My notes on the Annoyance Summer Intensive -- Conclusion

Discussion of the art and craft of improvisation.

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Postby trabka » July 21st, 2011, 4:34 pm

Spots wrote:I would argue the folks whose feelings are hurt just need to grow a thicker skin. Because there's absolutely nothing wrong with expressing opinions about style or substance.

Calling for an end to people's opinions is plain absurd.


If anything, being able to discern between expressing an opinion and making an attack is super important in both creating and interpreting a post.

I think a lot of trouble could've been avoided in this thread and threads in the past (such as the oft-cited Harold arguments) if everyone kept that in mind. If we can't discuss the merits and flaws of how we each choose to do this, why bother having this section of the forum at all?
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Postby Roy Janik » July 21st, 2011, 4:36 pm

I can't speak for other places, but I personally don't see any attacks here. Your notes are awesome, and there was just a (admittedly slightly prickly) discussion of what motivates the people doing narrative and people who have a different perception of it. I think most people in this discussion have been careful to discuss things reasonably.

It's always impossible to judge tone and intent online, so I find it's best to assume the best of everyone, even if I don't really believe it.

I'm gonna go through your notes and comment on some other points, because I think they're an excellent jumping off point for discussion. I hope you're still around to talk about them.
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Postby Roy Janik » July 21st, 2011, 4:39 pm

trabka wrote:I think a lot of trouble could've been avoided in this thread and threads in the past (such as the oft-cited Harold arguments) if everyone kept that in mind. If we can't discuss the merits and flaws of how we each choose to do this, why bother having this section of the forum at all?


Totally. I consider myself a reasonable dude, and I'll tell you that so often online I'll read something that my gut IMMEDIATELY interprets as an attack... and I have to almost physically force myself to calm down.

As I said on my Facebook,

Here's the way I usually argue online:
1) quote the stuff that makes me really angry
2) write an angry response
3) go back and edit, to tone down the anger
4) re read 5 times.
5) delete response before submitting and close window.

What I realized later was that what I wind up doing is waiting until the conversation has kind of moved on to more positive points, and then Yes, and that stuff with comments of my own.
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Postby Spots » July 21st, 2011, 4:40 pm

I second Trabka. Really well spoken.
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Postby bradisntclever » July 21st, 2011, 4:44 pm

TexasImprovMassacre wrote:Also, to stick up for josh further, it seems like the "smack talk" statement lamb is re referring to is actually making the same point lamb goes on to make...and in my opinion josh's original point isn't smack talk.


I do concur with this. Josh's line clearly wasn't intended to be smack talk. If anything, it was kind of the opposite. An "I didn't know I could feel this inspired by this kind of a show" moment.

The thread then took a turn into the merits of narrative improv. I think Jeremy's statement does apply well here. It's a good disclaimer. There's no one inherent form that's better than the rest. A shitty narrative show is a shitty show. Same goes for an Armando and all the rest. Rather than try and rank the formats, a discussion of their individual traits and mechanics seems more apt in a forum.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » July 21st, 2011, 5:04 pm

if i can play Kareem's Advocate for a second, since it was his post that seemed to open the "can of worms," i don't think he was saying Josh is a horrible human being and how dare he say such things, etc. more like "that comment seems to imply that you had to go to Chicago to see a genre narrative show that wasn't dependent on gimmicks when in fact there are proponents of that very notion in this town doing shows all the time!"

but Mr. Badr's not typically one to say "we're doing that TOO! HOORAY!" he's got an image to uphold, people...what, do you think he's all smiles and rainbows and fluffy clouds now?
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Postby Spots » July 21st, 2011, 5:12 pm

Kareem was mostly addressing the use of the word "gimmicks" and previous situations he had heard it used.


I think there was a bit of a twisted bandwagon effect, where someone jumped onboard (onto who knows what) and used Kareem's minor point for their own emotional counter defense.


We just need to move past it and get back on topic.
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Postby TexasImprovMassacre » July 21st, 2011, 5:47 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:"that comment seems to imply that you had to go to Chicago to see a genre narrative show that wasn't dependent on gimmicks when in fact there are proponents of that very notion in this town doing shows all the time!"



Please take this constructively, but I take issue with the second half of that.

I don't disagree that there are proponents of that in this town. However, I feel like you're basically telling him he shouldn't have experienced what he experienced...but that doesn't change the fact that his experience was that until he saw improvised Shakespeare in Chicago he generally thought that genre narrative was gimmicky.

I think its fair for any audience member to be entitled to their opinion, and I don't assume anyone would disagree with that. I do find it somewhat problematic though to basically say "well, you should have seen a show here that proved to you it didn't have to be gimmicky"...because this seems to dismiss the criticism instead of addressing the gap between how the audience is expected to perceive something, and how they actually perceive it.
Last edited by TexasImprovMassacre on July 22nd, 2011, 9:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Jastroch » July 21st, 2011, 6:02 pm

Spots,

I can only assume you're referring to me because you quoted me twice. To be clear: I want a free open market place of ideas.

I was trying to be honest with how these discussions made me feel as an artist and a business owner after getting the sense from my friends that thy were frustrated and angry (because they told me as much).

Let's nerd out about improv, but there's no justification to tear down other people while doing it.
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Postby valetoile » July 21st, 2011, 6:50 pm

I hope everyone is meeting each other in person and seeing each other in shows. Because I know for a fact that every person that's chimed in on this thread is a dedicated, passionate, and open-minded practitioner of improv. We've all made off hand comments that are unfair generalizations and stick to someone the wrong way. It's part of discovering your own opinions and philosophies. It's ok to point out those careless things, if both sides can let go of defenses and be open to having opinions changed. And I think we are all open to that in the right context. Online is rarely the right context.

I loved all your notes Josh. They reminded me of my own Annoyance intensive experience, and brought some ideas into a new context. It was great to revisit the Annoyance philosophy through both your own filter and through my present filter as a performer and teacher. I think I will steal some exercises very soon.

All these discussion make me yearn for some deep down Harold training. I love doing narrative and exploring the way a story can go with people who you trust implicitly, when plot doesn't matter but the moment is everything. I also have a deep love for postmodernism, alternative story telling and story breaking techniques, and interweaving threads that may or may not wrap up. I'm getting super interested in the ever-more apparent (to me, at least) overlap in Harold skills and narrative skills, and I dream of putting on a show that blends the too in such a way that you can't really tell what's what. That would be the bad-assest.
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Re: My notes on the Annoyance Summer Intensive -- Conclusion

Postby cortniejones » July 21st, 2011, 7:31 pm

tacotrombone wrote:Right now, I'm being coached/taught by David Hess, John Ratliff, Michael Jastroch, Josh Krilov, and now Stephanie Russo. With the exception of Mick's insanely accurate diagnosis during the first day, there was not really another moment during the intensive where I thought, “Shit. Why am I staying in Austin? My coaches and teachers have no idea what they are talking about.” Instead, I am really proud of the fact that I am being taught and coached by the people I'm working with now—they are having the same “aha” moments as the teachers in Chicago. The only difference is that the folks in Chicago have been teaching and watching high caliber shows for two or three times longer, so they have their diagnoses down to a quicker spiel. That's it.
I've made peace with the fact that I'm going to keep growing and so are my teachers. It's going to be a wild ride.


That's my favorite part of the whole thread! It's great to know that those of us who haven't gotten a chance to go to an intensive in Chicago (and might not get a chance for while...) are still getting taught by the wonderfulness and uniqueness that is Austin and the Austin Improv Scene. I love Austin!
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Postby LuBu McJohnson » July 21st, 2011, 7:57 pm

Jastroch wrote:
I remember the improvised Shakespeare from OOB (three?) years ago, where the wedding turned into a demon hell party thing. To me, that was the best possible ending because it didn't feel planned. Ironically, after talking to people in the show, it arose because some people were trying to improvise a tragedy and some, a comedy.



Ah yes, I remember this as well.

"The Bishop?" "It was THE BISHOP!" "*gasp* the bishop!" Mask. Ghost. Stab. Yes, I enjoy the moments that no one really has control over.
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Postby beardedlamb » July 21st, 2011, 11:40 pm

York99 wrote:
beardedlamb wrote: any form can be good when done well.


But, grasshopper, must any form be bad when done poorly?



nope. but i didn't say that so i don't think anyone thinks i feel that way.
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Postby brittjw » July 22nd, 2011, 1:53 am

The thing I love about Austin improv, is that it's so diverse. I've heard people around the community talking about how they prefer one improv form over another (and I know I, too, have my preferences). Honestly, I think it's all fun to watch and I really should "take notes" regarding the styles of improv, of which I'm unfamiliar. I'm jealous of all you kids that have performed short-form and narrative improv. Someday, I'll learn those forms, as well:)

Thank you Josh, for sharing your experience in Chicago. I got goosebumps when I saw my first, real-deal Harold show at iO. It was amazing! And the Armando- my mind was blown! I'm sorry you had a bad taste in your mouth, after sharing your experience. Please don't shy away from posting on the forum in the future.

Everyone just be nice to one another and relax. It's truce time...

Hugs and high fives,
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Postby PyroDan » July 22nd, 2011, 3:25 am

Girls, you are all pretty. There is room enough at the prom for all you pretty girls.
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