“Let’s say you shook hands with 20 people today, and 19 of them shook your hand in a way you expect. If the 20th person shook your hand and then pulled you in close and licked your neck, you would remember it long after you forgot the other 19 people.”
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“I really believe in this work you have to want failure as much as you want success, to grow.” – Jet Eveleth
Need some improv guidance but don’t have time to delve into a book or podcast? Check out this video series from Paul Vaillancourt. The co-founder of iO West and a member of legendary improv team Beer, Shark, Mice, Vaillancourt shares what he’s learned from three decades of performing and teaching.
Topics include Getting A Suggestion, Starting A Scene, Status, and everybody’s favourite, The Thing About Pornography. Click here or below to watch.
“You don’t need that much. You don’t have to try so hard. If we look at the most successful scenes, they start off very simply. They’re not overly complicated. They’re not some sort of grand premise. It’s just taking the small things that we’re doing and making them into a fun scene.
It really boils down to paying attention to what you’re doing and what your scene partner is doing, and then investing in it. And then the scene is kind of given to you.
If you take that first 30 seconds of a scene, and really are patient, and you lay the information out and do small things, and make choices each time you either talk or do things, then the other information will come from that stuff. So then you’re not having to invent things; it’s just an expansion of what’s happening.
If you just really invest in those first few seconds of a scene, it’s all there for you. And you don’t have to overthink it. Just go back to being the monkey. Just go back to patting someone on the belly. Just go back to being the exhausted dad in an airplane. Because then you’re saying ‘yes’ to the things you’ve thrown out there, rather than trying to find what the scene’s about. The scene’s about that first moment.
It could be just someone just going ‘Phhhhht…’ That’s it. That’s all you need. That person is exasperated. That’s the scene.
We try to find the ‘best thing’ that the scene can be about, by discarding all these other things, and it’s like no, the scene is about a tired kid and her mom who wants her to go to church. Let’s invest in that and not try to invent anything else. Because things will just come out of your mouths, out of thin air, but they’re not. They’re actually coming from investment in the things you’ve created.”
“They talk about it in acting class: being in the moment. Where you’re not worrying about where you’ve been or what you’re doing; you’re right there. And I think that is vital to good acting, that it is…spontaneous.” – Christopher Walken
“Don’t go to the Moon; go to the centre of the Earth. It’s not about getting bigger, it’s about bringing more intensity.” – Alex Tindal
If you’ve just joined us recently, welcome! Below you’ll find some of our most-read topics to date, so pull up a bentwood chair and enjoy.
Harold/Long Form & Scene Work
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When you’re staring at the floor you’re not improvising, you’re inventing.
Look up. Everything you’re searching for is in the eyes of your scene partner.