It's a strange and interesting sensation

It's a strange and interesting sensation

Below is a response to a question I received in an email. The question arose from a statement I made about creating details in a scene. The question was seeking clarification. If only that were possible. It has been edited to escape complete humiliation.

I look at it like I'm a detective discovering this scene in real time and an audience just happens to be watching me. My reflex/fear response is to just charge along trying to generate ideas to further the scene. In my haste/panic I close my eyes and ears to what is actually going on and get off track. It's like I have to be both participant and observer in the events unfolding. Which if I think about detective movies/stories, that's what's happening. The detective is trying to unravel a mystery he has been pulled into. He's both on the outside AND on the inside. And so are we. Boiling in the crucible and floating above observing our character being forged. In the words of Mike Nichols, "it's a strange and interesting sensation"

So what does this have to do with creating more details? Well, sometimes I'm chugging along in a scene and things are going great. Just a clear path ahead, cause and effect, cause and effect, and so on. Lovely. Then bang! Nothing. The trail of crumbs just disappears with no clear indication of which direction to move forward in. That's when my chest gets tight, the blood in my brain thickens and I start to try and force things. Bad move Georgie boy. Cliche Blvd. What does the detective do when he reaches a dead end? He goes back over his notes and looks at the things he DOES know. And follows THOSE things to their logical conclusion. So in a scene, if I find myself in that spot of not knowing where to go next I can look at the things that have happened, statements made by or about my character or my partners and the possible implications. These end up being more sideways moves that expand rather than further the scene but who says the scene has to be a straight line or a line at all? The important thing is being cool. Because the detective is always cool. Which for me means trying to work from the place of curiosity instead of fear/panic/need. I'm kicking it over, checking it out. I'm motivated bc someway my ass is on the line too. I'm discovering the details, not making them up. One thing leads from the thing before. I use my eyes, ears AND NOSE! And you know what happens to nosy fellas...

https://youtu.be/9y2y-Tkn7eg

G

P.S. Please see the movie Chinatown if you haven't already.

 

Santa Barbara Improv is Dead, Long Live Santa Barbara Improv

Santa Barbara Improv is Dead, Long Live Santa Barbara Improv

Yeah, okay. The title is kind of click-bait-y. Nothing about the old Santa Barbara Improv has ended; we've just expanded. Now, instead of just me trying to keep things moving along, Amy, George, and I hope to expand what's available to improvisers in Santa Barbara, as well as increase the number of people involved with improv. That includes expanding the audiences for our shows as well as performers!

This is a very personal entry for me (Alan). George and Amy have no idea that I'm writing this. For a long time I've felt a bit stuck running Santa Barbara Improv. It's not my main profession, and so can't dedicate the amount of time it would take to add classes. And we've needed that option for so many folks who've grown beyond what's available from a weekly workshop with 20+ players. That means you've all had to travel to Ventura at least, and really LA. to get advanced training. And after that, there isn't a convenient place to keep practicing those long form, open form, sketch, and other skills you've learned.

Others have done long form or Harold classes in town and done them well, but it wasn't until Amy and George finished their first classes, and then came to me to consult about doing more, that I felt like there was the right combination of experience, interest, skill, and long term commitment that I really wanted to see before expanding. Once the topic was broached, it was obvious that we had complimentary ideas about what we could do in Santa Barbara, building on the foundation of the improvisers in town. The ideas just kept bubbling out. I wanted them to be Santa Barbara Improv.

This newly revamped website is one way of expressing those ideas and building the improv community in Santa Barbara. Social media is a great way to promote events and ideas, but a home like this is where we can store information for the long term. A place we can send people interested in improv, students who want more information about classes and theory, players who are looking for event info, and performers who want to announce their events.

As most sites, we are publishing before it is finished (it will never be finished.) We've discussed a lot of potential classes, and we want to encourage instructors who have their own ideas for classes. There are a variety of one time workshops we can provide. I want to expand the number of corporate events we do. There is a lot more information on the web we can bring out, through links and blog posts.

I don't see us as arbiters of improv in Santa Barbara, but facilitators. If you've got an idea for a show, we've got resources that can help. We'd like to encourage ongoing meet-ups, ensemble troupes, classes and shows of all types. We don't want to do everything, but make everything possible.

Santa Barbara isn't the same market size as LA, but I know we are not meeting the potential of the area. I regularly get new players who've never heard of the workshop, despite having been ongoing since 1989. And those who have known about us can see that there hasn't been much more available than a weekly workshop and monthly shows. That is now changing.

Okay, if you've read this far, thank you and good god, you are improv starved. Let us know what you'd like to see. Keep the dialog (or group-speak) going. Let's see what we can do.

Improv Show July 1, 2017

The next Improvisational Comedy Show from the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be:

Date: Saturday July 1, 2017

Time: 8:00 pm until about 9:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $5 at the door or online

Join us Saturday, July 1 as we declare our independence from restrictive scripts and canned comedy.

NOTHING is written down!

NO DIALOG is prepared in advance!

NOT ONE plot point is known before we start the scene!

WE WILL NOT BE SCRIPTED!

Improv Show June 3, 2017

Poster 06-03-17 The next Improvisational Comedy Show from the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be:

Date: Saturday June 3, 2017

Time: 8:00 pm until about 9:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $5 at the door or online

Join us this Saturday for our next Improv Show

Star Wars Improv Show May 6, 2017

star wars poster 2017 The next Improvisational Comedy Show from the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be our annual Star Wars themed improv show:

Date: Saturday May 6, 2017 (The Revenge of the Sixth)

Time: 8:00 pm until about 9:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $5 at the door or online

It's that time again! Our annual Star Wars themed Improv Show is this Saturday, May 6.

That's right, it's Revenge of the Sixth!

So join us as we celebrate general geekiness, and don't worry - no one will be checking your geek cred. All are welcome.

Except, we don't serve droids here.

Special Intro to Improv Workshop

Intro to Improv We have a special Into to Improv workshop coming up.

If you are new to improv, are curious about improv, or just want to try it out then this is a great option!

The particulars:

Date: Sunday April 30, 2017

Time: 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $30

Improv Show April 1, 2017

Improv Poster 04-01-17 The next Improvisational Comedy Show from the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be:

Date: Saturday April 1, 2017

Time: 8:00 pm until about 9:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $5 at the door or online

Yes, the April improv show is, in fact, on April 1: April Fool's Day. No, it's not a joke, or a hoax, or some sort of trick. It is merely a coincidence in timing that the first Saturday of April is on the first of the month. This occurs evey 6 years or so, so we shouldn't be surprised, or concerned, or suspicious.

We will put on a show; it will be funny; you will be entertained.

April 1: it's not just for fools

Improv Show March 4, 2017

Poster 03-04-17 The next Improvisational Comedy Show from the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be:

Date: Saturday March 4, 2017

Time: 8:00 pm until about 9:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $5 at the door or online

Sure we need the rain, but hoo-boy it's time for a break!

Let's replace those drops of rain with tears of laughter at our March Improv Show!

 

Improv Show February 4, 2017

Poster 02-04-17 The next Improvisational Comedy Show from the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be:

Date: Saturday February 4, 2017

Time: 8:00 pm until about 9:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $5 at the door or online

We made it to February! Let's take a moment to recover, re-energize, regroup, reconnect, and release!

Yes, it's time for an improv show! Join us as we reflect on the absurdities of life with live and unscripted comedy.

 

Sketch Show January 7, 2017

poster The next show from the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be a Sketch Comedy Show!

Date: Saturday January 7, 2017

Time: 8:00 pm until about 9:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $5 at the door or online

Let's try something different!

Our first show of 2017 is a Sketch Show! Some of our best improvisers will be performing comedy pieces specifically written for this show.

Be sure to join us for this funny (and unique) experience!

 

Improv Show December 3, 2016

poster-12-03-16  

The next Improvisational Comedy Show from the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be:

Date: Saturday December 3, 2016

Time: 8:00 pm until about 9:30 pm

Location: Jefferson Hall, 1525 Santa Barbara Street (near Anapamu)

Price: $5 at the door or online

2016 is almost over. Let's end it on a good note.

Join us this Saturday as we laugh our way out of 2016 with some fresh, improvised comedy!

We'll all feel better.

A Longform Improv Class!

Hey everyone! Here's a class that I'm highly recommending. Starting Sunday October 16, George and Amy are putting on an Intro to Longform Improv class. It will be meeting every Sunday from 3 to 6 pm for 6 weeks (through November 20).

I took their previous workshop and it was fantastic.

You can get all the particulars at the following link (Facebook):

https://www.facebook.com/events/1692260274426782/