A to C

Discussion of the art and craft of improvisation.

Moderators: happywaffle, arclight, bradisntclever

A to C

Postby kliphtin » March 20th, 2014, 11:42 pm

So, I have been reading and considering a lot of the A to C stuff in the UCB Manual, experimenting with exercises, dwelling on what works, and attempting to reconcile my own play by combining what I have learned in the past with new insights from the book.

These are the pages that reference A to C, as far as I can tell.

225-229, 231, 233-236, 239-241, 245-248.

On 245, there is an eight piece focus on the pattern game.

I guess the current question is, "Does anyone else dig this shit and want to discuss in a public forum?"
kliphtin
 
Posts: 26
Joined: June 27th, 2011, 9:02 am

Re: A to C

Postby happywaffle » March 21st, 2014, 9:23 am

I do dig, but alas I have not yet read the book. :(
User avatar
happywaffle
 
Posts: 3475
Joined: February 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm
Location: Austin TX

Re: A to C

Postby Spots » March 24th, 2014, 5:23 pm

There's something very joyful about a group of people mutually finding a pattern together. Individually, we are wired to find patterns. So logic would dictate that finding patterns in a group setting will be easy. But the opposite is true. Individual patterns make mutual patterns damn difficult.


While playing I dont ususally stay in left brain mode too long, favoring whatever feels right. Intuition. But stretching my brain with different patterns never hurts. The more I do it consciously, the more attuned my subconcious becomes to discovering mutual patterns.

Im definitely a member of a theater that pushes pattern work. So I "hang in there" with the pattern addicts.

I enjoy listening to people get excited about A B C or A B A or AA BB CC or A B C C B A

Regarding the overall relationship between patterns - I think youll find alot of people here who are interested.

You might have to preface with Harold but everyone basically knows and likes variations on a pattern. Few would disagree that pattern is a basic unit of comedy.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Re: A to C

Postby bradisntclever » March 25th, 2014, 8:35 am

kliphtin wrote:So, I have been reading and considering a lot of the A to C stuff in the UCB Manual, experimenting with exercises, dwelling on what works, and attempting to reconcile my own play by combining what I have learned in the past with new insights from the book.

These are the pages that reference A to C, as far as I can tell.

225-229, 231, 233-236, 239-241, 245-248.

On 245, there is an eight piece focus on the pattern game.

I guess the current question is, "Does anyone else dig this shit and want to discuss in a public forum?"


I'm game to discuss this stuff, Clifton. Anything in particular you wanted to talk about?

There's a lot of debate up here about the different styles of pattern game that have developed from the teachers up in NY. Lots of subtle differences, like - some teachers advocate one premise per loop (resulting in a good five or so loops if you're doing a Harold), most tend to say two premises per loop for three loops (unless it takes you forever to find the first premise in a loop, then consider closing that loop and settling with five premises for the Harold).
User avatar
bradisntclever
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1747
Joined: February 27th, 2007, 2:25 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: A to C

Postby bradisntclever » March 25th, 2014, 9:07 am

Spots wrote:Regarding the overall relationship between patterns - I think youll find alot of people here who are interested.

You might have to preface with Harold but everyone basically knows and likes variations on a pattern. Few would disagree that pattern is a basic unit of comedy.

I agree with a lot of that, Jesse. Just to clarify what Clifton is referring to - UCB's pattern game is a Harold opening where improvisers take the suggestion and essentially do some word association with it in order to generate scenic premises. In each loop of the pattern game, improvisers try to associate "A to C" off the last thing said, which means "A makes me think of B and B makes me think of C." Improvisers don't say whatever B was, instead they just mention C and move onto the next A to C. This is helpful because A to B word association doesn't move very fast and tends to get stuck in the same universe.

While they are moving A to C around in a loop (it's a loop because the end goal of each loop is to find a way back to the initial suggestion), if anything said sparks an idea for a scene, an improviser will pitch a premise for a scene. For instance, people might be talking about window vs aisle seat in the word association part, which makes me think "nobody really likes taking the middle seat." I might pitch something like "the guy who actually enjoys sitting in the middle seat." After a pitch, other improvisers usually provide two or three additional details about that idea to really flesh it out. They might say a line of dialog from that hypothetical scene or suggest a possible move or something else that might be true about the guy. Once you've got a few of those down (talk about it too much and you blow out the idea for the scene before you even play it), somebody goes A to C off that idea and says another word/phrase for the word association part. In the standard structure, improvisers try to generate two premises per loop and perform three loops.

I know ColdTowne teaches something similar in the "cloverleaf" exercise, which is essentially three loops of word association to get back to the original suggestion.

Not the world's best explanation, but a good starting point for anyone who felt left in the dark. The UCB book is a great resource on this topic, since they've had the ability to carefully write and rewrite about concepts.
User avatar
bradisntclever
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1747
Joined: February 27th, 2007, 2:25 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: A to C

Postby Spots » March 25th, 2014, 2:04 pm

Ah thanks for the point of reference, Brad.

Vanessa Gonzalez loves this subject. Think she uses A to C in her current sketchwriting workshop - referring to the types of patterns she strives for during the Megaphone show.

So yeah you follow the pattern a few steps away from whats expected, yeah? I love that because while the audience may laugh at B - its no more than an empty acknowkedgement that they see the pattern.

Rather, you find B in your head and then come out with C or D on stage. Very explosive.

I get the subject now. To summarize: Using patterns to stay atleast one step ahead of the audience. Yes?
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Re: A to C

Postby bradisntclever » March 25th, 2014, 2:23 pm

More importantly, A to C thinking is a way to do improv inspired by the suggestion without having to shoehorn the suggestion into a scene. If "pineapple" makes you think of a tropical island and a tropical island makes you think of a tiki bar, you could start a scene set in a tiki bar and it would feel legitimately inspired by the suggestion. C shouldn't be so far removed from A that nobody understands how you got there, but instead close enough that the train of thought is evident, if that makes sense.

It gets irksome to hear people take a suggestion and then spit that suggestion back out in a sentence in the opening line.
User avatar
bradisntclever
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1747
Joined: February 27th, 2007, 2:25 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: A to C

Postby Spots » March 25th, 2014, 2:34 pm

Maybe the other stuff is an unintended consequence but its endlessly refreshing to watch for that reason IMO. Agreed and all caught up.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans


Return to Improv Theory & Practice

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron