This month we are very excited to be able to sit down with David Escobedo of The Improv Boost to talk everything about the comedy art form! Over the next few weeks we will talk about everything from performance to writing impro books! As an added bonus this month we have also dedicated Improv Corner to Dave as well and over the next few weeks there are some really interesting topics that are being highlighted. Today we speak to Dave about writing Improv Books, with one due out at the end of the year and one released this year already it is a perfect time to discuss!
Hello David You have just released a new book! Tell us all about it!
I wrote “This Improv Book” available on Amazon, and I’m working on another book … which I’m going to call “That Improv Book.” I think Jan Hendon from “Broken Chair Improv” gave me the idea for the second title. The first book was my deep dive analysis into improv for beginners. But because it goes so deep it’s also hopefully good for people who have been doing improv for a while.
This second book will be less an instruction manual and more like several essays? Sort of like the book “Do It Now” by Parallelagramophongraph – which is a FANTASTIC book on improv. Everybody should read it. This next book won’t be essays but it will be more disjointed, but all related to thoughts on improv and its community. “This Improv Book” was meant to be sort of geared towards how I could best help someone who is new to improv succeed. This second book is more around my experiences in studying improv – sometimes I go off on tangents in my research so I wanted to talk about some of those tangents. I have no idea when I will finished that. Hopefully, before the end of the year?
What inspired you to write a book?
Here is the honest truth. I understand after I get my PhD that the university partially owns any book I write. I wanted to have a book on improv, that I just owned. That was 100% mine. It was literally easy to write – it just sort of came out of me.
This second book is because there are SO MANY things I study that I want to talk to people about. Like emotions and how we view them. Such as, in improv we tell people to come in with an emotion to drive the scene. But in real life the behavior precedes our awareness of the emotion – so in reverse. Why do we do it in reverse? Could we switch it up and do behavior first and have the character discover their emotion? I don’t know!
Or like how fear effects leadership of an improv community. Or how entire communities can be wrong! Yes. I know that sounds weird, but like it can be true. We are raised in a culture of “an improv family” so the support the community. But there are communities that are systemically racist or who teach archaic improv maneuverers based on gender identity. If we don’t call that out, it will only be seen as a characteristic of improv, rather than of that community.
When is the book released?
Maybe the end of this year. That’s the hope! (fingers crossed)
If people want to pre- / order That Improv Book where can they do this?
“That Improv Book” is so early stages right now, there is no pre-order. If you want to help, I think something you can do is request your library carry a copy! I would love to see more improv books in academia.
What is your favourite chapter and why?
For the new book, I don’t have one yet. I have written one chapter on “2-person scenes” and why that has become such a staple in teaching. Which is both good and also bad. I mean, teachers that know what they’re doing can bring the true value out of doing 2-person scenes. I think good teachers view it almost as the basic building block of a show. I think bad teachers do it because they’re lazy or just because they saw other people do it, so they just copy it. There is a purpose to practicing 2-person scenes … and not just because “it’s easy.”
Did you find it hard to write a book?
This may make me sound arrogant, but no. Writing the book is easy. I have always found taking the first couple steps in a project easy.
Editing it is hard.
Keeping at it is hard. But actually sitting down and writing … it’s another form of expression, it’s an art. I enjoy that.
Will there be anymore in the future?
I think so. I like writing. I like discussing improv.
I’m always creating something.
I just hope there are people reading them.