I’ve usually used the word “justification” to refer to how to explain seemingly incongruent information. I’ve always preferred “motivation” or “objective” in describing character wants, but that starts to sound an awful lot like Acting which us improvisors are pretty scared of. So Justification it is. The problem is that my definition is pretty much how Justification gets treated: It’s an explanation, which is an end, and not an exploration, which is a beginning.
So how do we find our place to start? What do we do after we make our brilliant initiation of painting a fence? The easiest way I’ve found to come up with your “why for a why” is this: Make everything about Life or Love. And you’re either trying to get more of it, or get rid of it.
More Life. Less Life. More Love. Less Love.
That is how high our stakes should be. Take any action and assign it one of those vectors. Let’s take painting a fence. More Life. The fence protects the character from harm. Less Life. He’s walled himself up, waiting to die. More Love. He’s got the love of his life trapped inside the enclosure with him. Less Love. He’s shutting everyone out.
And what we notice, I’m sure, is that we can always dig deeper. These are great places to start; the stakes are high and the path is clear. And additional actions that fit our want will easily be revealed to us. Humans are complex creatures, and it might not always be possible or necessary to see exactly how complex in the course of a 2-minute scene. But we know that we can always explore our wants more. If we ever believe that we haven’t richly explored our character’s motivations enough, we’re probably right. We can do more.
Today I practiced with some folks from my 401 class. Our coach was Don Fanelli, who I must say is great. (Side note: I’m not sure he realizes it, but he uses a lot of Chicago-style language to gives notes through that game-oriented UCB lens. It’s great to hear a UCB guy talk about…
In May 2006, I had no confidence in my improv. After taking classes for a year-and-a-half, I felt like I was only getting worse at performing. I sent the following e-mail to some of the teachers and coaches I’d worked closely with at the time to seek their advice.
Advanced level performers will begin saying these thing in their head and turning their answers into the dialogue. Super-advanced performers are skipping that step and have already integrated this into their dialogue.
There is a lot of talk on Tumblr in the last few days about Harold Auditions (I assume they’re happening in NY soon?). So as someone who watched literally thousands of people audition for UCBT NY Harold Teams over the last few years and as someone who can now speak frankly because I have nothing…
Over the last five days or so, I have had a series of practices where I have finished coaching and just felt inspired. I don’t think is me. It’s the teams I have the pleasure of spending time with. The whole “improv thing” is buzzing in my head right.
I’ve seem to be hitting writer’s block far too often now. My grade in my creative writing class is suffering because i don’t turn in anything because i’m never really satisfied with anything i do. all my good ideas seem to turn into bad ones once i write it down. How do you get pass writers…