This year, I returned to acting. I studied theater in college and worked both sides of the camera when I came to Hollywood. This time around, a remarkable number of things fell into place. I rejoined SAG-AFTRA and started meeting amazing people. Much of it led me to improv – specifically at IO West in Hollywood – which has been an amazing, thrilling, challenging and super fun experience.
One of the “enemies” of good improv is plot. How’s that for a novelist and screenwriter? Challenging, to understate the case. The task in improv is to kill plot. What???! You’re asking a writer to forget all about plot?
And I look forward to seeing how playing with improv impacts my writing from here on.
In addition to class, nine of us have formed a troupe, Monsters & Mermaids. We performed our first public show last Saturday as part of the L.A. Indie Improv Festival. It went well and we had a blast doing it.
Here are some of our notes from rehearsals:
- Begin with who are you, where you are and what you want
- Let your imagination do the work
- Have a specific “want” at the beginning of each scene
- Create the physical environment to ground the scene
- Be specific and rich with details of both character and the environment
- Think about what your character does, why they do it and how they do it
- Establish the character’s agenda before the story; let the characters and their relationships develop first.
Hmmm, not so different from writing when it comes down to it.