Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby Spots » August 28th, 2013, 1:51 pm

Kevin Spacey weighs in on this very subject. Don't ask me how many parallels to improv there are in this speech.

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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby valetoile » August 30th, 2013, 10:18 am

As my eye glanced at this topic title, I for a second thought it said, "Peter Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?"

Will Peter Rogers like this?
Parallelogramophonographpargonohpomargolellarap: It's a palindrome!
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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby Ryan Austin » August 30th, 2013, 1:03 pm

I give myself permission to scene paint at any time only because Peter Rogers has complimented my scene painting.
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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby Spots » August 30th, 2013, 5:52 pm

In fact I really want to break Kevin Spacey's speech down into segments and make the parallel to our art form.

After all his conclusion states that the format (television show, film, youtube) is ultimately meaningless-- CONTENT is all that matters to modern audiences.

I'll soon break down the speech by subject to make it easier to digest and discuss.
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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby hujhax » August 31st, 2013, 4:25 am

valetoile wrote:As my eye glanced at this topic title, I for a second thought it said, "Peter Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?"

Will Peter Rogers like this?


I approve of this.

:mrgreen:

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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » September 1st, 2013, 1:58 pm

yes, I only seek Peter approval...but I try not to succumb to Peter pressure...
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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby JediImprov » September 16th, 2013, 7:23 am

Holy crap, this thread is still going! I just reread my original post and all of the responses. I think this thread, in and of itself, illustrates the challenges I originally posed.

Since that initial post, two things have happened that have, perhaps, matured my view. First, I completed my first MainStage, a very open ended and challenging format (The ReSet Project at SVT) which included two months of rehearsals, eight shows and all that goes with that. Oddly or perhaps not to the veterans of ensemble work, as each week passed, I found myself less and less focused on the audience (although very much aware of them) and more focused on challenging myself to step up to the plate more and more, with each show, which I feel happened. The improvisor I was when that project began is not the improvisor I am today, which is only to say realizations and growth occurred, nothing more or less.

The second thing that happened was David Razowsky. WOW! I did two OOB workshops with him and it felt like an emotional water-boarding that got to the essence of what was getting in the way, armor, my armor, me not truly and fully opening up to my fellow players, to the moment, when my feet hit the stage. I was far more protected then I had ever even remotely realized and that realization was a game changer in terms of how I view my improv. Am I hitting the stage and rapidly creating a safe world among just a safe few, or am I letting go to entirety of the experience? Meaning, am I really open? So what the hell does this have to do with who we seek approval from? Actually, a whole hell of a lot.

It hit me, as all this played out, that there is the inner life and growth process of an improvisor, something profoundly personal and intimate to who they are, to their needs from their work on a deeper level, to even their motivations to do improv. It also hit me that includes our, your, my baggage- good and bad. And for that process, while we may seek outside counsel that we trust as John spoke to, at the end of the day, we are left with ourselves. I think that is true of all art forms on one level or another, but I think that in the case of improv, that is particularly true. And I think that is very much a separate process from the question, are my shows entertaining on the whole (Kareem's point)? Or, is our format working? Are we entertaining people? I view those as far more about the skills of our craft and maturing those. Then there is the third piece, we all have been allowed to do shows that dont HAVE to make a ton (if any, in some cases) of money. In traditional Equity player shows, a great deal of effort is put forth to out shows that are able to monetize entertainment and the pressures to do that can be huge. Improv rarely, on a whole, suffers from such pressures.

The Personal Journey - The deeply personal emotional and intellectual realizations/work that grows an improvisor from the inside- out (self approval)

The Show - Peer opinions to fuel buzz/popularity or not, audience reactions and attendance levels, evaluating a shows format, working on skills (external approval as a whole)

Monetization Pressures - very little on many shows but higher to some degree with main stage shows, the ticket price of the show your in, the degree to which a theatre will be filled with non-improvisors versus improvisors (theatre artistic directors and their approval per their house style)

I think this really helped me to zero in on, what is the question Im asking? Am Im struggling with protecting myself or other issues more intimate to growing from the inside - out? If so, getting that specific kind of counsel might look radically different from, say, how to improve a shows format; a person qualified to offer counsel in one may be the worst possible person to talk with about the other. Or am I trying to package my show (as a theatre or as a troupe) to be a money maker? And who would best be qualified for that feedback?

All this may be total bullshit to some, which is fine, but for me, its helped me a lot because it helps me decode the sea of reactions/comments/vibes/interpretations and more that so fuels how we look at the work that we do.
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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby Spots » September 17th, 2013, 1:10 pm

JediImprov wrote:The Personal Journey - The deeply personal emotional and intellectual realizations/work that grows an improvisor from the inside- out (self approval)



I've always felt that improv experience has less to do with time and more to do with environment for this reason. Players can hide behind a shield for 10 years, doesn't mean they've stepped one foot along their journey.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I believe the strongest environment possible is one where all the folks further along their journeys recognize the journey in others and reach back and relate using empathy. Like Razowsky obviously did for you.


JediImprov wrote:Am Im struggling with protecting myself or other issues more intimate to growing from the inside - out? If so, getting that specific kind of counsel might look radically different from, say, how to improve a shows format; a person qualified to offer counsel in one may be the worst possible person to talk with about the other.


I agree 100 percent. You'll also find many times that any kind of guru or instructor may very well be working on their own personal theory or buzzword at any given time. Any advice they give you should be gauged through that filter, not to put all your eggs in one basket-- especially if the two of you have zero rapport or if they are just seeing a snapshot of you. Compared to him/her being familiar with your journey.

I don't care if Del Close himself comes back from the grave and gives you advice. If he didn't see how you've been working on listening and callbacks over the course of your last ten shows, he could send you on some wild goose chase.


An environment with snapshot guru advice can strengthen you in many areas, but none that are congruent to your own personal challenge of growth. Kudos again to Dave for hitting upon an area that WAS congruent with your journey. I really want to take that one now and challenge myself with it.
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Re: Peer Approval and/or Audience Approval? Who to believe?

Postby JediImprov » September 28th, 2013, 8:38 pm

Appreciate it! Yeah, I think we all get into improv and then stay in improv for different and evolving reasons. I have had plenty of exposure to guru's in the performing arts long before improv, so I dont much put anyone on a pedestal, ever, to include myself when Im the teacher (in the business world). So no worries there. Im a huge fan of "take what you want and leave the rest". But I do feel the need to acknowledge those that really seem to put a ton of themselves into the craft of teaching and David did that, as did Stephen Kearin. I have great respect for teachers and directors, for that matter, that go the extra mile.

Yes, sharing my journey, I think sometimes I care far more about improv and its ability to change lives then about anything else, but I also get that is only my reality and not one necessarily shared by everyone. Thanks for the support!
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