Friday, August 17, 2018

Do Not Go For The Laugh

The first mistake I see many improv actors making is trying to be funny. It's not funny. It's too broad. It's not real.

What is funny? Characters who are making the best of bad situations, and still failing. Characters who think they are making things better but are really making things more complicated. Sincere, realistic, true-to-life characters. Not too big. Not with funny voices. And, absolutely, no sound effects!

It's much funnier if you don't go for the laugh.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Improv as Reality

Done right, done real, improv adds reality to a scene and to a performance. Responding in time by building on the ideas of the other performers, rather than trying to steal the show with an impressive show of your own skills - can turn even the most preposterous of pretexts into great texts, great moments, real-feeling moments of artistic joy.

Improvising in collaboration, egos aside, serving the scene.

Improv can add just the touch of reality that any fantasy needs.

-- doug smith

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Improv, while spontaneous, is also a discipline. It takes practice. Going for the obvious jokes is so common because people don't practice enough to get beyond them. It reminds me of a technique one improv company used to do in their warm up - they'd say all the cuss words they could think of just to get it out of their system. It's not an easy laugh, it's a tedious gratuitous string of cuss words unless it is all attached to character.

To get to character in improv takes practice. To build trust -- in your own skills and in the skills of your company of actors -- takes practice.

Just because we make it up on the spot doesn't mean we don't have to practice.


-- doug smith

Sunday, August 12, 2018

At Our Strongest

Creativity Quotes - doug smith

We are strongest when we allow our creativity to shine every day.
-- doug smith

Scene Starter: Lost Object

You put something where you knew it would be. Now you don't know where that is.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Picture This: Say Yes to Mr. Tubs

Tubs - Improv and Creativity Generator by doug smith, improvarama

Can anyone really say yes better than a dog? Hardly.

My dog friend (one of a few) Mr. Tubs is a champion say yes kind of guy, and he insists that I play just as unconditionally. When I enter my friend Judi's house, Tubs comes running to see who it is. When he sees who it is (me!) he retreats to find his favorite toy of the moment and trots to me with the offer to play.

Say yes, human. Just say yes.

If I'm preoccupied, his eyes say "say yes."

If I say "not now, Tubbers..." he remains on point, ready to go, slobbering with anticipation, unable to conceive of a negative thought between me and yes. Say yes.

Improv actors say yes. If you forget how, with a dog.

Just look at that face. There's no "no" in that face. There's no room for killing the scene. There is only keeping the playing alive.

Say Yes to Mr. Tubs.

Say yes to your improv partners.

Say yes to life.

-- doug smith

Creativity Generator: Picture This

  1. Find a random picture (seriously, keep your eyes closed and make it random)
  2. Write for 2 minutes, guided by the picture

Catching You

Improv is the high wire act of theatre and the audience is your only net. Convince them, and they will catch you if you fall.

-- doug smith