If you're new to improv, read on. Basically you just bring your personality to the table. Respond to others like you're having a conversation.
Those in improv groups support and back each other up. Ego is tossed aside. They want everyone to succeed in their performances.
When you think improv, comedy comes to mind. But most improv doesn't set out to be deliberately funny. Just like real life, comedy is often a result of natural situations, not planned ahead - unless you're focus is improv comedy and you're at the top of your game like those on Whose Line Is It Anyway?
So, just be yourself. The mix of different personalities will produce some unique comedy, or drama, or a combination of both!
Here's some tips from a couple of pros ...
• Rule #1: Say YES - Always agree to what was just said.
• Rule #2: Yes AND - First agree, then add something new.
• Rule #3: MAKE STATEMENT - Help add to the solution, not make the problem bigger with questions.
• Rule #4: There Are NO MISTAKES - Everything said is an opportunity for someone else to respond.
Read a full-page breakdown of the 4 Rules; an excerpt from her book "Bossypants". [ Show ]
1-hour interview of Fey talking about her book.
Keegan-Michael Key describes improv not as "looking forward", but as "walking backwards", ie. zooming out to see the full picture.
Key expresses the importance of supporting your fellow improvisers and how ego can kill a scene.
This is one of my favorite shows. So much insight and nuggets of acting wisdom from celebrities. Photographer Sam Jones creates a relaxed environment, and the black and white visuals, coupled with Sam's inherent ability to just listen attentively makes for a unique viewing.
This allows his guests to really reflect deeply on various aspects of their lives and careers, unlike any other interviews I've seen before.
For full episodes, catch on offcamera.com or Netflix.
While improv is typically funny, it doesn't have to be. There's an ebb and flow of comedy in improv (esp longform) that can dip into the realms of serious drama. It takes the audience on more of a rollercoaster of emotions than flat train ride.
Be yourself, don't try to be funny. Play it real. How would you react if you were in this situation in real life. It's about listening. Let go of any plans you have in your head (esp trying to land a planned joke) about how the scene is going to turn out and just respond to what the other person just said.
Analogizes improv to basketball. Support your team mates. Pass the ball. Help them when they're in trouble. Set them up, or be ready for them to set you up to shoot the basket, aka respond with something great.
"Great improvisers are writers, not just actors". Jokes work when they serve the story. Making a joke for the sake of a joke may land flat on its face. But a joke that has context in relation to the story will have been earned and be more likely to get a laugh.