Fighting for Fun

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Fighting for Fun

Postby Ruby W. » August 15th, 2012, 10:16 am

Hey everyone! I have a question that has no magical answer, but I was hoping at least for some insight from more experienced improvisers.


My idea of a "fun" choice might be consistently different with another improviser's idea of a "fun" choice (going blue a lot, etc.). What are some tricks/strategies/mindsets to help me play with them without sacrificing my fun level and without blocking their offers??
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Postby sara farr » August 15th, 2012, 5:33 pm

I'm not very experienced, but I've found that I have more fun when I play with people who have a similar taste in what's "fun". You might try to selectively find people to play with. I think this is why ensembles work really well. Dave Razowsky says the only mistake in improv is casting. ;-)

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Postby ratliff » August 16th, 2012, 2:12 am

One index by which I measure my improv development is how much fun I'm able to have with someone who has a different idea of what's fun. Or, even better, the extent to which I can make him look like a genius. I'm sure one of you math people could work up an equation for this.

On the other hand, I agree with Sara that it's pretty great to play with people who share your sensibility.

The problem (for me, anyway) is that my highly developed sensibility sort of wrecks my improv. I'm so sure that my ideas are better than other people's that it's very hard for me to even pay lip service to yes-anding anybody else.

(Spoiler alert: my ideas are not better than other people's.)

So my goal now is to learn how to do what at least three teachers have told me to do: say yes to everything. Not because it's the only right choice (there is never only one right choice) but because I tend to be an all-or-nothing guy, and for the purposes of improv, an unconditional "yes" is a better choice than pretty much anything else at least 90 percent of the time. It's almost always better than a "yes, but," which is my default move.

I figure if I really commit to saying yes to everything for three or four more years, by the end of that time I will have figured out how to have fun in most situations, even those I never would have willingly gotten into. After that I'll give myself permission to do whatever I want to.

And in the meantime, I'll find people who play the way I like. Just because I SUPPORT everything onstage doesn't mean I have to LIKE everything onstage. I just have to find a way to love it even when I don't like it.

Your mileage may vary.
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Postby ratliff » August 16th, 2012, 2:26 am

On the other hand, I just noticed that you put "fun" in quotes, so it could be that I have no idea what you're talking about.
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Postby jillybee72 » August 16th, 2012, 10:43 am

In the midst of a scene that is not fun for you, you can find something else fun. Maybe I don't like the content of the scene, so I double-down on my character, or I double-down on using the where.

------------

But there is something else I want to say as a side-note:

This is something that would be really good to talk about in notes, if we're talking about something that is more than a matter of taste ("I don't like llamas") but rather a matter of appropriateness ("Rape is not funny"). Of course for unrehearsed shows like Maestro, then you might want to speak to the individual off-line one on one, because otherwise they will never know. I have a student right now who I call "Johnny Cup'O'AIDS" because he's almost always going to make a scene start that no one in their right mind would ever want to be a part of, so I start him over all the time. We can 'yes and' anything. We shouldn't necessarily have to.

I hesitate to even give this advice because I know sometimes we get crabby and there are scene choices we don't like not because they're inappropriate, but because they're not what we would've chosen. This attitude I cannot condone.
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Postby Ruby W. » August 16th, 2012, 10:54 am

ratliff wrote: I just have to find a way to love it even when I don't like it.


amazing. yes. thank you john.


And Jill - yeah, it's based more on appropriateness than merely content. But sometimes I get the feeling that I am more conservative when it comes to what is appropriate and tasteful, so I'm trying to be more open.

awesome stuff guys. Thank you!
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » August 16th, 2012, 11:32 am

also, just because you're "yes and"ing their offer doesn't mean you have to do so in the same style as them. if they come at you with something blue you don't feel comfortable with playing on the same level, take their offer in a direction you ARE comfortable with. then hopefully you both find that delightful middle ground and comedy and drama arise from the tension and conflict. of course, if they're just steam rolling over or blocking YOUR offers in return, then there are other issues to deal with. ;)

just because someone threw you a pitch doesn't mean you can't bake a cake with it (this is only true in improv. it is not an apt analogy in real life. do NOT attempt to bake cakes out of baseball pitches!).
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Postby trabka » August 16th, 2012, 11:34 am

Ruby W. wrote:And Jill - yeah, it's based more on appropriateness than merely content. But sometimes I get the feeling that I am more conservative when it comes to what is appropriate and tasteful, so I'm trying to be more open.

awesome stuff guys. Thank you!


It probably goes both ways. I would say if you're in an ongoing troupe with someone who has a different sense of appropriateness and it's a pervasive issue, it's probably time to assess whether it's time to have a troupe family meeting to talk about goals and whatnot.

If it's a one off jam type lottery mix'em ups situation, then rolling with it is probably the way to go. Afterwards, I'd take Jill's advice of approaching them one-on-one later. If it's someone you don't play with often I don't think it's unreasonable to let them know they pushed things past your comfort level, as you're probably not the only one it's happened to with that person.
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Postby SarahMarie » August 16th, 2012, 11:41 am

Love it!

This feels like one of those "Improv Mastery" things.

Is there a list of what it takes to become an improv master? Even a silly list?

The rule is 10,000 hours or 10 years to be considered a "master" at something, but I wonder if there are other common attributes shared by the improv masters that we could consider...
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » August 16th, 2012, 11:46 am

they all have a birthmark behind their left ear in the shape of an artichoke heart.
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Postby SarahMarie » August 16th, 2012, 11:49 am

When you cut them, they bleed acceptance, which is copper in color...

DAMNIT JORDAN! We're derailing Ruby's awesome thread and now she's not gonna have any fun with us!

WE ARE THE PROBLEM. :shock:
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Postby Chuy! » August 16th, 2012, 12:03 pm

Personally, I have an opinion about what I think is funny. You have an opinion about what you think is funny. I've always tried to be adaptable. What JT said about steamrollers is very true. Don't come into a scene pushing your agenda on others. (we are all guilty of this, it's part of learning) Not adapting to your partner causes you to make the same mistakes as someone who is steamrolling, but in reverse. I have found being objective about a scene leads to the most success. Don't give up on the possibility of success. Jill's comments about notes are spot on, like everything she does :). Anyhoo, don't be unwilling to stoop to what you consider to be lower levels of appropriateness (new word?). Don't be above anything...[/b]
Chicken Fried Steak and all that...
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Postby Ruby W. » August 16th, 2012, 1:18 pm

Chuy! wrote:Not adapting to your partner causes you to make the same mistakes as someone who is steamrolling, but in reverse. I have found being objective about a scene leads to the most success. Don't give up on the possibility of success.


love it!


(oh, and Chuy, some of my favorite shows are Your Dad's Friends and how blue we go. :) )
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Postby jillybee72 » August 16th, 2012, 1:42 pm

Sometimes it's good to have the sort of fun you don't normally have as an exercise in living in a different part of the human experience. One year I watched baseball with my friend and really rooted hard for the Twins for an entire season. I honestly don't give a fuck about baseball, but I feel broader for the experience of living in that space for one summer, learning stats, having opinions, following scores, etc.
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Postby Chuy! » August 16th, 2012, 1:53 pm

jillybee72 wrote:Sometimes it's good to have the sort of fun you don't normally have as an exercise in living in a different part of the human experience. One year I watched baseball with my friend and really rooted hard for the Twins for an entire season. I honestly don't give a fuck about baseball, but I feel broader for the experience of living in that space for one summer, learning stats, having opinions, following scores, etc.


Dammitt, Jill! You should write a book...
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