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Interesting Things: Movie Maggie’s Plan, Dan Ariely Video.

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I saw the movie Maggie’s Plan, and I enjoyed it immensely! Great movie! Woody Allen-esque. If you like Woody, you will like this style of movie. Talky but smart. Good character work from everyone. Ethan Hawke is in it. Bill Hader is in it. The girl from SNL Maya Rudolph or something like that. I won’t google her name, she is in it. The woman from that other bunch of movies, great actress is in it. Anyways, really good movie, especially if you are into character acting.

Dan Ariely: this is a great talk, very insightful. Psychology and dating and relationships. Most of what he says is backed by science.  Many of the things he says are counter intuitive but at the same time valuable, useful.

What’s up guys! I have been busy, but here is an update.

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I just came back from a show at the Playground, I had fun, and on Monday I had class at the Annoyance with Bob Fisher, super nice guy 🙂

So I have been working on initiations lately, but Bob is trying to stretch us in terms of character range, so that’s going to be fun. CIC is still going strong, I am doing level 2 with Kyle Bethea and he is very good! Everyone in this community (improv community) is really good and there is a reason why they are where they are in terms of teaching positions and performing.

I have been dieting, since February I lost about 20 lbs, it’s pretty crazy. The only thing that works is counting calories and weights… that’s the key my friends. I may go into what I do for diet once I have more time. Also, I am reading the book Presence by Amy Cuddy, interesting book 🙂

I love the opportunity to play with my improv team, these people are awesome and I love them.

What I have been up to

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Anyways, I am feeling awesome so I thought I would write a little something about my improv happenings and other stuff.

So I am at Cic level 1 and I just signed up for annoyance ap5 coming up in late May I believe. I like this improv thing and I take it as a sort of school. I feel I am getting better at the being
real part of improv. I feel calm and in control in a lot of scenes. As is often the case, it’s hard to pin point how this breakthroughs happen. If you have seen me play and I sucked, I am sorry but I have been feeling good about myself in scenes.

Been dieting folks! This guy can’t afford to be too overweight at this stage of my life. I also want to look good in a tank top come summer, and rock a nice tank top and see Los Fabulosos Cadillacs at Ruido Fest.

This is it for now, if you are a hater I would like to wish you the best and a kiss on the forehead. Bye.

Sample 3 hour improv workshop

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Warm up (names + movement) around the circle. Verbal and physical. Then pass the name around.

Then the 2 steps behind warm up, first verbal (story) then physical (mirroring). Then both, verbal and physical.

Character development: leading with body part to create a character, what would that character think, etc.

Home, who, work, movement style.

Character interview.

Break.

3 line scenes.

2 person scenes (relationship + place).

Emotional reaction (heightening). Wants.

Themes, gifting, heightening, wants.

Object work. Sequencing.

3 person scenes (subdued 3rd character).

Matching point of view in 3 person scenes to make them into “2 person scenes”.

4 person scenes where each character knows how he / she feels about the other person.

Charades (knock knock).

4 square.

Freeze tag.

Back to Basics: Being Real

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One issue I have been having in improv is going to crazy places and unbelievable characters at the beginning of shows. Then Case, our MUD coach who had been seeing our shows, saw it and he had us do exercises to work on this issue. This is improv 101 I think, but we had to go back to the basics. React as you would normally react, as yourself, even in those imaginary circumstances. There is no need to create anything funny or a context that is funny.
When we start a scene and there is the impulse to justify something, to verbalize a relationship or verbalize what the issue REALLY is about, then we would do it, we should do it. It is helpful to start “real” so that we can get crazier or funnier in the latter part of the show. This is what forms like the deconstruction or even the Harold are about: grounded scenes in the beginning to anchor the show, where we see normal human behavior. One could argue this is true of the whole show, but we have a license to be nuts later in the show, and not so much in the beginning of shows.

 

An exercise to work on this (hat tip to Case who introduced the exercise to us) is to have three players on stage, one in center stage who will give an improvised short monolog and two players on the sides (one in each side) would initiate a scene, one at a time (so as to make two person scenes), where the person who just gave the monolog would react as they would normally react as themselves. In the opening monolog, the person giving the monolog can talk about anything, with the only condition that he or she is him/herself giving the monolog, not a character. In the scenes that follow, the person that gave the monolog has a goal which is to stay as himself/herself and not to create anything too big as far as character. This exercise’s goal is to work on having more organic scenes at the beginning of shows.

 

Justifying: one of the things that we also worked on was to justify or make assumptions when one of the improvisers feels in his/her guts that a specific as far as context, relationship or underlying issue between the characters needs to be called out.

 

Feb 13 – Megan Johns Class – AP4

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What a fun class! I feel I am making progress and I am doing good work. The key for me is having an understanding of who I am as I go into a scene, once I do that, I am able to navigate the scene. Annoyance focuses on character based improv, and I am enjoying this approach a lot. Other schools of improv focus more on forms as opposed to Annoyance that focuses on individual performance. Anyways, I am having fun creating characters and acting 🙂

Annoyance Ap4, Feb. 6, 2016.

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image

6:59 PM
Nigel
What kind of stuff was covered today ?
Basically characters and keeping characters throughout the scene, physicality, accents, phrases that the character may use again and again, etc.
I feel it’s basically a lot of what we have done with Jimmy Pennington.
7:53 PM
Claire
Yeah and lots of specificity stuff!
Nigel
Speeeeeehcifics! -Uhlir

Megan Johns class 1/30/16 – class 1 of AP4

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I enjoyed this class! Challenging but at the same time enjoyable and helpful.

Notes I got:

Do longer declarations rather than short verbal interjections.

Emotionality (I made up that word) should be more up/down rather than stable. Even-keeled is good and makes people want to play with me but also I should bring emotional variety.

Keep doing what I am doing in terms of physical characters (those were the best).

Some scenes need stakes raised.

Mostly we did a lot of scenes. One of the things that Megan emphasized was using all of the stage rather than the hotspot that most improvisers use.

Megan talked about coming with something for ourselves and then connecting with our scene partner, acknowledging the scene partner’s deal.