Monday, December 23, 2013

Strategies for Starting a Scene

Today I rehearsed with my Level 6 Magnet Team, so far we are unnamed but we had a subsititue coach, Sebastian Connelli who just simplified a few exercises that helped us out a lot and also kind of revealed a lot of things about improv to me. If you ever get a chance to utilize him as a coach, I'd definitely recommend it. 

He viewed our team and found that we were getting a little writey and also we were saying "no" a lot. 

It's a funny thing that as you get more advanced, you become more and more okay with saying no, to the point that you make scenes harder on yourself.

Here was a simple exercise he gave us, one person will initiate with anything at all and the other person just repeats what they say, to the point that they are just acknowledging the situation, that in itself is the game. With advanced players, we really hooked into this. It's actually much funner than the Yes And game which ends up beng very heady and almost more complicated. For example.

"It's cold today."

Response, "The temperature definitely has gone down since yesterday."

"I don't wanna go out in this weather."

Response,"You are hesitant my friend. There is a definite forecast of non-enjoyment out there,"

"I'm staying."

"You have decided, my friend. That is the way things will be."

It's almost inherently funny.

I test drived this in a 401 UCB class. I just repeated what the other person said. It was surprisingly easy and worked with all kinds of situations.

"Will that be all"

RE: That is the question isn't it? Is that an adequate meal, and if not am I willing to come back to the counter and reorder in the future.

Do you need more time? People are waiting.

RE: The pressure is definitely on.

Pretty awesome eh>? I've got a few more lessons from Sebastian but this was particularly fun. Especially when you have NO clue what the call back was.

So sir, you are converting this dungeon into a sushi bar. 

That's absolutely right. I am converting this dungeon into a sushi bar. That is what I want to do. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Peter McNerney and Magnet Level 06

I'm a fan of the Magnet Improv classes. It's a simple fact. Maybe it's because I started there with musical improv and regular improv, but I love the teachers there. Level 06 is the final class of the Magnet regular improv program. With that comes about 8 weeks with Peter McNerney of Trike, and 2 whole MONTHS of improv shows. That's kind of awesome!

The point of this class is performance study, but it also is preparing you for Magnet Megawatt, the improv teams of Magnet.

Peter McNerney is an amazing improviser and teacher. The way he explains improv is kind of from an improviser/audience member way. His examples are amazing and his teachings have a tendency to blow your mind. I wish I could go into more specifics but here is a few tidbits that I learned that I'd love to get down on this blog.

1) If you do premise based improv, and you find yourself in a scene with a stranger or a transaction. After that function has happened, you have this feeling like, "Why am I here?", the way to make that easier is to relate something to the other person. For example, "I'd like to buy this bird.", "Ugh, I got this bird for my wife three weeks ago, it's like a baby it's the worst thing that has happened to our relationship.".
      (My thoughts) Just that change up, what are the reactions the buyer can do. First they could delve into the relationship of the seller more "Really, are you guys still together.", second, they could relate even further "Well, I just bought this bird because the cat was killing our relationship and I left the door open and let it go.", third they could push to transact, "I just wanna buy it." in which case the game would be just thinking of more reasons to deny. The meat in that transaction is amazing.

2) Take a moment to figure out who you are, with a posture or a feel then CHECK in with the other person look at them see how they feel then use that to propel your scene. You're initiation is the little thing you feel about yourself. If you walk out cool or frustrated, then no matter what the person initiates or does that is gonna affect you.

3) It's about the relationship. Allow yourself to be affected. If you're mad, your not mad at the situation, you're mad at the person. You show 99 percent of emotion to people to get them to do something. If you love someone and you had a bad day at work, you come home and you probably will act relieved. You thank them. If you are frustrated with someone and you had a bad day at work, this will be your breaking point. You blame them. It's never about that day at work. But, that day at work affects you.

4) When you find yourself getting scared or weird, just take a breath and do something. It can be just a physical thing. Work out the environment. A lot of times people are throwing darts at a board, saying "Okay this didn't work, lemme add this." That almost says that what you had wasn't enough. 90 percent of the time what you have is enough if you what it is.

Admittedly these are kind of elaboration on Peter's musings but I think they are amazing. I've been reacting toward people more and it's more honest and less thinky. The class shows go up in early January, come on out to check it out.