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by Darren Held

Wow, this week has been nuts! Tonight is day three of my current 5-improv-classes-per-week schedule. Two of those are classes I’m teaching, and the other three are classes I’m taking. This schedule continues through June, at the end of which my head may explode, not from the improv but from trying to squeeze in all my other jobs around the improv.

This is emotion/commitment week – I taught it in Level 1 on Tuesday night, and I get to practice it some more in Level 2 tonight and tomorrow. Yay! If you’ve read this blog more than once, you know that emotion and commitment are not in my improv wheelhouse naturally. If you’ve seen any of the Held2gether performances that Sean Fannon has been in, you know that emotion and commitment are basically his middle name. Actually, his middle name is Patrick, but I think you get my point.

Anyway, sometimes I get tired, especially when I’ve been having a lot of work and crap going on in my life, and I feel like no matter what, I am never gonna get any better at this emotion/character/commitment thingy. I’ve worked for three years, and I’ve gotten LOADS better, but this is as good as it gets.

And then I hear Sean say that, after the wildly successful Don’t Smite the Unicorns show last Friday night, he feels compelled to really up his game so he can contribute even more to the troupe and give the audience an even better show. Dude, way to make me look like a total jerk.

Sean has been a performer for years, as have Darren, Viet, Paul, and Nate, and they’re still working and taking classes and pushing themselves… and I’m feeling like I might as well stop trying because I’ve tried for a couple years and I’m not perfect yet.

The truth is, I’ll never stop trying because improv is just what I do. But I do get tired and frustrated when I hit these plateaus, and I have to remind myself that all these people that are amazing got that way because they worked their asses off – and continue to work their asses off. I’m happy that I have these plateaus to remind me what the frustration and angst feels like, so I can assure my students that, yes it may suck, but you’ll get over it and be better afterwards… as long as you keep trying.

Um, pretty much like everything in life. Duh.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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