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, please...play 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

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Best Improv

The best improv feels more real than a written script, risks more for the sake of discovery, and touches more with a direct path to the heart.
-- doug smith

Five Minutes: Find Your Voice

I sat in the back of the church, in what was now her office but was once the crying room, the place where people could be in church with their crying babies but be behind a glass wall. It was her office now. Not much need for a crying room. The church didn't see many babies these days. Mostly the few people who attended had gray hair. Or no hair. They walked slowly. And if they cried, it was oh so quietly.

They did cry. Quietly.

The minister was soft spoken. A kind man. A decent enough speaker but the rare paster who was truly a minister to the people and not an ego driven speaker. But he wasn't here. It's Tuesday. A parade of hopeful teens were getting their voice lessons, hoping to be on American Idol or some other talent show. Hoping to get into the high school musical. Hoping to set the world on fire and be famous.

They didn't know the odds were slim and...to their parent's delight the voice teacher had a rep. She had a track record. She was more than a miracle worker, she was a winner's coach. Some of her students really did go on to stardom. Beauty pageant winner. Broadway star. TV personality. Her patience, her persistence, her insistence drove these young people to ride their own enthusiasm ever upward. There was just one thing everyone needed to do more of. Much more. Much, much more:  practice.

"I know you didn't come here to pay me to watch you practice," she said, cheerful and resolved and not at all angry. Her patience was unending. "So maybe you'd like to practice more this week between lessons, sweetie..."

She called everyone sweetie. Or dear. I asked her to call me something else, something she didn't call anyone else, so she called me Honey. And then, soon enough, she started calling everyone Honey.

But that was when I really was her Honey. And that was when she did still help create stars.

German's Chocolate cake baked for my birthday by Dorinda

-- doug smith


1. Write for exactly five minutes, then stop.
2. Find a random image to add