has nowhere to go, or is a “conversation-stopper.”
- Don’t play the bad cop who steps out into the Highway and stops the traffic at a Roadblock. Don’t obstruct the route – rather go with the flow. Don’t stop the plot.
- TAKE-AWAY – Don’t be the difficult, individual, attention-seeking bugger who wants to steer the whole Improv his way, just to be different and “alternative”. Once you’ve allowed your ego to mess up an Improv that was going well with a group you will leave them disgruntled, and you won’t be the most popular acting-ou in the group!
- Stay alert and awake on the road – be aware of anything that might steer you off course, and make sure you avoid it.
- TAKE-AWAY – Improv it is not just for the jol (tho’ it can be too!) It is to improve the texture, intensity and substance of the set script you might be working towards perfecting.
- Don’t reverse or go backwards. Look forward at the road, keep alert, drive in “the now.” And keep your sense of direction.
- TAKE-AWAY – Keep your intentions, or reasons for improvising clear. Why are you doing it? Either to improve the piece you’re working on, make a play, extend prose into drama, do an adaptation – or just for good, original relaxed fun.
- Do you plan a route, or simply follow where the road leads you?
- TAKE-AWAY – As long as you are sure of what you finally want – either a scripted piece, or a spontaneous piece of performance art, or a dance/mixed genre piece – or whatever – you can be loose about it – but someone – probably the writer and director must be clear about what the final outcome should be.
- On a road map there are many routes and many ways to reach your destination. Do you take the long way round? The scenic route? The backroads?
- TAKE-AWAY – This often depends on how much rehearsal time you have, whether it is a particularly complicated script or concept, and sometimes how far you want to separate the final product from the original material.
- And if you take the short cut – is the journey as satisfying? Might you hit bumpy gravel roads, narrow, dangerous mountain passes, drifts, loose shifting sands? Too hard for this vehicle to negotiate?
- I’m usually a believer in NO SHORT CUTS!! Finding the truth and the current topicality and relevance of any piece for now can sometimes be quite a bumpy ride, but to succeed in a hard task can be more of an achievement and more rewarding than taking the easy way out!
- And hey, bus driver, taxi, chauffeur, take responsibility too! You are carrying precious cargo! Look after them while they take their first trip. Teach and explain where you are taking them!
- TAKE-AWAY: Who is this “bus driver, taxi?? The director, lecturer, teacher, who should guide the actors through a secure and safe experience, by preparing the path we’re taking, and knowing where the Improv is going.
So why did we take this journey? To get a broader, deeper, more comprehensive and educated look at the complex Theatre/Film/TV world we live in, or create for our characters, and our audiences too!
In my experience if we’ve been brave and intrepid travellers, but still following the set of Improv Rules, we’ll be the richer for our journey when we reach our final destination – an engaging and engrossing Performance.
So keep your car shiny, keep your battery charged, make sure you service your vehicle regularly, prepare for a long-distance haul, and be ready for our Voyage of Discovery to that fascinating Land of Improvisation.
I’d really love to see you at our Improv Intensive!!
Lotsa love xx