Tag Archives: improv

Pull the Trigger

Pull the Trigger

A huge portion of my improv and performance philosophy are encompassed in these 3 words. So I am ongoingly stoked that David Kantrowitz made one of his Improv Artvice images out of that quote from my classes.

I am none the less stoked that the quote was submitted by me myself. He’d asked for quotes!

Crank up the brightness on your screen, then stare at this image for 45 minutes before starting your next show. If you’re not sure what to do, blink – you’ll see this key instruction seared into your eyelids.

Pull the trigger.

Any trigger will do.


Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Already happening

I’ve found a missing piece in my definition of the “setup” phase at the beginning of the scene. That piece is “what’s already happening”. I’ve been searching for the right wording for that, for years. I think that’s it.

So, in the first moments of the scene, the setup phase, your only job is to discover/determine:

What kind of people are you
Who are you to each other
Where are you
What’s already happening

No need to be funny or even interesting at this stage. Just find/decide these things, and go from there. Once you know you’re two friendly bishops on a rowboat waiting for the fish to bite, you can keep building. Add points of view to the characters. Those will lead to emotions. Which will lead to action. Will will change the initial setup. Which will constitute a scene well on its way.

Tagged , , ,

Analogies: Love

Love is a harpoon that’s already in you.
If love is happening, the harpoon’s already in.
You’re not getting it out without ripping and hurt.
All you can hope is that the ship the rope’s tied to has got a good, friendly captain. Because wherever they drag you, you’re going.


Tagged , , ,

the 3 Pillars of Excellent Scenework

Teaching, coaching, studying, performing, and thinking have distilled things enough for me to begin giving students what I’m calling

The 3 Pillars of Excellent Scenework:




Emotion on the part of the character.
Decision, bold decisive action, by the improviser and, often, by the character.
Silence used, kept available, and defaulted to by everyone involved.

These pillars are standing on a foundation of the basic fundamentals we are all given in level 1: Agreement about the reality we’re creating. Support and taking care of each other. Attention. Care. Serving the scene over the characters. Specifics. Clarity. Simplicity. Devotion. Trust.

Once you’ve got that basic foundation in play, emotion, decision, and use of silence can raise your scenework to the next level.

These are things present in excellent scenes and likely missing from the mediocre.

And when in doubt, or in a stall, adding any of these three will likely get things moving again.

Tagged ,