Sunday, July 31, 2016

Episode 26: My Perfect Improv Team

That D!
Since the year started I've been really focusing on improv.  I started my internship at the Upright Citizens Brigade in February this year and finished on July 21st which is really fast according to EVERYONE but I really don't care.  Sure, I could have strung it out to 15 months as some people do but that's not my style.  You could say I "yes, anded" whenever someone asked me to cover for them...

I enjoyed every moment of it and I got to know a lot of different people very quickly. It's not like I'm going anywhere either because I hangout at the theater so often anyway.  Now I'll have time to focus my efforts on other projects while still having a bunch of credits to use for classes.

One of those efforts is the new team I'm on, That D.  We are now performing every LAST Tuesday of the month in Westwood at The Improv Space from 9PM - 10PM.  If you need updates of when our upcoming performances are make sure to check my website

Now on to the title of my blog, "My Perfect Improv Team".  That D comprises mostly of classmates from my UCB 401 class with Todd Fasen who performs with Convoy Thursday nights (highly recommended show).  We have been consistently practicing since March which is good but I feel like we haven't gotten past the point of being "just a bunch of people who perform improv together".  My perfect team wouldn't consist of the best improvisers but a group of friends who just want to get better together and are willing to hangout.  That's the most I can hope for in a team and I think this team will eventually get there.

For the past week I've been really focused on just thinking about the September Harold team auditions, at the UCB, which is kind of ridiculous.  For one, I'm not even eligible to audition yet!  It is all up to my current teacher the awesomely great fantastic magnificent majestic Will Hines (I hope somehow he's reading this).  Do I expect to make a team? No. But I want the experience of the audition and if I make a team WELL THAT WOULD BE AWESOME TOO.  

Today I also just finished Will Hines' "How to be the Greatest Improviser on Earth" and I can tell you he teaches the same way in class and if you're taking an improv classes I highly recommend it.  He talks a lot about not "fixing" the problem in scenes, embracing silence, and letting scenes come to you but what I liked most is how to not put so much weight on your performance and to look at the positives.  You get to read about the insecurities of a lot of REALLY funny people and it's refreshing to hear that everyone has their off nights too.

The book is extremely easy to read, he even has a list of pet peeves.  In a scene during my most recent class with him he had me change my characters name from Jenkin's to something that wasn't a "J" name.  Sure it wasn't an improper move but in his book he clearly states that "J" names are the most common improv names and now I know why he had me change my name.  But anyway, after reading the book it's made me realize to make sure to continue to have a life outside of improv so naturally immediately after finishing I signed up for the 2017 Napa Valley Marathon. Yeah, I'm an idiot.

Today I also went to watch Don't Think Twice, a film directed by Mike Birbiglia.  Here's the synopsis:
Turmoil strikes a New York improv troupe (Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia) when one member leaves to star in a television show.
 If I was on a successful improv team I'm sure that's how it would probably go down too.  I can honestly admit I cried during the film and it was early on. SEMI-SPOILER ALERT:  Chris Gethard's character is worried that his father, who was involved with an accident, will die thinking that he is a failure since he doesn't have a "successful" career.  3 years ago my dad underwent heart surgery and it was a scary time for my family. I could easily put my feet in that characters shoes and it's somewhere I hope I don't find myself in the near future again.  I respect both my parents and they support a lot of what I do which is why this part of the film had such an affect on me because I want my parents to know that they're making the right choice by supporting what I do.

Overall I enjoyed the film and if you do improv you'll probably catch stuff the normal eye wouldn't.  What I took away from the film is that you should continue to do what you love and what makes you happy. "Chill the fuck out." [Stated advice from Chris Gethard (Hines, 171)]

Hines, Will. How to be the Greatest Improviser on Earth. Upright Citizens Brigade, 2016. Print.

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