Thursday, November 11, 2010

Debate this: Watching video of yourself

A lot of improv shows are taped. They are taped for historical purposes (Look what we used to be like!), vain purposes (Look, I'm so funny!) and critique purposes (Look how stupid that was!). Probably for some other reasons, too.

So here's the question:
Should you watch a video of yourself improvising?

I'm a believer in yes, but it's only fun if what you did was great. I tape most of my shows, and I have since I was in college. I like to take a step back and watch myself in the moment. What do I do? Why do I rock back and forth? Why was I that loud? Should I have been that hunched over? Did I need to agree more? Is my accent still the same?

In the moment, you can't hardly tell what the right choice is, you can only choose to make a choice. You can say shoulda-saids all day long, but in the end, the scene is over and that's the choice you made.

So, what's the point in watching? For the patterns. You can critique patterns. With the college team's most recent show, I realized my go to suggestion ask is location; I didn't know that, and that's something I can change. I can pick up on scenic patterns too, like if I'm initiating too often or playing six smoking waitresses in a row or speaking too softly or whatever. Looking at the show as a whole, you can pick up on patterns and habits.

Two things that always stick out to me with patterns: Bryan says that in order to get better at improv is to break your own personal patterns and Zach Ward says the key to comedy is contrast and repetition.

Should you watch a show of yourself? Yes. The scenes will be better than you thought. And:

If you learn your patterns, you can break them and stretch yourself. (BB)
If you learn your patterns, you can break them and make better comedy. (ZW)

No comments:

Post a Comment