Category Archives: comedy

Improv 101 Lesson 2: Listening

If you missed lesson 1 of my improv 101 you can click below.

Lesson 1

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Lesson 2: Listening

When you are on stage, listening is vital because your scene partner is giving you all sorts of good information, and if you are hearing them, your scenes will be great. Using all your senses on stage is important. Watching every twitch of a scene partners eye to a smirk on their face. What they are offering you is a gift. If we learn to listen and watch them, we take the focus of of us. We don’t worry about what we are going to do or say. Our job as an improviser is clear. No pressure. Here are some examples that might occur that would hinder your scene.

Not Listening Example. 

Player 1 “Harriet, here are the Wilson files. ”

Player 2 “I love these flowers”

Player 2 totally disregarded what player one was giving them. Player 1 said the object was files. Player two said the object was flowers. This will cause confusion on the stage.

Not Listening Example 2

Player 1 ” Honey the babies are coming, and I need to go to the hospital”

Player 2 ” I wished we could have a baby.

Player 1 ” I’m pregnant right now.”

Player 2 ” We should get pregnant.”

Player 2 is obviously not listening to what Player 1 said.

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Correct Listening response 1.

Player 1 “Harriet, here are the Wilson files. ”

Player 2 “Mrs Parker, I will put these court files back in the cabinet, and we will keep them just in case the come back with more false claims against Barbecue Grill.”

Player 2 just made it clear that these files were court documents, and the Wilson family had caused some trouble at the Barbecue Grill. Not only did she listen to her scene partner, she added information. Because Player 2 had Listened to what her scene partner was saying, they began creating a beautiful scene together.

Correct Listening response 2

Player 1 ” Honey the babies are coming, and I need to go to the hospital”

Player 2 ” The bag, the bag. I need to Breathe. hee hee, i mean you need ot breathe”

Player 2 has listened affirmed player 1 and pushed this scene forward by becoming panicked.

 

Incorrect Listening response 2

Player 2  enter the scene. Player 1 is already on stage slamming cabinets and stomping around the stage. Player 1 has a scrunched up face. Player 2  enter the scene.

Incorrect response by Player 2 directed toward player 1.

Player 2: I am glad that we decided to spend my birthday here at the zoo today, and I love these animals.

Player 1 has already established that he is inside in a room with a kitchen, and Player one is not looking at animals. Player 2 is not listening to Player 1. Player 2 is saying no by not taking what Player 1 has already established. It confuses the audience, and leads Player 1 to have to make a choice.

 

 Player 1 may not choose to drop anything and say.

“WE are not at the zoo, we are at home, it’s not your birthday and I’m mad.”

If Player 2 comes back with

“Yes we are at the zoo”

This just creates an argument. It creates a lot of negation.

This is how the scene could be less confusing. 

How could Player 1 respond correctly

Player 1 could say to  Player 2

“You are not authorized to be behind the lion cages, where we store medicine and food”

This could fix the confusion, and get yes and started up again.

Correct Listening Example 

But to eliminate all confusion, it could go something like this.

Player 2  enter the scene. Player 1 is already on stage slamming cabinets and stomping around the stage. Player 1 has a scrunched up face. Player 2  enter the scene.

Player 2  Samantha, If you are looking for your Frosted Flakes, I ate them and they were sooooo good.

Player 1: You. I’m telling mom.

By listening now we have a relationship and a scene that can push forward and build into something great.

Improvising is about building great scenes that develop relationship through yes and and listening.

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Be Alive!

 

I’ve been working a lot lately, and I really do love my job.

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I love the people I work with, and I love watching people learn about the

past,

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, presentimg_1606

and future of space travel.

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I love meeting people from all over the world, and I love hearing stories of people that worked on getting man to the moon.

As much as I do love my job, I haven’t been doing a lot of creative work. I haven’t been feeding my inner artist. I haven’t been writing, improvising, and I really miss it.

Today, I headed out to the library, and I bought some used plays,

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and I’m going to try to find some new monologues to begin to work on. I have dusted off my most recent screenplay and I’m going to get back to working on it. I’m trying to remind myself on a daily basis to feed the artist that lives inside of me. I don’t want to loose the skills that I’ve developed over the last twelve years.

Also, I am happier when I create.

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As an artist, when you create, you feel more alive. So, I hope that soon, I will be back on stage, behind a camera, or in front of the camera giving the performance of my life. I hope that I can keep the creative candle burning. I hope I can always remember that whether I am working at my day job, or creating art that I effect people. I hope that I approach life not just barely existing, but alive.

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Distinctive Daughter!

According to Google,  Magna cum laude means :
mag·na cum lau·de
  1. with great distinction (with reference to college degrees and diplomas).
Even though we didn’t know that our oldest daughter Holly would graduate from UAB  Magna Cum Laude, it was no surprise to us.
Her first word outside of Dada and mamma, was necklace.
At 28 months, a friend of ours, Jill, tested holly’s language skills for her master’s degree. She was already 2 1/2 years. Meaning at 2 years old, she spoke like a four year old.
Not only did she speak well, she always was witty, and remembered things. There are so many stories about Holly that I could tell you, but there are two I will talk about on today’s post.
When she was five, she was reading out of a kid’s joke book as I was driving down the road. She said to me “What did the river say when  a rock was put in it?”  I told her I didn’t know. She said “I’ll be dammed.” The funny part of this story is that she said it with the correct inflection on the word dammed.  Making it a cuss word as a  posed to the act of one damming up a river.  I did almost wreck my car that day.
When she was seven, we were playing catch phrase with family during the holidays. Holly wanted to play. I whispered to her if she didn’t know the word that came up just to go to the next word. As it got to her turn in the round, she took the disc game, and immediately said the Valley where dead heroes go. We all had no idea, and assumed that she didn’t know that she was talking about as she was just seven. She repeated herself. Finally, someone said Valhalla. She said yes, and passed the disc. We were all where amazed. Then, at the end of the round. We asked her, where she had learned about such a place. She told us it was on Hercules. She then looked at her grandma, and without missing a beat said ” see grandma, you can learn things by watching tv.” We all died laughing.
The point of these two stories is that Holly has always been witty, smart, and adaptable. No matter if she is talking to a five year old
or an 86 year old.
She can speak to anyone and have a conversation.
So you can see why that we weren’t surprised that she graduated with such a high honor. Even though we may not be surprised, we are definitely proud of her. She has worked so hard.
We love you Holly and Congrats!

My First Sketch Project!

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While doing improv one night several years ago, I came up with this sketch about a disappointing birthday. I ended up filming it in 2013. It became known as

The Birthday Party!

I had so much fun working on this project from start to finish. The beauty about this fun shoot was the ending changed on set. It was a beautiful process with a great cast, and crew. It was shot at a local studio in Huntsville called Hollywood Huntsville. Here are some  More  screen shots.

 

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