my ADD makes it such that i rarely take a project from start to finish. especially one specific one by itself from start to finish. i wanted to get some new posts up on the blog, and often times to get things rolling, i’ll go back to old drafts. normally, there are drafts that i knew where i was going with something and can instantly pick back up and take over. i’m even struggling to find some of those right now.
however, i found this one and at least it does talk about improvisation some. i think where i was going was probably some specific story about one of the children i was seeing regularly at the office where i work. how i employ my improvisation skills by just saying “yes” to these kids. not by being overly permissive, but in the world of their imaginations and stuff. just going with the flow.
i wrote it back in the beginning of april, and i believe it was called “you never know when you’ll need a yes.” enjoy 1/2 of a post.
so, there’s a lot of things i struggle with and lament about on this blog. but there are a lot of gifts i’ve been given that i take for granted. not being afraid to speak in public (i get nervous sometimes, but i’m not afraid), having a flair for writing, being able to express things in words that other people feel but don’t really talk about, not being scared to get up on stage (see: speaking in public). i have a way with words and being outgoing and all of that. people say i’m “funny,” whatever that means. but, all of these things are things that seem to be desired by others and for which others seem to like me.
anyhow, i believe that most things in life can be studied or learned. of course, everyone doesn’t have natural talent or ability in all things, but i believe with practice, anyone can get decently good at anything — or at least a hell of a lot better at it than they used to be. i am not a good basketball player, but i bet if i started trying to throw free throws for a 1/2 hour every day for a month and then two months, and did it for a year, i’d be a pretty decent free throw shot by the end of the year. practice makes decent, if one keeps up at it.
so, the thing that a lot of people don’t really understand about improVISation, is that there are some ‘rules’ or ‘guidelines’ to follow. while everything you see is definitely happening live, on stage, for the first time, not rehearsed, not written before hand, not decided on by the players — there ARE some basic things than any good improVISer knows before they start playing. some of these are so ridiculously basic, i hesitate to talk about them, but i’m going to pretend you know nothing. besides, this is leading up to my *real* story.
the first rule in improv is that you always say “yes…” AND, you add something to the scene. but if nothing else, you agree. you never negate what is going on. if your partner/other people on stage set up that you’re in the desert, you don’t come on talking about a tropical jungle because YOU decided beforehand that you had a REALLY great idea for a scene in the jungle with a hilarious dude who was lost, etc. you go with the desert flow. even if you think it’s the stupidest idea in the world. in fact, in that instant, you shift your perspective, nod your head and decide it’s the greatest idea in the world and how can you be of service to this desert scene? how can you insure that everyone in the scene is taken care of?
that’s rule number two. you support and take care of people on stage. if someone’s struggling for a line or they’re looking lost or they are trying to name something, you help them out. you support them. you add to the scene. you give them gifts. you name specifics. you don’t, god forbid, keep asking questions that put them on the spot.
some anti-rules … don’t go for “the joke.” the easy out. the pun. the instant laugh. the ‘hey, look at me, aren’t i so fucking clever and funny…” kids are like big improv yes and ….