Improv newbie question

Ask and ye shall receive.

Moderators: happywaffle, arclight

Improv newbie question

Postby Improvdude » November 24th, 2012, 12:10 am

Hello,
I am new to improv and Im about to finish my first class-
however i've run into kind of a snag.
The people in my class aren't terribly into improv as much as i am.
so when a lot of them said they were interesting in taking the next level, I kind of relented.
They're all wonderful people, but we don't have a lot in common, and that makes me wary. I was hoping to meet more Improv people not working professionals.

I mentioned the idea of taking the next level at another time, and they got hurt; but it doesn't make any sense to me. We don't mix beyond being in the same class. even when we hang out, it's pretty quiet. I know on some level, I would miss them, but I wouldn't want to put myself in the "shut up and go along" just to make everyone happy.

also, i ended up learning more from my subs than our actual teacher.
that adds a little bit of fuel to the fire...should I take an intensive somewhere to brush up or retake my first class?

just looking for some advice.

thanks.
Improvdude
 
Posts: 3
Joined: November 24th, 2012, 12:02 am

Postby jillybee72 » November 24th, 2012, 3:31 am

Start a second class at a different school! Two nights a week is better than one!
User avatar
jillybee72
 
Posts: 649
Joined: November 16th, 2009, 2:20 pm

Postby Spots » November 24th, 2012, 7:23 am

First things first. These doubts & concerns are very common. Let's address that this happens all the time in classes & troupes.


While it's true finding people with similar level of interest is important-- you are taking your first improv class. You have so much you CAN learn by just letting go and sticking with it.



My thought is this:


Where there is no trust, there is always technique. Focus on what you know. In some cases being with people you don't want to play with can be the best thing that ever happens to you.

That's where you develop those ninja moves.


Really though you want to play with people you trust. People you have something in common with and that you love sharing the stage with.

The silver lining here is that either Trust or Technique will be there for you.


Ultimately yours is a trust issue and perhaps informs us less about your classmates, and more about how you're coming to it.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby happywaffle » November 24th, 2012, 11:56 am

kbadr wrote:I am confused by the notion that your classmates are not into improv as much as you are, yet they are continuing their training while you are not.


This made me do a head tilt as well. I'm totally confused by that attitude.

If you really don't like your classmates, well, you can always skip a round, but it sounds like they're moving on with becoming better improvisers while you're getting stuck in your head about the people you're playing with. How do you know you'd get along better with a different group of classmates? If you really are serious about improv, then one of your most important lessons will be learning to have a fantastic time on stage with absolutely anyone, not just people who are like you.

I've been in improv for almost eleven years total, and I'm only friends with most of my fellow improvisers within the context of improv. And that's fantastic. We've got people of absolutely all stripes—working professionals included—and our love of improv is what bonds us.

(For what it's worth, I *am* a working professional, and I hope that doesn't make you not want to do improv with me.)

I think your most useful statement is "i ended up learning more from my subs than our actual teacher." That is a perfectly valid reason to try class with a different teacher or at a different theater, so you can find a teaching style that speaks to you better.
User avatar
happywaffle
 
Posts: 3221
Joined: February 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm
Location: Austin TX

Postby Improvdude » November 24th, 2012, 12:11 pm

Spots wrote:First things first. These doubts & concerns are very common. Let's address that this happens all the time in classes & troupes.


While it's true finding people with similar level of interest is important-- you are taking your first improv class. You have so much you CAN learn by just letting go and sticking with it.



My thought is this:


Where there is no trust, there is always technique. Focus on what you know. In some cases being with people you don't want to play with can be the best thing that ever happens to you.

That's where you develop those ninja moves.


Really though you want to play with people you trust. People you have something in common with and that you love sharing the stage with.

The silver lining here is that either Trust or Technique will be there for you.


Ultimately yours is a trust issue and perhaps informs us less about your classmates, and more about how you're coming to it.



I had improv classes before at another theater and I think it put me in a defense position.
my other experiences had my classmates looking down at me because i wasn't funny and lot of them would negate me during scenes or drop out of class before our final showcase.
I had heard great things about this new theater in town and I kinda wanted to start over. I probably should not have set myself up for something and just been more open to whatever. lesson learned.
Improvdude
 
Posts: 3
Joined: November 24th, 2012, 12:02 am

Postby happywaffle » November 24th, 2012, 12:27 pm

Improvdude wrote:I had improv classes before at another theater and I think it put me in a defense position.
my other experiences had my classmates looking down at me because i wasn't funny and lot of them would negate me during scenes or drop out of class before our final showcase.
I had heard great things about this new theater in town and I kinda wanted to start over. I probably should not have set myself up for something and just been more open to whatever. lesson learned.


If you really love improv, then try, try again.

Seems like you've had two classroom experiences where you don't feel like you "clicked" with your classmates. The first time, you feel like they looked down on you (note: it's very likely that this was just your perception). The second time, they expressed disappointment that you weren't moving on with them to the next level. So I guess the question is, what WILL make you happy?
User avatar
happywaffle
 
Posts: 3221
Joined: February 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm
Location: Austin TX

Postby Improvdude » November 24th, 2012, 12:40 pm

happywaffle wrote:
Improvdude wrote:I had improv classes before at another theater and I think it put me in a defense position.
my other experiences had my classmates looking down at me because i wasn't funny and lot of them would negate me during scenes or drop out of class before our final showcase.
I had heard great things about this new theater in town and I kinda wanted to start over. I probably should not have set myself up for something and just been more open to whatever. lesson learned.


If you really love improv, then try, try again.

Seems like you've had two classroom experiences where you don't feel like you "clicked" with your classmates. The first time, you feel like they looked down on you (note: it's very likely that this was just your perception). The second time, they expressed disappointment that you weren't moving on with them to the next level.

So I guess the question is, what WILL make you happy?


I really was amazed and proud of the work I did last week with our sub...more of that would be ideal.
Improvdude
 
Posts: 3
Joined: November 24th, 2012, 12:02 am

Postby happywaffle » November 24th, 2012, 3:30 pm

Improvdude wrote:
happywaffle wrote:
Improvdude wrote:I had improv classes before at another theater and I think it put me in a defense position.
my other experiences had my classmates looking down at me because i wasn't funny and lot of them would negate me during scenes or drop out of class before our final showcase.
I had heard great things about this new theater in town and I kinda wanted to start over. I probably should not have set myself up for something and just been more open to whatever. lesson learned.


If you really love improv, then try, try again.

Seems like you've had two classroom experiences where you don't feel like you "clicked" with your classmates. The first time, you feel like they looked down on you (note: it's very likely that this was just your perception). The second time, they expressed disappointment that you weren't moving on with them to the next level.

So I guess the question is, what WILL make you happy?


I really was amazed and proud of the work I did last week with our sub...more of that would be ideal.


Sounds like you should send a message to that sub, or talk to him/her in person. Any teacher worth his salt should be able to steer you in the right direction.
User avatar
happywaffle
 
Posts: 3221
Joined: February 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm
Location: Austin TX

Postby acrouch » November 24th, 2012, 3:56 pm

Sounds like the problem is either with your instructor, your classmates or you - and it's probably a little bit of all three.

If you're not having fun, but you think improv is for you, try a different instructor and a different class (same school, different school, whatever). If you're still not having fun, but want to persist, take a hard look at the attitude you're approaching the work with.

Improvdude wrote:I really was amazed and proud of the work I did last week with our sub...more of that would be ideal.


And put this idea on the shelf for about two years. Your job in an improv class is not to do good work. That's a trap that will limit your growth and keep you on the roller coaster of ego. Work on having fun, letting go of anxiety and getting comfortable with the risk and vulnerability of improv.
User avatar
acrouch
 
Posts: 3018
Joined: August 22nd, 2005, 4:42 pm
Location: austin, tx

Postby Spots » November 24th, 2012, 8:13 pm

acrouch wrote:Your job in an improv class is not to do good work. That's a trap that will limit your growth and keep you on the roller coaster of ego. Work on having fun, letting go of anxiety and getting comfortable with the risk and vulnerability of improv.





Struggling with this. What do other folks think? Is this a truth or an ideal? I think we all struggle with our work and seek for it to be quality. Nobody really wants to settle for doing good work 2-3 years into the process.


You definitely need to let go and be able to trust your classmates. But that first requires you to trust your teacher. If you don't trust your teacher, get out. Seek work that is fulfilling to you and your sensibilities.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby jillybee72 » November 25th, 2012, 11:11 am

Some students waste a lot of time comparing themselves to or worrying about others in the class. The other students are just there to give you someone to practice with, focus on the work at hand. Eye on the ball.
User avatar
jillybee72
 
Posts: 649
Joined: November 16th, 2009, 2:20 pm

Postby Kayla Lane » November 25th, 2012, 2:08 pm

Spots wrote:
acrouch wrote:Your job in an improv class is not to do good work. That's a trap that will limit your growth and keep you on the roller coaster of ego. Work on having fun, letting go of anxiety and getting comfortable with the risk and vulnerability of improv.



Struggling with this. What do other folks think? Is this a truth or an ideal? I think we all struggle with our work and seek for it to be quality. Nobody really wants to settle for doing good work 2-3 years into the process.



The literal question of "truth or ideal" is an odd one for me, and it seems to be fertile ground for a semantics discussion. Rather that get into that, I'll just say this: I don't think anyone believes that this surrender of ego is easy or comes naturally, but like meditation, the growth is in the process or return to a healthier state.

I think all newer improvisers (maybe all improvisers?) find themselves deviating from a place of fun, creativity and vulnerability and instead become focused on being "good" or climbing the imaginary ladder. By becoming self-aware of when our focus drifts, we get an opportunity to bring it back to that relaxed, fun, egoless place. This act of bringing it back is so worthwhile for our journey as improvisers -- and as people. It builds a muscle of self-awareness and self-compassion. Which I think is pretty damn cool!

I don't think there necessarily has to be a hard and fast time length on it. Whenever we create this comfortable and self-compassionate space, "good" work arises naturally and more frequently. Also, the "bad" work doesn't weigh you down as heavily as before.
"You've got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down." - Ray Bradbury
User avatar
Kayla Lane
 
Posts: 213
Joined: February 28th, 2011, 2:05 pm

Postby Jon Bolden » November 25th, 2012, 4:12 pm

Private message me if you ever want to get a cup of coffee or a drink and talk about it in-person.
Be More Fun than Funny
User avatar
Jon Bolden
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1491
Joined: March 19th, 2008, 11:16 am
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Spots » November 25th, 2012, 6:16 pm

"Don't think about being good and you will be good" sounds similar to "if you build it they will come." It's an ideal and not something I have any empirical evidence for.


On the contrary, the drive to do good work has made some of the hardest working improvisers I know. They would all say that wanting to do the best work should be celebrated. Perhaps with a level one student it's more important that he/she has fun and keeps coming back to the work.

But a strong ambition is healthy. It simply becomes the mentor's duty to transition the student's approach to the work:

"I want to be the absolute best."

Becomes

"I want to be the absolute best-- at making my partner look good."


Celebrating how well you set up your fellow improviser gets you out of your head. Gives you focus. It connects you to the work intrinsically. In these terms becoming the best is something that I encourage.

We should all be the best.
Last edited by Spots on November 25th, 2012, 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby Jon Bolden » November 25th, 2012, 8:32 pm

Spots wrote:"I want to be the absolute best-- at making my partner look good."


Yup. No one disagrees with that. Subject closed.
Be More Fun than Funny
User avatar
Jon Bolden
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1491
Joined: March 19th, 2008, 11:16 am
Location: Austin, TX


Return to Help Desk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron