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Improv 101 Lesson 3: No Questions Please!

If you missed the last lesson of this series of post, you can find it here. Lesson 2 

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Lesson 2: No Questions Please!

Here are several reasons you should avoid questions when you are beginning in improv. Questions often don’t give information, they often don’t push the scene forward, nor do they take care of your scene partner.

To Many Questions

Let’s set the premise a scene where all one player does is ask questions.  Player one is already home and is sitting down reading a book. Player 2 enters the scene.

Player 2: What are you doing?

Player 1: Reading a book about gardening.

Player 2: Why?

Player 1: I thought it would be great to plant a garden, instead of buying canned food.

Player 2: Where?

Player 1: Right out back, see this book talks about patio gardens.

Player 2 is asking questions without providing information. Player 2 doesn’t give information, doesn’t push the scene forward, and Player 2 doesn’t  take care of Player 1.

Let’s see the scene again after we take out questions

No Questions

Player one is already home and is sitting down reading a book. Player 2 enters the scene.

Player 2: Bob, I can’t believe you are reading about gardening again.

Player 1: Honey, this will be very helpful when I plant a garden out back. We can be healthier, and not eat processed food.

Player 2: You’ve been reading that book for 2 months now. It’s time to put the book down and start planting. I got all your plants in the car.

Player 1:Helen, I hope you bought a green thumb.

By eliminating questions, It makes our scene cleaner, and the pacing speeds right on up and get’s us moving forward.

As you advance in improv, you can learn to ask smart questions, but  avoiding them is still best.

So if you apply these three lessons, you can begin a great foundation for improvising. At least if you decide to go to class, you want be blind sided by what they are talking about.

 

 

 

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Improv 101 Lesson 1: Yes and…

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I have often mentioned improv on my blog here, but It has been awhile since I have went over the basics of improv. So I’ve decided over the next few weeks that I would write a short blog about some basics that  I would cover in my workshop normally. The first one is by far may be the most important for any beginning improviser, and it’s always good as a seasoned performer to revisit exercise that keep this in your tool belt.

YES AND

When you say no in your scene, it will only lead to nothing. Saying yes will keep your scene moving.

An example of saying no would go like this. 

Player 1:  “Bob, It is our duty as fire fighters to put out this fire on 8th Street. ”

Player 2:   “I’m a police officer. I have never been a fire fighter. ”

An example of saying yes would go like this

Player 1: “Bob, It is our duty as fire fighters to put out this fire on 8th Street. ”

Player 2: ” Yes Pete, I’ve got the truck ready, and I will drive.”

By saying yes and adding direction, this gives us more information and something to work with.

Say yes and

Not only say yes, but give something else to your scene partner by saying yes and

Ex. If your scene partner says 

Player 1: “We are going to the store.”

Player 2:  “Yes we are going to the store.”

Even though you yes to what your scene partner said, you didn’t add anything to help push the scene forward. By doing this, you put all the pressure on them to come up with everything in the scene.

An example of a correct response =

Player 1: Terry, we are going to the store.

Player 2: “Yes Mary,  we are going to the store, and since it is our 25th wedding anniversary, I am going to buy you a new Tiffany Diamond Ring.

This would lead to a fuller scene. It has affirmed and added more information. Now the two players are building a scene together, rather than, one of them doing it alone.

Playing scenes with Yes and is truly the easiest way to build a scene. You might think that it would keep conflict away, but it truly works and make interesting scenes. Starting out keep it simple. Say Yes And.

 

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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Principles to learn to be and effective Actor.

1. Listen to whose talking.
2. Affirm people if at all possible.
3. care about the other person.
4. Everyone needs to shine.
5. Give, Give, Give
6. It is not about you.

Kaitlin Chappell

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People and Chairs

The improv blog with attitude.

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educate-motivate-create

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Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

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