Improv Corner – Trust and Fear

“Fear can be created quickly, trust can’t” – Creativity Inc, Ed Catmull

It’s a new year which means a new decade and the popularity of improv does not seem to be slowing down, it facts its only getting bigger – pilots for improv television shows, an Impractical Jokers films set to be released and new TV shows in both the UK and USA – its obvious it’s pace is speeding up.

Whether you are an advanced improviser or a beginner, there are still rules and things that are important to both – Trust. The quote above is talking about making a film at Pixar however it is really relevant to Improv as well – you only perform your best when you are not in fear and trust the people and surroundings around you.

Now, this could be related to anything in the theatre, it is not all about improv but since I mentioned it, let’s start there.

Improv jams can be a scary place – especially when you are new to Improv (not always the case but the majority of times it is). Improvising with people you are not used to improvising with is nerve-wracking and it can cause fear because new people can improvise differently to you and you may go for a different approach.

Whilst Jams are a scary place, the people in charge of them usually are experts at making sure it’s a safe environment. If you do feel any level of fear make your feelings known to the people in charge and they will make sure that you are safe and looked after.

Another place fear can be present is at any stage in front of an audience. It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced improviser or not, fear can always kick in.I always get that kick of fear when I am part of a new show and we haven’t played in front of an audience, the first night is always terrifying.

It can also kick in if you know the audience are not responding to you as a player – that can be a really terrifying moment on stage. If you are in a team that you can trust then they will look after you and pull you under their wings. 

Fear is a weird and scary thing and if you get it, don’t panic, it happens to everyone at random times. Sometimes it’s great as it can really push you and other times it can take you to a really bad place. Just make sure you have someone to talk to about it.

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