I stumbled across a video recently by Writer/Artist, Austin Kleon.
(If you don’t know his work, stop reading right now and get yourself a copy of Kleon’s book, Steal Like An Artist.)
In the video, called Chain Smoking, Kleon suggests that if you tend to feel blocked between creative projects, try taking something from the project you just finished to kickstart the next.
“Cool,” I thought. “I’m gonna steal this for improv.”
I’ve lost count of the shows I’ve done where we all agreed to do a montage/Harold/other format, only to sputter and hesitate after five or six scenes, unsure of what to do next.
By using something from the previous scene to start the next one, you’ll keep the momentum going.
It can be a character, sound, gesture, location, catchphrase, or anything that inspires you.
If you want to get really creative, Dave Sawyer of Improv Boston teaches a technique called a “Snatch Edit.”
Let’s say you’re on the sidelines, and someone on stage is miming a pen. You can edit by walking on and “snatching” the pen, then using it for something else.
Maybe you use it to write in your diary, or sign a contract, or practise your autograph.
You can also “stretch” the mimed object. Maybe it morphs into a cigarette, a baton, a surfboard, or a light sabre. It’s up to you.
Of course, this is just one approach.
As long as you’re inspired by the previous scene, you’ll prevent the set’s energy from dropping, and you’ll also find that things organically come back.
To watch the video, click below.