“Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury
Rodin’s The Thinker is a powerful piece of art. But notice the posture: it’s downward, internal, closed off.
That’s great for contemplating quantum physics or dissecting Pearl Jam lyrics, but terrible for improv.
If you find yourself staring at the floor, or thinking about a scene, you’re in your head. So how do you snap out of it?
Start by breathing to get you back in touch with your body.
Jet Eveleth teaches an exercise that uses breath to reconnect you with your body and your character. Try it the next time you’re stuck on stage.
Inhale deeply and as you exhale, make a sound to accompany the breath. It could be “Aaaaaaaaaaah” or “Hhhhhuuuuuuuh” or “Whooooooooo” or whatever comes out spontaneously.
Use that breath and that sound to organically create your character’s response. For instance:
“Hhhhhhhhhhhow did you know it was my birthday?” (delight)
“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa thousand tulips? You ordered a thousand tulips for our wedding?!” (shock/surprise/fear)
“Ffffffffffffffffffffuck, I burned the risotto!” (anger)
By feeling your response, you’ll avoid overthinking.