Balance vs. Dependency

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Balance vs. Dependency

Postby Spots » March 26th, 2014, 6:19 pm

Biggest picture for why I love improv is that mutual affection for an art form brings to light skillsets I lack or never even thought of.

I can endlessly work on character to the point of obsession... and fall out of balance in areas where others are excelling: structure, ability to comprehend patterns, wordplay, movement, etc.


The example I'll always be chasing is that pattern work feels like a betrayal away from real emotionality. But Ive learned that's not inherently true. I didn't have the pilot hours to make that judgement.

But another example would be creating energy that excludes others versus energy that includes EVERYONE. Even that person who highlights my insecurity. The juxtaposition never even occurred to me for years. Didn't realize total inclusion was posssible in scenes or games. Now that's just one of many ways I was out of balance.


Because there are infinite value sets and skill sets I think balance vs. dependency can always work as a personal barometer. Or a kick in the pants. In the right direction or atleast a direction that isn't stagnant.

In this view, no improv theory is incorrect. There is only a parrellel to addiction or dependency which risks to close you off, make you complacent, or rather- throw you off balance. For this reason balance versus dependency cannot be taught or passed down like a book. It is up to the individual barometer of the player.

I'm a character addict. For years I hid myself behind a facade while onstage because I thought the audience wouldn't relate to the real me. Facing this fear helped to break through. I challenged myself to be ME onstage. Now this doesn't dictate that I always be myself in scenes- just that I call myself out in the future if I attempt to hide.


Whats one way you could become a better balanced player?
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Re: Balance vs. Dependency

Postby jrec747 » March 31st, 2014, 4:02 am

How I do it is I work on a specific thing for a period of time (100+ scenes or so), and then move on to something else. The thing I focus on is NOT something that I randomly choose, but rather some weakness that comes up after a certain period of time. I keep a journal log at home of every single improv show that I do (which is several a week), and after each show I write down what I think worked, what I think didn't worked, what my coach felt, etc. In addition to this, I always watch other people's performances (advanced people who I admire) and observe the exact same things (what worked, what didn't work, etc.).

This gives me a very good idea of the specific things that I need to work on. I will work on one aspect for a certain period of time, until I feel I have made significant progress, then I will rotate over to a weakness in another area, which usually comes about through my journals. This may be things such as characters, having distinct POVs, emotional commitment, physicality, specificity, environment/object work, patterns, back line/sideline support, listening at the top of scenes, pulling from premise, etc. Over time, all of the boats begin sinking to the top.

Eventually, you don't really have any sticking points that cause you to get completely stifled on stage, but you do have areas that just need to be strengthened. And this might even be on a show to show basis- "The last show I wasn't as physical and didn't vary up the stage picture, I'm gonna work on that for this show." You are always learning obviously, and there are always specific areas where no matter how advanced you are, you can work on (i.e acting), but it's just not as drastic.
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Re: Balance vs. Dependency

Postby Spots » March 31st, 2014, 7:25 pm

All cool. I love your point that by being proactive about it, you just perpetually find more and more potential strengths.

Thats certainly not a case of a person's biggest strengh being their biggest weakness. "Anything in excess."

Jrec- I think keeping a journal demonstrates that you arent holding anything back.
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