Great interview with Joe Bill

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Great interview with Joe Bill

Postby mcnichol » March 21st, 2006, 10:39 am

Someone sent me an email pointing me to this great interview with Joe Bill. He'd been mentioned here in this workshops thread already, but he mentions so much good stuff in the interview I thought I'd bring up his name again. He not only talks about improv theory, but history (IO, Annoyance, etc.) which is always enlightening to me. I hope we can get him down here sometime -- he's a great guy to boot.
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Postby kbadr » March 21st, 2006, 11:33 am

This made me giddy:

It was late night Saturday. We literally would say ‘give us a suggestion that we can forget,’ then we would just tear the ass out of the place for an hour. We’d have two cases of beer back stage, then we would take a suggestion and improvise until the beer was gone.

Just the idea that they could basically have an open stage and people would be there to watch them for however long they wanted to perform. That's probably just me imagining a fantasy land that doesn't actually reflect the reality of the situation, but still.

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Postby mcnichol » March 21st, 2006, 12:18 pm

Kareem wrote:This made me giddy:

Yes, me too. He still does that, basically, in BassProv. Which we should get down here at some point. But hell, we could do that sometime ourselves (the two-cases drinking prov, not BassProv). Hmmm...

Anyway, that whole damn interview made me giddy, especially the part where he's talking about where some of the different schools of thought came from and diverged (in relation to IO/Del, Johnstone, Shepherd, Sills, etc.).

But specifically, in terms of my intellectual-boner-inducing beliefs about improv, this one sticks with me:

Joe Bill wrote:I want to really put the artistry and theatricality back into longform, which it’s kind of getting away from because of TV. Even the UCB’s approach is ‘find the game.’ It’s all about the verbal, verbal, verbal. But when you’re playing a character, what I teach is that you have these three things that are available to you that are observable to an audience: what you say, what you do and how you feel.

I teach that how you feel is the most important, and I think most Annoyance teachers are in this camp. I know Susan and Mark are. I’m not sure about Mick. What you feel is important, your point of view is important, because that effects how you do what you do and how you say what you say, which in my book are far more important than what you say.

Also: if you haven't yet read Mick's book (which is in our library), please do so.
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Postby sara farr » March 21st, 2006, 1:58 pm

mcnichol wrote:I teach that how you feel is the most important.

"Character motion comes from emotion." ~Ed Hooks, Acting for Animators

Think about it... You hear a knock on the door and have the thought, "It's death come to claim me." But how you FEEL about that thought determines how you'll respond.

A) Happy -- rushes to the door to embrace death
B) Scared -- sneaks backwards and frantically searches for a place to hide
C) Angry -- picks up a baseball bat and storms to the door, throwing it open
D) Indifferent -- stays slumped on sofa, channel surfing
E) Sad -- puts head in hands and starts sobbing

I teach my students that -- whether they are aware of it or not -- their art communicates emotion. And, if they are not thinking about it, the emotion they are probably communicating is their own personal feeling about their subject. It is only when the students start making conscious decisions about the emotion they want to communicate and understand what visual clues they need to use to emphasize that emotion, that their art starts to improve.
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Postby DollarBill » March 21st, 2006, 10:05 pm

I listened in on one of Joe Bill's classes today at IO. Seemed pretty good. I overheard him saying some stuff that I read in the article that's posted, so I peaked in and it was him. He seemed like he leads a pretty good workshop.
They call me Dollar Bill 'cause I always make sense.
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