This month I got the opportunity to catch up with the people behind the improvisational podcast IMDp – The Improvised Movie Director Podcast. The podcast is an improvised comedy interview where each episode the regular host Martina Minnow interviews a guest about a movie they’ve made. The movie is made up of the titles of two already popular films and the guest has to improvise what the film is about. Today I speak to Sabrina all about the world of Improv.
Hello Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Sabrina and I’ve been improvising for around five years. By day, I work for an education charity. I’m passionate about education – particularly when it comes to social mobility and making sure that young people from all backgrounds get the same access to higher education. By night, you’ll find me rehearsing, teaching, at the theatre or performing!
How did you discover improv?
I had some feedback from my boss a few years ago that I needed to get better at dealing with ambiguity. Improv was the most ambiguous thing I could imagine – not knowing what I would do, what my team mates would say or how the audience would react. I set trying improv as one of 30 challenges to complete before my 30th birthday. Needless to say, I tried it and completely fell in love with improv and the awesome community around it.
What style of Improv do you do?
I love narrative and musical improv, and I am also the host of an improvised movie podcast which is built off of a short form game called Movie Director.
Don’t be afraid to change the format – you won’t get it perfect at first (or ever) so get feedback from your audiences and your players to make it work for you.Sabrina
What troupes or shows are you a part of?
I’m in Multiverse (narrative musical), Michelle (Hoopla house team), Play Dead London (immersive murder mystery) and Buffet (long form). I’m also the host of the Improvised Movie Director podcast and a Hoopla teacher.
What will make you different to other improv shows out there?
I think each of the groups I’m part of has a unique angle. Multiverse has a particularly unique format, as it is a split narrative musical, where we see someone make a ‘sliding doors’ style choice and explore how that plays out in two different universes – and what the ripple effect of that choice are. It’s a really fun format to play with, and not something I have seen elsewhere.
I still get very nervous before shows and I find the nerves challengingSabrina
What other improv groups are you a fan of and why?
I love watching Breaking and Entering with Maria Peters and Lauren Shearing. They have incredible chemistry and clearly love being on stage together.
What would you like to see happen to comedy over the next ten years?
Ooo that’s a big question! I love seeing new groups form and fly – it’s been really inspiring to see Track 96 develop and now be running their own nights and workshops. So I’d love to see the improv and comedy community continue to grow and welcome new members who in turn will bring new formats and ideas to the community.
What is the best thing about doing improv?
The complete trust and support that comes from being part of a strong team. There is no better feeling!
What is the most challenging?
I still get very nervous before shows and I find the nerves challenging, but they always turn into energy and adrenaline as soon as I step foot on stage.
what advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe?
Do it! Some of my best friends and most exciting experiences have come from being part of an improv group.
What about extra advice for those wanting to focus on an improv style or format they are creating?
Don’t be afraid to change the format – you won’t get it perfect at first (or ever) so get feedback from your audiences and your players to make it work for you. The audience won’t know whether you hit the very specific points of your format, but they will know if you’re not enjoying yourselves. They are more interested in seeing a group having a good time and supporting each other, so let that be your guide!
I love seeing new groups form and fly – it’s been really inspiring to see Track 96 develop and now be running their own nights and workshops.Sabrina
If people want to find out more about you where can they find you on social media?
I’m on Instagram (@sabrina.luisi) and Twitter @sabrinaluisi
The improv groups I’m part of are @michelleimpro, @multiverseimpro, @playdeadlondon, @improvmoviepod and @Buffetimprov
What are your aims for your improv for the rest of the year?
I’m keen to get back on stage for in person performances, and recently had an excellent time at the Brighton Fringe with Multiverse which felt great. I’d also like to grow the IMDp podcast audience and see what other incredible movie mash ups we discover along the way!