If you know one thing about improv it's the cultish repetition of two magic words "yes, and" repeated into oblivion by improv teachers around the world. As it should be. I'm not here to trash the power of "yes, and" and I think it's critical to the process of becoming a good improviser.
I am here to accomplish the not-so-simple task of defining what improvisation actually is, at least if you want to get something out of it for your real life. I won't bore you with an open-loop, here it is:
"You don't need to know how the scene ends, only how it begins."
Every new relationship, business idea or creative expression begins as an impulse, a shot in the dark that if followed will blossom into a new branch of your life from which you will stand on for the rest of your life. These principles create instant connection with others, increase your standing as a leader and magnet for others as well as allowing you to relax and be more yourself in high-impact situations, when it really counts.
What are these principles?
1. F#CK the audience
"F#CK the audience" is a rallying cry I tell myeslf when I know what I want to do but am scared to go chase my dream. And now my students love it and it gets shouted at me from across the street whenever I'm around Smolenska.
But that's not the main thing I teach, it's just the beginning, marketing, sales, an energizer to get us out of a space of self-judgement and to embrace failure and break a pervasive pattern in our society.
When you put yourself out there, people will judge you. You can spend your whole life trying to create a space where people won't judge you and you'll just tire yourself out (and maybe ruin western civilization in the process). Stop caring so much what other people think and you'll find life so much richer.
2. Everything you do is correct because you did it
Swing your arms around like a crazy person. Why? Because you did it. There is never a need to justify what you're doing and allowing the real reason to naturally emerge from the scene will be far more rewarding. In real-life this comes off as tension (the good kind) and those that can stick to their guns and handle the social pressure of standing-out will dazzle audiences and win minds wherever they go.
3. When you run out of action, return to the emotion
Part of the fun of improv is pretending to be Harry Potter and blowing up fake pots with magic wands. The chaos can be intoxicating but no matter how much fun we're having running around like chickens with their heads cut off it will get old eventually. You will get tired, the audience will get bored and what's left is 2 actors left on-stage frighteningly aware there are 100 people watching their every move.
But that's not all there is. There always exists between two people a dynamic, an energy, an emotion that you can return to and use to find the way. This is the single most profound thing in improvisation that will expand your life: realizing that the emotion between two people is your compass in the dark. We don't know how to do things. The good relationships, romantic and otherwise are those that take us places we couldn't have planned in advance. You can't write your own Disney fantasy ending, but you can live your own tale by simply following the energy of the moment, becoming more open and vulnerable without losing yourself to passivity or manipulation. When you are out of action, return to the moment. Breath, look her in the eye and say whatever leaves your mouth. Remember, it's always right simply because you did it.
4. Don't think, support
We're all in it together folks. If you see your friend doing something you don't understand, join him. If you look stupid at least you deepened the relationship, built intimacy and trust and opened your soul to connect with others on deeper and deeper levels.
Join us in Kyiv or online.
Improv gives you superpowers. It expands your intuition, gives you a frightening ability to connect with others and brings experiences to your life that others simply read about. But it takes about a year to develop, so if you want to be superman in 2020 the time to start is now. Schedule a discovery call today!
You don't need to know where you're going, all you need is to begin.