Longterm goals as an improviser?

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Postby valetoile » March 8th, 2012, 8:00 pm

Hm! Good question. I don't think I had any goals when I started, other than to to improv. Now I have some short term goals:
-Continue to travel with pgraph, hopefully get to the point where we can reliably break even or make money by traveling.
-Continue to develop new formats with pgraph and push ourselves in new directions
-direct my first mainstage show (with Jon Bolden)- the Woody Allen show this summer at the Hideout
-write more sketch, and debut my new sketch duo (with Amy Gentry) next week at No Shame. Watch out world, here comes Rutger Hauer. That is our name.
-Do productions at other theatres, see more shows at other theatres
-Start a duo group with someone that I don't normally get to play with.
Parallelogramophonographpargonohpomargolellarap: It's a palindrome!
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Postby Terry » March 8th, 2012, 11:33 pm

Long-term goal: I'd like to get to a point where I don't feel sick to my stomach and hate myself and want to throw up before I get on stage in front of a crowd. Then I think I'd be happier playing shows more.

In the meantime I want to keep taking classes and electives. I intend on being a career improv student as long as I can afford the tuition. I LOVE classes and electives. You all are so much fun to play with/learn from.

So yeah, here for the ride. This ride is 100x more incredible than I ever imagined it could be.
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Postby Katherine » March 16th, 2012, 12:57 am

[quote="Terry"]Long-term goal: I'd like to get to a point where I don't feel sick to my stomach and hate myself and want to throw up before I get on stage in front of a crowd. Then I think I'd be happier playing shows more.

[/quote]

Yeah, that nervous feeling is a tough one. Your comment made me think about what makes me nervous, and what helps me relax on stage.

I know a lot of new people don't want friends in the audience, and I definitely used to feel that way. Now though, I really hope that I have friends in the audience when I'm in a show. Sure, improvisors might watch with a more critical eye than other audience members, but that means they also know that you are a new improvisor and that you're learning. They seem more willing to applaud the effort and joyfully celebrate the successes. Over all, having friends, and particularly other friends from the improv community, generally means the audience is cheering for you, that they're on your side. Another thing that has helped my nervousness subside is remembering a conversation I had with Kayla wherein she observed that "no one's going to kick you out of improv." What a great point that was!
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Postby Katherine » March 16th, 2012, 1:19 am

My improv goals are:
To make more time for improv, and to sign up more often for shows
To be in a troupe with friends
To learn to be comfortable with new friends faster. I'm so comfortable on stage with people I know well, but I can get pretty worried about performing with people I don't know. Along this same line, I can definitely get in my head when meeting other imps before a show (Hmm... I've introduced myself to So-and-so a few times, but she doesn't seem to remember me at all. Should I say hi again? What can I say to So-and-so?), so my tactic can be to get pretty quiet and reserved. I think this might come across as aloof, and that concerns me.
To remembered that there's no reason why I'm more or less worthy of giving improv a shot than anyone else, and to have slightly thicker skin and be able to yell "I FAILED!" with a little more joy and less embarrasment.
To try out for more shows (There are a few in particular that I'd love to be in, but it feels strange to name them here for fear of jinxing myself.)
To learn more about musical improv

On a slightly different front, at work, I'd like to be able to do more drama in the classroom than I currently can, and I'd like to incorporate improv into that process.
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Postby Spots » March 16th, 2012, 1:32 am

Katherine wrote:
Terry wrote:Long-term goal: I'd like to get to a point where I don't feel sick to my stomach and hate myself and want to throw up before I get on stage in front of a crowd. Then I think I'd be happier playing shows more.


Yeah, that nervous feeling is a tough one. Your comment made me think about what makes me nervous, and what helps me relax on stage.

Here's what I've learned about those feelings of apprehension. If you only perform once a week, you simply perpetuate that apprehension. You play that one time & basically reset your fears so that you feel apprehensive again & again. Every time you play.

Once you start performing twice or three times a week you stop thinking those nagging thoughts and you stop doubting your abilities.

It's about momentum. Your apprehension is a thin membrane that you can bust through.

The trick is that you want to reward yourself for playing and stay focused on your next performance. When you increase your frequency of stagetime you simply remove your excuses for the apprehension: "Why would I feel nervous now? I just did this two days ago. My show on Friday is a much bigger deal than tonight. Dude I've got this."

It's kinda like the rich get richer & the poor get poorer. You have to fight for stagetime so that you can gain that momentum. If you leave improv for a month, those same feelings will probably creep back in.

It's the momentum that gives you the confidence. Sit in during more classes. Sign up for more jams and lotteries. Form a troupe and rehearse weekly. Advocate yourself & push push push.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » March 16th, 2012, 8:52 am

personally, i worry if i DON'T feel a little nervous right before a show. like, "i'm not scared...crap, what's wrong???" i don't think it's a matter of eliminating nervousness so much as using it. fear as fuel. the notion that i could catch fire and die at any moment, and there's a bloodthirsty ravenous pack of animals waiting for that to happen (read: the audience) makes me want to defy probability and do it anyway. adrenaline, baby. 8) but everyone's mileage varies. i certainly wouldn't recommend that perspective to most, especially newer performers. ;)
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Postby B. Tribe » March 16th, 2012, 12:47 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:personally, i worry if i DON'T feel a little nervous right before a show. like, "i'm not scared...crap, what's wrong???"


I rarely get nervous before a show. I think the first couple LNI's had me but that was more about fucking up the format and giving a bad show.

My goals are to do a million things without focus until someone else points me in a direction because I can't do it myself and then get paid. Optimally, I'd be an artistic director at a 'regular' theatre. Improv is a blast but I miss staged drama and comedy.

I'm getting close to my original improv goal of being able to do a scene/show with anybody anywhere and not have it suck. My best tactic is to not fight no matter what the other person throws at me. Not to generalize, but newer imps love to fight!
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Postby Terry » March 16th, 2012, 1:14 pm

Here's what I've learned about those feelings of apprehension. If you only perform once a week, you simply perpetuate that apprehension. You play that one time & basically reset your fears so that you feel apprehensive again & again. Every time you play.


Dammit, Spot! Where were you the last year and some change?! That's great insight.

Now I'm off stage for maternity leave and it's going to be crazy trying to get back into it.

I mean, I'm gonna. Can't stop me. But it's going to be tough on the nerves. I just know it.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » March 16th, 2012, 1:58 pm

B. Tribe wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:personally, i worry if i DON'T feel a little nervous right before a show. like, "i'm not scared...crap, what's wrong???"


I rarely get nervous before a show. I think the first couple LNI's had me but that was more about fucking up the format and giving a bad show.


i always get nervous RIGHT before i'm about to go onstage, scripted or improv. still trying to find a way to consistently bring and maintain that kind of energy to film work. ;)
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Postby Spots » March 16th, 2012, 4:10 pm

Jordan - Butterflies in the stomach is a whole other sensation.

I'm referring to longterm self doubt about playing. Some people have it. It's a risk vs. reward dynamic that effects a player's confidence. The perceived risk becomes too great in the player's head that it outweighs the reward of playing.

It's a more cerebral apprehension. Not nerves, although nerves certainly make it worse. Perhaps some others can chime in about breaking through. There are a few experienced players who refer to it every now & then.
Last edited by Spots on March 16th, 2012, 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » March 16th, 2012, 4:22 pm

yeah, i'm just saying maybe don't get rid of it entirely. find a way to use it, if you can. sublimate it, from a handicap into a weapon. use every part of the buffalo, yeah? ;)
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Postby Spots » March 16th, 2012, 4:32 pm

Maybe. The problem is that it steals your focus. It's kind of a Catch-22.

There are people who if I perform for - I never have fulfilling scenes. Never. That's because I perceive an added risk or a potential reward playing in front of them. I don't have fulfilling scenes because my focus is drawn to where it shouldn't be. Their approval.

I imagine many students feel this way when the theater owner is in the room. Or a big name like Mick Napier. The student ends up with decent scenes but not scenes where they feel present in the moment.

I think you have to push past it & find the fun (for you) in every moment.
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Postby The Drewd » March 16th, 2012, 5:06 pm

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBcflBBGKhE[/youtube]
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Postby Brad Hawkins » March 16th, 2012, 5:16 pm

Spots wrote:There are people who if I perform for - I never have fulfilling scenes. Never. That's because I perceive an added risk or a potential reward playing in front of them. I don't have fulfilling scenes because my focus is drawn to where it shouldn't be. Their approval.


I have the same issue, and can think of several people that I do that for. Sometimes I feel it pushes my performance to a better level. Sometimes the nervousness distracts me and drags me down. I'd rather get rid of it.
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Postby Spots » March 16th, 2012, 5:54 pm

Terry wrote:Dammit, Spot! Where were you the last year and some change?! That's great insight. Now I'm off stage for maternity leave and it's going to be crazy trying to get back into it.


You got this! It will never be bigger than you! Just grind away at it.

Brad Hawkins wrote:Sometimes the nervousness distracts me and drags me down. I'd rather get rid of it.


You and me both. A trick might be to come up with an individual challenge for the night. Or at least something to steal the focus away from your desire for approval. Give yourself an objective.

Unfortunately I set out to do this Wednesday night and missed the target. My goal was to be more playful. I found that I was able to concentrate on physical pattern work and not much else. Playful, but I didn't verbalize nearly enough because I was too polite, lacking momentum, & wanton for approval. I gave great support though!
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