If there is one thing that fascinates me about improv and that is how it is portrayed in Television and Film. This is becoming more and more apparent in recent years because the comedy art form is sort of in fashion. There are some interesting topics that we can gain from these ways they are displayed so every so often we are going to look at different scenes from different shows and films.
I always find it interesting how improv is represented in different forms of media, especially when you are least expecting it. I read Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella in the middle of last year and whilst I believe it to be one of her worst stories, there was a chapter which focussed on the main character and others having to try improv for the first time. It is near the beginning of the book where the lead is at a writing retreat and they do improv to understand creating story, here is an excerpt below.
It is a bit of a cheesy scene as it goes and a like a lot of fiction that include improv, I tend to read it slightly with gritted teeth as you know they have mentioned it because it is ‘on trend.’ The thing that is unbelievable about the chapter is that the first person to do the improv monologue in a room full of everyone being shy is confident and perfect at it – this is not realistic, even in a fictional book you believe there should be an element of truth and you can tell it is written by someone who hasn’t got that much knowledge of it – maybe from a writers perspective but not as a real comedy form.
However, no matter how experienced Sophie Kinsella is about improv, that is not the point here, I am getting off of the topic and not to the point here. This part of the book made me want to discuss improv and the world of confidence.
When you are new to improv it is scary, it is challenging and it will take a while for there nerves to go away. I am very confident person in front of a camera or on stage – I am shy off screen / stage but put me on stage I flip 180 – however when I started doing improv, I found it incredibly hard, it is so weird getting your head to think in a completely different way. Improv can be hard, so here are a few tips to think of when you first start:
Don’t compare yourself to others
This is the worst thing to do and it is something that you really should avoid doing. Everyone is different and everyone learns at a different pace so don’t be hard on yourself if others are understanding it quicker then you.
Believe in yourself
The most important thing you can do is actually believe in yourself and that you can do. If you cannot believe in yourself then who else will, and you have this in you, its something that you will be great at!
Everyone is different and this means that everyone feels various levels of shyness and nerves when they first start out improv. The most important thing that you try to do is support everyone.
So, whilst I may not talk in high spirits of that book if you want to read it give it a look as it isn’t that bad, However, if you read any Sophie Kinsella I recommend Keep A Secret and Undomestic Goddess