Instructors While I’m Gone

Howdy Folks! I’m on vacation for the next 4 weeks (Guatemala!) and while I’m gone there are three other instructors who will be taking on the workshop. Here’s the schedule until I return.

img_4510.JPGWednesday, October 31

This is Mike.

He will be teaching on October 31.

Mike is originally from England.

Cheerio, Mike.

img_1037.JPGWednesday, November 7

Meet Jim.

Jim will be teaching on November 7.

Jim made our black boxes.

They are really good boxes.

Wednesday, November 14

It’s Mike again!

Mike will be teaching on November 14

Remember Mike?

Wednesday, November 21

This is Victoria.

Victoria will be teaching on November 21

Hi Victoria!

We all miss you

Wednesday, November 28

This is Alan.

Remember Alan?

Alan will be back teaching November 28

Class October 10, 2007

img_4452.JPGThe first Animal Transform scene of the night with Jim (hamster), Li-At (woodpecker), Melissa (bull), Sol (cat), and David (giraffe). It became a fun scene at the company picnic with some great characters.

This workshop was a bit different, starting with not doing a 1-Word Scene, but instead practicing with Firing Line. The rest of the night, we focussed on some basic character work. Because there were a lot of single character pieces through the night, there were a lot more pictures. 261 photos were on the memory card from this night. I was able to whittle that down to 125, but I felt that was OK this time since so many were of individual players. You can see them in the album.

The first scene work of the night was Video Dating, using a couple of bins of hats which I’d brought. Everyone got in at least 4 different characters and many of those were fabulous.

Next, we did Trouble With A Small Object. This was the chance to show off work from our first homework assignment. Basically, I asked folks to pay attention to their physical actions over the week, and practice miming those actions. In class, I wanted to see a demonstration of using some small object, then running into a problem with the object, and finally solving the problem. If you didn’t work on the assignment it was OK, I just asked that you demonstrate something.

Next we did a series of Animal Transforms. Those turned out really well. The characters were very different and yet clearly human. A nice stretch for everyone.

We still did an Irish Drinking Song with 3 groups of 5.

Finally, we did a set of 3-Line Drills, only this time I had everyone complete their open scenes after telling me their wants. That was interesting, and I think everyone got a chance to try ‘what comes next’ after the first three lines. There were a lot of great scenes. Next, we’ll go back to some simple long from structures.

Finally, I gave out a new homework assignment. Look at your friends, co-workers, and acquaintances and try to identify what makes them a ‘character’. In the next week, pick out one character and develop it. At the next workshop I’ll give you a chance to introduce the character, and then interact with some other characters.

And that was the night.

Class October 17, 2007

img_4665.JPGSometimes the picture that I’ll choose for the lead in to the class posting is just too obvious. Here, Scott, Marika, Li-At, Ben and Kenna are in a School Picture to Scene character exercise with their assigned group being the Fencing Club. If you’d like to see more pictures from the class (with fewer of Scott nekkid’) then check out the album.

A fairly large class this time with 21 players. We had a bit of a bumpy opening but got in some 1-Word Story warm-ups as well as a round of 3-Part Narrative.

The night focused on character development, and I think there was a lot of great work (other than the Jalan character). We started with School Picture to Scene and in addition to the Fencing Club, we saw the Rugby Club, 4-H, Track and Field, and ROTC clubs. It was a good warm up.

The next exercise was great. Last week’s “homework” was to focus on a friend or acquaintance and identify aspects that can be used for a character – how they talk, carry themselves, interact with others, the way they sound, their obsessions, etc. This week, I gave each character a chance to introduce themselves and then interact with a couple of others in a scene. For those who didn’t know about the homework (or forgot about it), they had to throw something together quickly. The point was to closely base the character on someone real. And wow, there were a lot of great characters. Interesting, compelling, and complete in the sense that they were able to stay completely in character during their interactions with other, very different characters. They were really interesting. Well done.

After those scenes, we got in several rounds of Irish Drinking Song and they were surprisingly toned down – less bawdy than usual. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad – but I generally enjoy different.

We finished with some Montage scenes. We didn’t start with a 3-Line Drill, so I wanted to see how everyone did when they went right into open scene work without any “warm-up”. And folks did pretty well. The more open scene work we do, the better.

I did give out another homework assignment. This time, I want folks to concentrate on “opening lines”. Other than “hey Bill”, how do you start interacting with friends and acquaintances when you first see them? How do those opening lines depend on common but unstated knowledge (we rarely narrate things we both already know)?

Since I’ve had to cancel the next class (Oct. 24) and I’ll be out of town for the next couple of weeks (but there will be other instructors for the workshops while I’m gone) we won’t get back to this assignment until the end of November (when I’m back).

Workshop on October 24, 2007 CANCELED

Howdy Folks,

The Santa Improv Workshop scheduled for Wednesday, October 24, 2007 is CANCELED!

The Unitarian Society has its annual Star King Benefit Rummage Sale, and the entire building is used to support that event. No rooms are available.

We will be back on Wednesday, October 31. I will be on vacation, but there will be others teaching the class while I’m gone, so be sure to stop by.

I’ll be posting this notice on the website ( and sending an email to anyone who signed the attendance sheets during a Santa Barbara Improv Workshop (and this is one of the reasons I asked folks to sign up on that list).

I’m sorry about canceling this class and I look forward to seeing everyone in November.

P.S. It just so happens that on that Wednesday night, Scott Williams from the workshop is putting on a S.B. Real Estate Conference; you can check it out at