Today’s longer story is the one that Johnstone told about wanting to teach himself to draw the human face. He read someone that said if you want to learn to draw the human figure, you should draw it 5,000 times. The more faces you draw, the faster you can learn to draw. 4,999 failures lead to a success. He also said that at his age he feels it might take 15 or 20,000. So, he said that he is up to about 400 attempts to draw Dylan Thomas’ face from a photograph. His first wasn’t too bad, but his second was terrible. Each time he has a successful drawing, the next 30 or so are bad and then get better.
To get better quickly, fail quickly. Just keep going.
It can be fun to bore the audience for a bit.
To make a successful show, know what you just saw and do something else.
There are no good ideas or bad ideas in the abstract; they are just good or bad in context.
Oh, and cukebrian, you missed his comments about Star Trek and Star Wars.
In any form of entertainment, the audience doesn’t mind watching someone walk down a street, but they are waiting for that person to meet someone. Anytime a person is alone, people are waiting for that person to meet another person.
Improvisers should move.
Open your eyes wide when you walk on stage. This will cause the audience to open their eyes wider and put them in a more positive and accepting mood.
“I like variety, not consistency.”
We go on stage to make relationships, not to make people laugh.
The stage is a place of danger as much as skiing or hang gliding are dangerous. If you decide to improvise, take risks. It is of little value if you don’t.
We have been taught to laugh before other people if we do something embarrassing to prove that we know we made a mistake. Unnecessary. Just stop caring if you make a mistake.
If you are always onstage looking for a better idea, you are improvising badly.
Scared people try to outsmart the audience. Not a good idea. The audience is always right!
Bore the audience to gain power. If you stay perfectly still for four minutes and then say something, what you say has huge power.
The rule of “Don’t ask questions” is just a crutch for beginners.
If you are a bad improviser, go onstage to help out and make the other improvisers look good. If you work hard at that, you will eventually be one of the good improvisers.
Sometimes getting brain damage releases an unknown talent. If the censor part of the brain is gone, all the interesting parts of the brain are free to come out.
There is a lot of room for bad actors. Where would we be without William Shatner as Captain Kirk? I wouldn't want to see Olivier as Kirk, he would be terrible. Not every part requires acting anyway. Some parts are just nothing. If you are Obi Wan Kenobi you get lots of money and do fuck all. The world doesn’t need only great actors and all parts don't require great, or any, acting.
Change is what the audience remembers the next day. They may have a good time, but if there are no changes in the characters they will not remember it. It is just light entertainment and isn’t there enough of that?
I used to read plays for a living. I read thousands where I crossed out every page as I looked for a single change in any character. Let your characters change one another! That is story.
If you are mirroring activity, you are just working together to keep things from happening.
The audience comes to improv for a display of courage.
If you bring your social self to the stage, you have to think of things to say. Be different on stage. Let go. Be fearless.
Discussion of scenes after a show is poisonous and a waste of time. Just let everyone give their opinion so that people know how everyone feels.
Improvisers need to be actors, comedians, and storytellers.