Your greatest mistake, worst experience, or clusterf*ck...

Discussion of the art and craft of improvisation.

Moderators: happywaffle, arclight, bradisntclever

Postby Spots » December 24th, 2012, 1:11 am

Not too many folks make mistakes in improv it seems.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby Mike » December 24th, 2012, 1:15 am

I've been both a fight captain and stage combatant in many a ren faire and other production, and have been stabbed, punched, shield-bashed and even hit in the chest with an ax due to people (And these are seasoned vets) becoming too comfortable during a fight and missing their mark.

One of the worst hits I took was during a mock village riot; we were fighting the King's men ( Who had armor - we had none) and my fight partner forgot to pull his punch and hit me full force in the face with a steel gauntlet encased fist. Had I not been paying attention it would have put me out; instead I went with the punch, let the adrenaline rush keep me standing ( albeit with a bloody nose and a new set of quickly developing black eyes) as and I scooped him up and body slammed him to end the fight so I could tend to the massive headache which I knew would come.

At the end of the day's show, departing patrons were telling the gate actors that our fight "looked so real".
User avatar
Mike
 
Posts: 941
Joined: February 25th, 2006, 2:49 am
Location: Round Rock

Postby kaci_beeler » December 24th, 2012, 4:34 am

Spots wrote:Not too many folks make mistakes in improv it seems.


No need to be patronizing. It *is* the weekend before Christmas.

In recent memory for me it would be taking the suggestion of incest from a drunken crowd in Shanghai and performing a 20-min set around that suggestion.
It was weird because we where in a giant cavernous cafe/music space and half the crowd was Chinese, half were western ex-patriots. Some of ex-patriots were drunk and heckling the performers, and the Chinese patrons were too polite/afraid to give suggestions. So after pulling teeth for 3 movie titles we ended up with one that was "I'm In Love With My Brother's Sister." or something like that. The audience voted wildly for that suggestion when voting time came.
One of the girls in our cast tried to move us away from the inevitable incest we were headed toward in our improvised movie and soon we were struggling to keep the show afloat. We made it work but it was awkward and creepy by the end. Some of the audience liked it regardless because they had never seen improv like it before, but I know if the subject matter had been more relatable and the players more comfortable with the piece that we could have given them an amazing experience instead of a good/okay one.

If I hadn't been so bombarded with so many new things at once (venue, audience, fellow players, format, culture) I might have thought to spin the suggestion differently so it didn't imply something that would then be very awkward to play in front of a bilingual crowd in a communist country. All those people clapped for something they actually didn't want to see...because it was kinda funny that it was suggested, I guess?

I'm totally cool with not taking certain suggestions, and this solidified for me that if I'm not inspired or if I'm turned off by something, I can change it. That's improv too, you know.
User avatar
kaci_beeler
 
Posts: 2151
Joined: September 4th, 2005, 10:27 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby happywaffle » December 24th, 2012, 3:06 pm

kaci_beeler wrote:
Spots wrote:Not too many folks make mistakes in improv it seems.


No need to be patronizing. It *is* the weekend before Christmas.


What she said. :roll:
User avatar
happywaffle
 
Posts: 3757
Joined: February 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm
Location: Austin TX

Postby Spots » December 24th, 2012, 7:00 pm

The commentary was in keeping with my belief that comedy is a pride journey.

I know that most of us find rabbit holes & we filter our pride through & past the comedy somehow. Little changes about us personally. We find tricks and workarounds in order to work with the ensemble, the group mind.

I realize it's being too hopeful that many replies scratch the surface of these true improv journeys where real change happens.


Milemarkers that new members will be able to relate to.


But I do apologize for the patronizing remark. It was uncalled for and took confidence away from the conversation rather than add to it.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby sandray » December 24th, 2012, 7:16 pm

The thing that clearly sticks out to me was in one of my first ever shows. Everyone in the scene was fighting each other and killing each other right off the top of the show. After the show, the audience who happened to be family members, asked what the heck was going on because we were all fighting with each other. Their feedback was super honest and brutal. I learned right away to keep from starting off negative and to keep from fighting.
I have allot more stories than this one but this one is my worst experience.
It don't mean a thing if it aint got that swing - Duke Ellington
User avatar
sandray
 
Posts: 159
Joined: December 8th, 2008, 12:05 am
Location: Austin

Postby poltergasm » December 25th, 2012, 12:34 am

I spent about 60 seconds trying to think of a real fuck-up or bonehead moment in my 18-month improv career, and I couldn't. Sure, I've been in plenty of scenes that were lame and unfunny, and certainly some of that owed to something I did/didn't do. But none stood out. None derailed the show. None hurt or offended the audience to their collective core. None were, like, racist or anything.

Two things:

One, my memory is shit. But not when it comes to humiliating performance experiences, because...

Two, I fucked up PLENTY during my ten years performing slam poetry. Which is worse than an improv boner, because slam is SCRIPTED and REHEARSED. So there is no good excuse for fucking up.

Except that sometimes humans fuck up.

But also, the VERY FIRST LESSON I learned in my improv education was to celebrate mistakes, to not even think of them as mistakes. To reframe the idea of a "mistake" as simply an "experience" or "opportunity." So either that lesson is just so much highfalutin bullshit, or we are being absurdly hard on ourselves here.

That said, I get it: sometimes you leave a performance wondering why the hell you did what you just did.
User avatar
poltergasm
 
Posts: 159
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 4:47 pm

Postby poltergasm » December 25th, 2012, 12:35 am

Let me also add to my post above: correct me! If you've witnessed me fucking up in improv, or if I have personally messed you up in a scene, please let me know. I'd love to have my memory jogged.
User avatar
poltergasm
 
Posts: 159
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 4:47 pm

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » December 25th, 2012, 9:56 pm

also worth noting, "comedy" isn't the journey all of us are on.

as for me, i've made plenty of mistakes over the last decade and a half, both onstage and off, both improv and scripted. i've learned and grown and continue to make mistakes. but i don't dwell on them and i don't rank them, so to try and conjure one from the mists of memory just seems counterproductive to my process. but that's me. call it pride or a rabbit hole if you will. i just know what works for me. and if discussing particular instances is helpful for others, then more power to them as well!
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Aden » December 25th, 2012, 11:29 pm

In the first year of the Starter Kit (2006? 2007?) I think we all had a lot of learning moments. One of my more memorable wish-I-hadn't-done-that experiences was a scene where I endowed Justin Davis as a creepy uncle. He embraced it, the audience did not... I did not. I learned the valuable lesson that if something makes you feel oogy on stage, your audience isn't going to reassure you and tell you it's ok. Also don't endow someone as a creepy uncle or any other person you wouldn't want to interact with. If your scene partner is doing their job, they will take the suggestion and run with it so give 'em something awesome to play with as much as possible in that moment.
http://www.artofchange.com
Change is inevitable. Progress is not. Discover the difference YOU can make.
User avatar
Aden
 
Posts: 2543
Joined: October 3rd, 2006, 10:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » December 26th, 2012, 2:03 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:also worth noting, "comedy" isn't the journey all of us are on.

as for me, i've made plenty of mistakes over the last decade and a half, both onstage and off, both improv and scripted. i've learned and grown and continue to make mistakes. but i don't dwell on them and i don't rank them, so to try and conjure one from the mists of memory just seems counterproductive to my process. but that's me. call it pride or a rabbit hole if you will. i just know what works for me. and if discussing particular instances is helpful for others, then more power to them as well!


i should say, in case this reads as too defensive, my main point is that if some folks aren't responding, it's not necessarily because they think they have never made nor are capable of mistakes. if there's one thing i'm fully aware and accepting of, it's my incredible capacity to fuck things up. ;)
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby PaGeN » December 26th, 2012, 3:47 am

I am with Jordan on not all of us are doing comedy.

1) I was upset before a class show once early in my training. I was pissed off at the notes my classmates were giving as we stood in th green room to go on. So I stood in the wings for the whole show. I am glad that happened in a class show early on.

Moral - Don't go on if you are not going to go all the way!

2) I totally screwed up a la ronde by going out before it was over. I did not even know I had done it until after the show. I felt like I had messed with my fellow performers and I felt very guilty and terrible while at drinks afterward. Ruby was there for something else and straightened me right out.

Moral - Pay Attention & then accept when you miss something and move on.

3) I new pushing the scene felt oogy (thanks Aden) and I did it any way. Kind of to see what would happen. It derailed the rest of my troupe mates in the story and forced a farce into a serious drama way too far in to the show.

Moral - As Aden said on Oogy - but also respect the show (and your partners) that is (are) there now.

4) I have had things come out of my mouth that I regretted and then did not call them out myself in notes. I think that is important to do more than we think. If you think something happened that you did that weirded you out, share it with your partners. Then they can say yes that was weird, yes that is improv, or what the hell is wrong with you? Sometimes if you leave it unsaid you drift toward "what the hell is wrong with you" even though it is just improv and/or a weird moment.

Moral - In Notes call it out so it does not stick with you - You are important to the dynamic.

That last one was a bit cathartic - I valued myself. Weird.

Thanks - Paul
User avatar
PaGeN
 
Posts: 131
Joined: March 14th, 2011, 9:55 pm
Location: Austin ish

Postby PyroDan » December 26th, 2012, 6:23 pm

Thanks for the posts, I just want to clarify why I choose this topic....

There is no finite path to follow to perform, enjoy, or learn from improv. So this is much more about the personal journey.

This isn't as much about the percieved mistake as what may have resulted from it.
- I was a member of the club and i felt like a f*cking fool- Bukowski
http://biglittlecomedy.weebly.com/
http://www.newmovementtheater.com
http://www.pdogs.com
User avatar
PyroDan
 
Posts: 347
Joined: August 25th, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: On Earth

Postby Spots » December 28th, 2012, 2:04 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:also worth noting, "comedy" isn't the journey all of us are on.


PaGeN wrote:I am with Jordan on not all of us are doing comedy.




All right.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby Spots » December 28th, 2012, 2:32 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:if discussing particular instances is helpful for others, then more power to them as well!



I'm making a connection it's more helpful in person when a student is struggling with something, for me to relate and give them a similar situation I found myself in. Give and take.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

PreviousNext

Return to Improv Theory & Practice

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron