Monday 20 April 2015

Short Improv Quips #2

Sometimes you just gotta let go! This can be one of the hardest things to do when starting out with improv. There has to be so many things in place before someone can just let go and drop all their masks and take down their walls. It takes time, practice, a positive environment, and a willingness to work past where they feel comfortable. I love seeing breakthrough moments when someone just lets go of all the rules they create for themselves. When they allow themselves to play and be free of the weight of the world. When they feel they know the “rules” enough to just toss them to the wind and go for broke. This is a major moment and should be rewarded with praise. In this moment you won’t see the best scene work or even an actor in control but it is the letting go that is important.

This can also be said for those improvisers that are out of control completely when they start. They should be rewarded when they are able to maintain control in a scene for the first time and really using all the skills they have learned. These are both equally great breakthroughs.

It takes team work to do a solo scene. WHAT!?! Let me explain. Let’s say you are all on stage performing a long or short form show. Someone steps on stage to start a scene. What normally happens is within 3 seconds someone else comes on to join the scene and offer “help”. Sometimes you’ll then get more entering to “help” the scene. Before we know it we have a stage full of improvisers all making offers, crowding the stage. It’s not just the improvisers on the sides that cause this. Sometimes the person who starts the scene will call out of the scene for help by asking where a character is or they give an air of self doubt that will instantly make someone come in. Trust is a hard thing to build in a group.

We all want to be on stage playing and having fun. We are also all very polite and want to help out. The thing is that in order for a solo scene to happen we have to really look at a situation and decide what the right choice is at that moment. We need to make an educated choice bigger than just “Does this scene need me?” Sometimes the right choice and the way to help are to stay out of a scene. Perhaps because the improviser on stage has it all under control. Maybe the tech has great music playing acting as a second improviser accompanying the scene. Or maybe the improviser that started the scene just needs faith in themselves and would benefit from being left out there to rock a solo scene. All of these choices could still possibly be the wrong one but it takes a good improviser to look at a scene and see the whole picture rather than just saying to themselves “Man I have a funny idea to add to this!”

Anyone can attempt improv. Can anyone be good at it? This is a big question with many different opinions. I believe that anyone who has a willingness to work at improv, take notes and challenge themselves can get up on stage and perform. Will they be the best at it? Well they will be the best they can be if they apply themselves. Perhaps to some they will not be a “great” improviser. This judgment of skill and performance is an interesting topic as well. What makes a “good” improviser……”good”?

I believe a good improviser is one that spends time working at their craft. Commits to the work and doesn’t get bogged down by the challenges they face. Also they help support a healthy group dynamic and nurture others so they can learn and be pushed in a positive way.

I think it’s all about people’s perspective. Anyone can be an improviser. How they gauge their success is up to them. As long as they are happy with their accomplishments then that is all that counts. Is everyone meant to be an improviser? No. Can anyone learn the work and perform if they are willing? Yes. Should everyone let a little improv into their lives? Yes. Can you set personal goals and strive for them? Absolutely. Don’t let others decide if you are successful or not. That is for you to decide.

Spending time together off stage creates great dynamic onstage. Keith Johnstone said this during a workshop I attended. “If you have a problem with someone or something they did, you talk to them about it at the pub.” I know personally I have made choices for casting new improvisers after the audition based on conversation at the pub. It’s like the audition is the first date and the pub is the second. They are much more themselves when they don’t think they have eyes on them. Also it allows me to see if I want to spend hours and hours with them. Do they jive with the rest of the group? I’ll also ask more questions to gauge where they are as performers and where they are in their life journey.

The work we do is very intimate and really can allow us to be open and ourselves. Really let our guard down. I feel though that when you are working together it is hard to really get to know each other fully. 

Outside of workshop can be like when you attend a staff party and see people for the first time with their regular day clothes on. Everyone lets their hair down a little and is much more at ease. When we are relaxed and at ease without fear of judgment we are much more ourselves. We should hopefully be building relationships outside of just working ones. This is such a social art form that it would be a shame to not take advantage of it. I've also heard you should try and have other interests besides improv. I’ll let you know how that goes.

To improvise you should try being controlled, alert and positive. I believe that the state of ready is where you should be as soon as the show starts. I do a lot of ball exercises because as soon as you walk into a circle with one, the whole group adjusts and gets ready in case the ball gets thrown to them. This is understood before a word is spoken. This state of ready is what you should try and maintain to the best of your ability during a show. I do not drink or do drugs before shows because it seems to throw off my timing and I don’t like feeling altered while on stage. Some performers need something like a drink or other influences to feel ready. I say to each their own on that front.

The other thing is that you should try to come into the theatre with a clear head free of the stresses of the day. Outside influences can easily affect a show in a negative way. You will be a much more useful member to the team if you are in a positive state and ready to play. There are always uncontrollable factors that can mess up your mood but we need to learn to do our best and leave it at the door or in the green room.

Lastly being in control of yourself is very important. An actor out of control is so dangerous to other performers. I have been hit multiple times by out of control improvisers. This can be caused by nerves and anxiety in newer performers. We try to have a good warm up and group connection before each show so that we are all in the same energy walking on stage. This can’t always be done so I usually recommend improvisers come ready or find ways in their lives to prepare before even getting to the theatre. Everyone will need something a little different.

 Keep it simple. We sometimes have smaller crowds at our theatre. The last thing they want is to be punched in the face with energy and a crazy dragon scene that makes no sense. Keep it simple and focus on the audience’s energy and play strong relationships with simple stories that make sense. Also make an offer and see how it lands before drowning your scene partner under crazy offer after crazy offer. Just keep it simple.

Prepare for the worst so you can play your best. This is from my martial arts influence. Fighters train for months before fights. They push themselves physically and mentally to breaking points. They prepare for battle and are ready for the worst case scenario. Some say that all that training is so that once you step in the ring or cage you can finally just relaxed and play. All the preparation is done and now all the training is put to use.

As a director I try to push improvisers to a point where they struggle. Make them work harder than they ever will in front of an audience. Prepare them for the worst so that they know what it feels like to flounder and to work new skills and gain more confidence in themselves. It’s great when they realize that no one dies in improv (Not yet anyway) and that they can really work hard and fail. Then to fail and be okay with it. Then to seek out failure and see it as an opportunity for growth rather than linger on it and let it affect their learning. 

Monday 13 April 2015

Short Improv Quips

If you NEVER take spatula, it's not over done

If you have been doing improv for a few years you have probably heard someone yell out the suggestion spatula when asked for an object. A lot of improvisers have decided that they won’t take this because they hear it so much. Problem is that if we never take it then it’s not over used. The reason the audience is giving us spatula is because it sounds funny and they are trying to help us out. They figure that if the suggestion is funny we will have an easier time. It’s similar to why they always yell bathroom when asked for a room in the house. They want us to succeed and want to help us do it.

What we need to attempt to do is show them that no matter what we take from them we can turn it into something wonderful. When this happens they will feel that the pressure isn’t on them to help us and will give us a wider range of suggestions. They will also feel more at ease and can just enjoy the show.

If you are the last one to get the joke, you are doing it right.

Being completely in the moment and not planning where the scene will go will put you in this Zen like state. Everything will be flowing and all the work you have done up to that point will help everything run smoothly. You’ll be making educated improv decisions quickly and efficiently. You’ll be feeling good just like those nights you are in the bar with friends and you've had the perfect amount to drink and the conversation is flowing and everything feels so wonderful. Without a filter or worrying about what to say you can be just there in the present and enjoying every moment. This opens up the possibility to speak freely and have natural things flow out of you. When this is going on magic happens. This is the improv state we are all striving for. You will literally be the last to get the joke.

Of course this all comes crashing down the second you say “Oh my goodness, I’m in that Zen like thingy!” As soon as you acknowledge you’re in that state it all comes to an end. It will snap you out of it the second you notice that it’s there. 

Self doubt can either hold you back or help push and drive you forward! 

We are flaky artists that have massive highs and lows. We doubt ourselves and the decisions we make.  We doubt every step of the journey we have set out on in life. These doubts will do one of two things to us. 
  1.   It will make us work harder to get what we want and push us forward to success. During this we will be anxious and scared the entire time but it will make us move forward.
  2.  The other option is that it scares us into a hole where we stay and never jump off the cliff. It all boils down to fight or flight.

We are all scared and worried that we aren’t making the right choices. Its part of what we do in order to get better. We have to take chances and really put ourselves out there to grow. We are our own worst enemy and are way harder on ourselves than anyone else will be. Realize we are pretty great. Now get out there and be scared and happy

The love of it makes you tired and happy.

I’m sure we have all done a show where we were WAY beyond tired and hungry, had a day that kicked the sh*t out of us, felt ill to the point that we can’t hear or feel anything? Well why is it we do this? It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? We love this thing. We spend nights up sitting in the bar talking about the show until the ugly lights come on only to get up early the next morning and do it all again. Feeling passion for something seems to be rare for most. We work so hard and are exhausted all the time but wouldn’t change a thing. Getting better at our art form is what we want more than anything in the world even if it means risking our health.

I am now in my 30’s and have changed my view on this a little. I want to be able to do this for as long as I am physically able to. So I have started to take care of myself better. Eating right and drinking lots of water. I even started physical exercise. I am trying to find a balance between happiness and my health. I still never miss a show, workshop or night at the pub. I am just trying to be healthier going into all of it. 

You listen better with your ears, than you do with your mouth

A great improviser once said: “Your ears are the only one of your eyes, and mouth you can’t actually close or shut off.” We sometimes spend so much time talking that we don’t even hear someone right in front of us. This can happen for a couple reasons. Perhaps we are a newer improviser and our nerves get the better of us and we can’t turn off our mouth. Perhaps we feel that we need to be filling the dead air because we haven’t felt how wonderful and powerful the silence can be. We feel we need to come up with all the ideas and make all the offers because if we don’t then no one else will. It could also just be that we are an egotistical asshole. Whatever the reason, if we were to stop, take a breath and take some time to listen you will find out so much and actually realize that all the answers are in our partners.

We don’t ever have to come up with clever ideas or be the funniest person on the stage. Our partners are there and equally invested in the scene. Bounce things back and forth between the two of you and let the scene be whatever it needs to be in that moment between those two people. It will be much more rewarding than one person driving the crap out of the scene and doing all the work and talking. 

An amazing improv show doesn't necessarily translate to video all that well. 

How many times have you recorded a show that was AMAZING on the night it was recorded only to have lost all its magic when you go back and watch it later? I think part of this could be that you don’t have the audience’s energy being captured. The back and forth between the audience and improvisers is such a huge part of live theatre. Without it you definitely lose some of the power that the show generated. Another thing is that most little improv theatres or cafes improv is performed in can be dark and noisy. This makes it hard to get great footage.

On the other side of it, I have been involved in improv shows that were set up for filming. What ended up happening was the audience was way behind cameras and everything was super bright. I like the closeness and intimacy of us and the audience with nothing in the way. Some like to hide in the darkness and just watch the show. Also when you film and polish improv it takes away some of its beauty. Its beauty partly comes from its imperfections and rough edges. The audience there in that moment gets to discover the show along with the improvisers as it goes along. For some reason this just can’t be captured on film. Perhaps as technology and fun new ways to film come around we will get there. 

Without an audience it's a workshop 

Work hard and play even harder. Workshops are called WORK shops because this is the time when you should be fine tuning your craft. You and your director can really break down your skills and see what you need to work on as an individual or ensemble to help you grow. You will hopefully be pushed farther then you feel comfortable in these sessions. A director’s job is to push you to a failure point to show you where you are at and what you can work on. There is always more to learn. Your director will be way harder on you then any audience so once you get there you can’t help but be better.

So now that the work is done, you need to get up and do a show in play mode. This is time to test the newly found skills. You should no longer be working. It is important to only play to the skill set you have at that time. Keith Johnstone says it best, “If you are a bad improviser but know how to say yes and then go out there and be a bad improviser saying yes and. If you go out and try to be a good improviser you will fail.” 

Friday 6 March 2015

A Time to Say NO

I realize this post is not just about improv. I am using what I know and what I do day to day to write it.

Like in everything we do there are people that take advantage of power. They use their position to get what they want and not always in a good way. In a drive for success we find ourselves putting up with certain things or not telling people to leave us alone in fear that we will burn bridges. This is especially true when we are taught and programmed in improv to say “yes” and to be over accepting of others and our partners. I guess this is why this makes me especially mad. I feel like I have been teaching the “YES AND” ideals and then sending people out to be groped without the proper tools to protect themselves.

I have also heard and seen situations where newer improvisers who were not completely comfortable or confident on stage end up going along with awful scenes or ideas because they were scared and not present enough to realize what was happening right in front of them. Nerves make us miss things and can leave us in bad situations.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable on or off stage you have the right to say $#@& off. This seems so straight forward but often in this art form that teaches saying yes and the fear of being ridiculed by our peers we stay silent and put up with it. Sexual harassment and bullying seems to be something that affects a ton of improvisers in all communities but is rarely spoken about. There seems to be a quiet murmur in the bars and back rooms but not openly talked about. These inappropriate acts are being committed by people in power positions as well as unexperienced improvisers that don’t have control. It’s also happening because some people are just plain old assholes. Maybe this will turn into a rant but I am tired of hearing about this happening. I guess I would hope I have a little bit of power to prevent this when I am aware of it.

Regularly in the pub talking to performers from my group and others, I hear stories about being physically intimidated or sexually harassed on and off stage. This can be such a tricky situation because no one wants to ruin a show by calling someone a pervert in front of an audience. So they walk off stage after the scene or show feeling awful and helpless to stop the bullying or harassment. The usual response is to grin and bear it. As my network grew, I started to see and hear about more times when people were made to feel uncomfortable and even sexually harassed. When I ask them what they did I hear the same answers over and over. They did nothing in fear of what would happen if they did say something. I have even had people tell me that they didn’t want to make ME upset when someone was making them uncomfortable during a workshop or after………

All I could say was “just because we aren’t in the workshop room anymore and are at the pub does not give someone the right to be an asshole.” I want our community to feel safe no matter where we are. I am not really too sure what I expected to get out of this post but I wanted to say that there is never a time where you should allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. In your gut you know when something doesn’t feel right. I hope we start to find a voice so that we can speak up when someone isn’t treating us with respect no matter where or when it happens.

Why do people act like dicks sometimes? Well some are nervous and out of control. Just not able to see how they are affecting others on stage. Some use power to take advantage of people. Some are angry and scared. Some think improv workshops and shows are a way to pick up people. Some are just assholes. I have no problem pointing out to those that may just be unaware of themselves. When they are nervous they sometimes don’t realize their own strength or presence. They don’t realize they may be making those around them uncomfortable.

How do we deal with this sort of situation or these certain types of people? I think we as a community need to take a stand when we are aware of this happening. We need to help each other out and stop being silent in fear of banishment. Directors need to give strong performance tools so people know when things aren’t right and when it is okay to say no on stage. We need to learn to trust our gut and leave situations that make us uncomfortable. We need to learn how to be heard and expect respect.

You as an individual performer can also start to fill your tool belt with ways to deal with these situations. First say “NO” when you need to. Sometimes this is all it takes to let someone know to leave you alone. Find strength in your scenes and partners then protect them. I have talked about this in other posts.

 From: Contradictions #4 post.

       "Say yes and yet know when to say no.”

What do we do if someone comes in with a blind side offer or one that makes no sense at all with what our scene is about? I can sometimes be an aggressive performer when playing with asshole improvisers. I say it’s because I’m old and grumpy which I think is partially true. I also believe that I am very protective and like to take care of my scene and partner. I like to put my work in and hate to see it get plowed over by someone not paying attention, coming in with nothing to offer, or when someone is being a show boat. So I protect it by not always saying yes. Sometimes I think improvisers can be too polite and just say yes to whatever crappy offer gets thrown at them. They shouldn’t have to if they have a good foundation and are doing good work. Too easily do we just go with whatever is brought to us even when it makes no sense what so ever.

So we started seeing how we can own and protect our scenes. We hope this doesn’t happen often at our venue, but every once in awhile people come into scenes with nothing at all or aren’t paying attention to what the scene needs. I know I’m guilty of it. So without being a dink on stage we looked at ways to not give up our scene to someone just butting in. We looked at hosting techniques and physical changes as well as leaving the dink on the stage alone to deal with their mess.

Most improvisers felt a rush of satisfaction that they had not ever experienced. They felt good and strong. Not all felt positively, however, some actually felt bad. They felt as if they had done something wrong and rude to their fellow performer. When asked if the audience saw them looking rude or mean, the response was a resounding “NO”! When the improviser that was the dink was asked if they felt betrayed or mistreated, they also said no. So everyone was okay. No one died or was hurt emotionally. We should always be positive and be trying to move things forward, but that doesn’t always mean saying yes, despite improvisers being taught to always say “yes, and”. Sometimes we need to realize we are okay without everyone on stage. If we do our work and establish a ton fairly quickly then we don’t need someone plowing through or entering for no reason. You can ask them to leave.

This is a pretty big topic. I feel sometimes we just allow ourselves to be bullied. I am sure we can all think of a time where we felt dirty after a scene. Either because we came on and messed everything all up or that we had someone kill our scene. It was a very exciting and empowering exercise and is not over yet. We can be strong and not come across as an asshole.

Also trust your community and let people know if someone is making things uncomfortable for you. There may be something happening that directors are simply unaware of. It should be handled after that. It may come down to a certain someone being asked to leave and not come back. I have definitely had to do this more than once. Sometimes a stern talking to is all it takes but not always. Lastly if you aren’t finding help where you need it, then perhaps you will need to look for another group. There is a ton of improv companies out there. I think you should let people know why you are leaving so that they understand if the acceptance of this behavior continues then they will lose more players. Improviser’s confidence and strength come from playing in a safe fun environment. That’s where we do our best.

Now I know this is a post that some might feel is a little over the top and perhaps for some seem unnecessary, but I really am tired of assholes using improv as a way to be all pervy and shitty to other humans. Anyway, I ranted and feel like I said my piece. You want to ever really see me fired up just talk to me about this topic at the pub! 

Wednesday 24 September 2014

To Conflict or Not to Conflict?

We were focusing on the middle of scenes in workshop this week. We were looking at possible tilts, breaking the routine, and at what techniques can move the action forward. An improviser asked me if what I wanted to see was conflict. I, without hesitation, responded with a resounding “NO”. I have always avoided teaching conflict in scenes, especially when teaching newer improvisers. I do this because conflict makes me feel gross when I watch it. After the improviser asked me, he followed it up with, “Why not?” I blinked and with a blank stare started talking to see if I would find an answer mid speech. I knew I didn’t like conflict but hadn’t looked or explored closely at why I disliked it so much until that moment.
I believe it was Keith Johnstone that said, “The reason people love to watch improv is because it’s the only time you can see people getting along and working together rather than fighting and arguing.” We as people move easily to conflict. We do so mostly out of fear. When we get scared we tense up and protect ourselves. In fact we tend to over-protect ourselves to the point that we become negative, defensive and gravitate to conflict. So when working with newer improvisers I attempt to create a warm and welcoming environment in the hopes that they can relax and hopefully start what I like to call “happy and healthy” scenes.
I’ve been saying to improvisers a lot lately that they should “find their fun” on stage, or that they should figure out what they truly enjoy about improvising. This is all in the hopes that they naturally avoid conflict because they are having fun and, by extension, feel comfortable. This unfortunately doesn’t always work. It’s amazing how many times I’ve watched an improviser pretending to have fun in a scene. They sound sarcastic and are awkward to watch.
Most adults who are learning to improvise pretend to have fun rather than just simply having fun. Improvising as an adult is not as easy as you might think. I would argue that one of the hardest challenges is learning how to break through all the rules with which the world beats us down. Having fun can be scary for adults because it reveals a part of us that we are conditioned to believe is “childish”. Having fun means taking a risk by being genuine rather than performing. In some ways, improv can result in a more genuine presentation of ourselves than what we call “real life”. Makes you wonder whether we perform more on stage or in real life.
This is not to say that good improv cannot come from a scene with an improviser who is still learning to “find their fun”.  What I love most about seeing someone on stage pretending to be happy or pretending to have fun is that it creates a really fascinating dynamic between themselves and another improviser who is more comfortable on stage . All it takes is for one or both to notice the genuity and ingenuity of their characters and play to the true relationship dynamic. A player being disingenuous is such a huge amazing offer whether they intended it to be one or not.
Side note: Dynamic is a big focus of mine. I am as of late heavily exploring three different levels: real true dynamic between the improvisers, dynamic between the two characters and lastly the dynamic between the improvisers and the audience. There is so much to explore there and it really creates meaty scenes when you become aware of these dynamics. This is usually established in the first couple offers made in the start of a scene and can really help secure a strong platform off the hop.
There has been conflict scenes I have actually enjoyed. What makes them different? The conclusion I have come up with is that one or both of the improvisers were strong enough to look at subtext hidden under the disagreement in the scene. They were able to dissect the scene enough to have the conflict be important and focus on what was “really going” on in the relationship. They played to their relationship dynamic, rather than relying on the surface conflict to carry the scene. When we have two people on stage that do not play present enough to see the relationship dynamic, they miss the subtlety that is there. They argue and block the offers from moving forward.  They get into fight or flight mode and it turns ugly. You cannot be present in a scene if you are in panic mode. Fear will paralyze you.
Fun, however, enables you. Play makes you stronger and more confident. And with greater strength and confidence comes a sense of calm and comfort that allows you to be present and to see under the skin of a scene and to understand the intricate nervous system at work underneath.  
In our next class I am going to start to dissect conflict and attempt to create a safe environment to explore this part of an improv scene. There are certain tools we can use to help us if we end up in a conflict scene. I have performed in many shows where I am playing with someone who goes on the attack and stops listening to their scene partner; when an improviser becomes defensive or uncomfortable it can be difficult to recover the scene. I believe that by looking closely at where their anxiety is coming from, and by paying close attention to what’s underneath the conflict, we can do grounded scene work that is enjoyable for both audience and improviser.

Gauge Your Improv

You have been doing improv a little while. You may have done a hand full of shows, or at least attended enough classes that you lost count. You may have been doing improv for years and years with a thousand shows under your belt. Have you checked in to see where your skills are lately? Self evaluation is a pretty hard thing to pull off. We usually look to instructors or directors to keep us on track and let us know where we are with our development. That or we are just so hard on ourselves that we don’t do anything except beat ourselves up which doesn’t get us further ahead at all. At some point you need to look inward and be able to truly check in with where your skills are using an unbiased opinion.

Let’s start by looking at a couple ways we should probably avoid using as an indicator of our skill level. Firstly, audience laughter shouldn’t be used as a gauge for success in improv. Many well known improvisers have written articles and blogs about this topic so I won’t go into it too much.  Basically if you are basing your skills on laughter alone you will not push yourself as a well rounded performer. There are so many different elements to improv that it does not have to be all about the comedy. I like to think that an engaged audience leaning forward on their seats are more powerful than a laughing audience. Now that being said, if you are in it to make people laugh and it is working then all the power to you. You should try to get out of performing improv whatever you are looking for. I applaud people that find what they need and strive to do more of it.

Sometimes listening to family, friends and other improvisers right after a show can be dangerous. They usually all say the same thing, “Great show you’re great”. I’m guilty of patting someone on the back and saying good job when I didn’t mean it. I have tried to correct this by being more honest if time and appropriateness allows it. Another method to start an honest conversation is by asking the improviser how they thought the show went. (I try to sound neutral and happy when I ask). See where they are. I find the trend is that they will be either really negative or very na├»ve to how the show actually went. If it seems appropriate and I have a good relationship I may engage in a discussion about the show in general to talk about some of what I saw good and bad. I never give notes about a show or improviser unless I was asked or that improviser is a student of mine
I know for myself after a show is a tricky time for being focused. I am still buzzing from the excitement and when someone compliments me it is hard not to say something negative about how the show went. I am constantly picking a show apart as a director and performer. I need to remember that they may not know all the ins and outs of improv and have just come to be entertained. This can leave a sour taste in an audience member’s mouth when they truly enjoyed the show. We are all guilty of this. We sometimes need to just say thank you and give weight to the compliment. If they had a good time and enjoyed the show then they enjoyed the show.

So how do we gauge ourselves? Well this can be done in a few different ways. One thing I am now trying to do is look at a show as a whole. I start with asking myself, what went well. Then I attempt to be a little more constructive by asking myself what could have worked better. That wording is important. It is not what didn't work. You got through the show so it all worked in some capacity. So what could have worked better is how I word it. After a show when you have notes or on the drive home you could look at the show as a whole and then more specifically the individual scenes or games. There is always something that worked well and something you could use as a challenge for you to get better at.

That brings us to goal setting. If you set goals for yourself and really try to apply them, you will find it a great way to check in. I usually give myself a larger goal to keep in mind for a few months. Recently it  has been to do my best to make my scene partner the protagonist in our scene together, rather than take the role on myself. I have a tendency to play the protagonist. I do it easily so it became a habit to fall into. I found a larger and longer ongoing goal like this usually works better than a different goal before each show. Most of the time when you set a goal and then walk out on stage it leaves your mind and it isn’t until you get into the back room again that you remember what you were supposed to be focused on.

I have a group of improvisers that I work with for a 3 month term. What we start the term with is doing a bunch of scenes. Then with the class each individual will figure out a goal for themselves and spend the 3 months aiming for it and tweaking it as we progress forward. We check in with workshops to keep the goal present and alter it if need be. This will help in goal setting for them. Goal setting is an invaluable skill to apply to everything you do in your life. Looking inward and being able to evaluate yourself is not easy but you can flex that muscle and help it grow with putting it into practice as much as possible.