Friday, January 13, 2006


Improvisation and the Theatre

On one of our many library outings here at work I recently pciked up the book Impro by Keith Johnstone. It's a book I've known about for a while but have never gotten around to reading. I'm sure glad I picked it up that day because ever since then it's been hard to put down, and I'm almost through half of it in only a few days. I have been reading it inbetween renders here at work.

The book goes into detail about status transations and how to negotiate your way through an improvised scene, basically using all the skills in raising or lowering your status as you've learned all your life. it has totally exposed all the ways we manipulate others and ourselves in order to gain attention and sympathy in life. It has been said that all acting scenes are a negotiation, and if this is so all negotiations are ones of status. A status negotiation can be as simple as someone staring as another looks away, all the way to a long drawn out argument where the high status bounces from one to another, with alternate uses of one raising their own status to lowering their adversaries.

The book is coming at the right time for me since I am due to begin classes at BANG! improv studio. I am super excited to take another improv class, I had taken one this summer in NYC at the Upright Citizen's Brigade, and it was so fun. Mostly when you are at an improv class you are being entertained while learning acting and improv techniques and also entertaining your classmates. I remember laughing for 3 hours straight. The final class performance was a day I was not laughing though, I was terrified, but the performance went off without a hitch and then we all went to karaoke together which was so much fun.

Improv is great for animators. You learn about character development, how to develop a story, working and collaborating with others while keeping your mind totally open to every possibility. And you'll probably find out you're funnier thatn you thought. : )


At 2:29 PM, Blogger albert said...

Sounds like you're gonna have alot of fun! Did you convince Reb to go along?

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Dan Segarra said...

Me... funny!?

I'm more dull then... add punch line here.

This book you're reading sounds great Anthea. Another way to look at it is the 'master' 'slave' relationship. I think it was an Ed Hooks thing that I went to where he explained it that way.

That's REALLY good stuff! I think I shall pick this book up. I haven't been to the library in ages! lol :)

At 9:14 AM, Blogger anthea said...

yeah albert, reb had decided to come along, i think brad is going too. it's going to be a lot of fun.

hi dan! i'm sure you have a few zingers in you, you would probably surprise yourself and find out you are funnier than you think! the book has been a great read so far, that's so cool that you've been able to go in person to an ed hooks meeting, i've always wanted to do that. for now i will have to settle for his books.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Aja B. said...

Well, I'm sold! My copy of "Impro" is on it's way from Amazon, and I'm going to take a 4-week Improv class at the local community art center next month! Wooo! Thanks for the push in the right direction! :-D

At 6:57 PM, Blogger Brian "My Fault" Nicolucci said...

Yeah Ed's class is great. That was like the first thing I did when I moved to California years ago, take a class with him. Awesome guy, really loves acting and animation.

Wow, you, Albert, Reb and Brad, sounds like it will be a heck of a lot of fun!

At 1:08 PM, Blogger anthea said...

that's great about your improv class aja! sounds like fun. now if we can only get you to that salsa class...

whoa, cool brian that you got to get to an ed hooks class. i heard that he sometimes comes to disney for workshops, that would be awesome if it happens again.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Rick Blankenship said...

Awesome, thanks for the info. One of the most important things I took away from reading Acting for Animators was the negotiation in every scene.

You made it too easy with the direct link to amazon. I am adding to cart now.

Oh, hope you are kicking ass along with Reb at the mouse house.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Sara Wade said...

Hey Anthea. Hope all is well in your life. I have the "Impro for Storytellers" book by the same guy. I haven't read it all yet though.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger anthea said...

hi rick, yeah, the negotiation thing is key. i would really love to take a "real" acting class to explore it further, it is pretty much impossible with my schedule right now. o well, hopefully in the future.

sara, sounds like a great book, maybe i will read it after this one. i just stumbled on this book in the library here at work. i have been finding a few minutes here and there while rendering or saving big scenes. it has been great so far.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Aja B. said...

Wow! I'm halfway through Impro now, too, and I'm just blown away! Thanks for the recommendation! :-D

At 4:38 PM, Blogger anthea said...

cool aja! i'm glad you picked it up,and that you liked it.

i will definetely keep you posted on what i'm reading next

At 12:55 AM, Blogger Brad said...

Heh. Reading up, are we?
This class should be great fun.
I'm really looking foreward
to making a fool of myself
in a more public setting.

At 12:35 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Hey Anthea, thx for stoppin by my blog. Are you missin AM yet?

I picked up impro before this term and I have to say it's made a huge difference in the way I think about my shots. That guy is a genius.

Good luck with everything at WDFA.


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