Signed up for an intensive! Yay! Eek!

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Signed up for an intensive! Yay! Eek!

Postby booksherpa » May 31st, 2013, 10:11 pm

So, the stars aligned and I signed up for an improv intensive. 3 weeks. In New York City. I live in suburban New Jersey, and I've pretty much only studied with a local troupe, and I've got their session of Improv Foundations under my belt (all 5 times I've taken it) and a short-term La Ronde project with them and I'm GOING TO STUDY IMPROV FOR THREE WEEKS. In, did I mention, New York City? With professional improvisors?

I was facing an improv drought this summer - my latest Foundations session is about to end, the short term La Ronde project just ended, and after my class show at the end of June, I had no idea when I'd next get to do any improv with anyone. And now....

I'm so excited and so completely terrified. All my self-doubt demons are screaming at me, but I clicked "submit payment" before they could talk me out of it.

But I have no idea what to expect. Who signs up for summer intensives? People with no experience? People with some or lots? People who want to do this professionally? Am I likely to be more or less experienced than my classmates? Am I completely insane?

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that I'm actually DOING this.

And I also have to figure out buses. If I think about the sheer quantity of things outside my comfort zone this will involve, I may implode.
Stories Without Pages: http://storieswithoutpages.com/blog/ Mostly introspection about improv
Currently: Starting an all-female longform troupe, joined a short form troupe, setting new goals
NJ Improv: http://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyImprov
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Re: Signed up for an intensive! Yay! Eek!

Postby valetoile » June 1st, 2013, 1:03 am

That's awesome! I think intensives get a nice mix of people- some have been doing it for several years and want a different perspective or intense immersion, some people start their improv journey in an intensive, some people are just there for fun. Probably most will have some improv experience and just want more, so you'll be in good company. How exciting! Have fun!
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Re: Signed up for an intensive! Yay! Eek!

Postby Spots » June 22nd, 2013, 2:52 pm

You mentioned the end of June. So it's coming up?

Instensives are great.

But I have no idea what to expect. Who signs up for summer intensives? People with no experience? People with some or lots? People who want to do this professionally? Am I likely to be more or less experienced than my classmates? Am I completely insane?


Worst case scenario, there will be a few people in your group who mess with your sense of control.


But that's actually also the best case scenario. Here's why. The sooner you learn how to face "not having control" in an improv setting -- the quicker you learn ninja moves which allow you to trust your own abilities.


Playing with people you trust is great. But it can make you complacent. Embrace the fear and realize it's doing you a world of good to build up these experiences. These ones will inform your next experiences. Have fun at your intensive!
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Re: Signed up for an intensive! Yay! Eek!

Postby booksherpa » June 22nd, 2013, 9:02 pm

Spots wrote:You mentioned the end of June. So it's coming up?


The end of June was when I knew my (probable) final chance to do some improv until the intensive was going to be. That was my latest class show, which was last night, and we kicked ass! :)

I've taken the 101 level with this troupe 5 times, because they don't have enough students who are interested and/or experienced enough to offer any other levels (yet). Also getting to NYC for classes during the school year is difficult, to say the least. So, 101 5 times because I didn't really have much else in the way of opportunities to do improv. It worked out - I figured that I would be working on turning my basic scenework skills into muscle memory, and getting to play with a variety of people. Really, getting to play AT ALL.

I've had the same teacher for 4 classes. A month or so ago, over beers one night, I asked him if I could maybe host a couple of the games at the student show. I wanted to have that experience in my toolkit. He said yes, but heightened. :) He offered me the chance to host the whole student show! I said yes, hesitantly.

Let me tell ya, after not being too nervous for the last couple of student shows, I was nervous for this one! But it went great! I introduced and explained all the games, got the audience suggestions, and played in 3 games. I even finally did gibberish on stage. I still suck at it, but I had a good conversation with my teacher about gibberish theory after. :) It felt wonderful to be hosting, pretty natural. I really enjoyed it. Plus, I got to pitch the upcoming class during the student show AND thank my teacher on behalf of the class.

Anyway, long answer to explain that no, the intensive is not quite coming yet. :) It starts August 5th at the Magnet, and runs 3 weeks/3 levels.

Playing with people you trust is great. But it can make you complacent. Embrace the fear and realize it's doing you a world of good to build up these experiences. These ones will inform your next experiences.


You hit the nail on the head. I'd gotten pretty comfortable with my teacher, my various classmates, the structure - everything was familiar. At first, I needed that. It's taken me a long time to even trust myself in improv, and I'm still working on it. Asking to host was definitely embracing the fear, and I think it made me a better performer in the games as well last night. I was not at all in my head, just living in the moment. Well, except for gibberish. I've realized that I thrive best when thrown into the deep end. I need to keep challenging myself.

I joked with my teacher that I'm not allowed to take 101 again with them, and he laughed, but also told me, basically, "I don't have more to teach you. You're ready. I couldn't be happier that you're doing the intensive. It's the right next step for you. Keep at it."

I'm still working on forming a troupe/practice group, and have some likely members from the recent class who show great promise, plus a more experienced friend. All female, which should be a fun and interesting dynamic. I've got folks at my church who want to get together monthly to do some improv and I've led a session of that.

People ask me what I'm going to do with my improv. I don't know the answer to that. All I know is that I do improv because I can't imagine NOT doing improv.
Stories Without Pages: http://storieswithoutpages.com/blog/ Mostly introspection about improv
Currently: Starting an all-female longform troupe, joined a short form troupe, setting new goals
NJ Improv: http://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyImprov
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Re: Signed up for an intensive! Yay! Eek!

Postby valetoile » June 22nd, 2013, 10:56 pm

Aw, congratulations on hosting the show! Sounds like it went great. Can't wait to hear all about your intensive experience!
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Re: Signed up for an intensive! Yay! Eek!

Postby booksherpa » June 23rd, 2013, 7:19 pm

Thanks! I'm hoping to blog about the intensive, assuming I can get Wordpress to behave. Grrr!

It's funny that the stuff that gives me angst and yet pushes me forward is just improv writ large: Say yes! Heighten! Commit! I can do that stuff in scenes, but saying yes to improv originally was scary, heightening (auditioning for a troupe, doing a La Ronde, hosting, taking the intensive) was/is scary, committing to pushing myself hard is scary.

And yet.

Embrace the fear.

Incidentally, I appreciate y'all letting me ramble on about my improv journey. I'm still in the newbie/less than 2 years in/improv is AWESOME!/talk about improv all the time stage. :)
Stories Without Pages: http://storieswithoutpages.com/blog/ Mostly introspection about improv
Currently: Starting an all-female longform troupe, joined a short form troupe, setting new goals
NJ Improv: http://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyImprov
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Re: Signed up for an intensive! Yay! Eek!

Postby Spots » June 25th, 2013, 8:04 pm

booksherpa wrote:People ask me what I'm going to do with my improv. I don't know the answer to that. All I know is that I do improv because I can't imagine NOT doing improv.



Even the mainstage casts in LA, Chicago, and New York struggle with this question. Improv can seen as a stepping stone to a career perhaps. But honestly the best answer I've found for "What are you going to do with improv?" is this:


I'm going to do exactly what I am already doing. Enjoy the process. You should enjoy the process whether you are a doctor, chef, writer, actor, lawyer, teacher-- anything which a human does day after day. You should enjoy the process. Otherwise you shouldn't be doing it. Many people hate what they do. I enjoy the process of improv endlessly. Therefore I will be doing improv endlessly.
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