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by Darren Held

Darren and I were talking yesterday, as we do occasionally, and we agreed that we could easily call Held2gether improv classes in Long Beach Being In the Moment classes. I mean, it’s probably not a good idea in terms of marketing, but that title is just as accurate as Improv Comedy classes.

It came up in conversation because, for an improv corporate workshop that we have coming up soon, the client is interested in, among other things, helping their employees be more in the moment when dealing with their clients, instead of thinking ahead to all the possible scenarios that might occur.

Being in the moment means you can’t think about the what-ifs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t look before you leap, or whatever other cliché you like. Obviously, you have to use good common sense about things, people. If being “in the moment” means you are totally focused on your Words With Friends game, great – but don’t disregard the traffic and wander out in front of a bus. That’s not being “in the moment.” That’s being “dumb.” Sorry.

Anyway, back to improv. The only way to do good improv is to truly be present, in this moment. Having an agenda or pre-planning put you into the future, while thinking about how great (or terrible) you were last time puts you in the past. Thinking about what you’re going to have for lunch or what the cute girl might say to you later puts you somewhere that isn’t even improv-related. If you let go of EVERYTHING else, and simply focus on your scene partner, respond to the very last thing they said and have big emotional reactions to what develops in your scene, I can pretty much guarantee you will have a great scene. I mean, it’s not a money-back guarantee or anything, but I’m pretty certain.

Even though it’s hard, even in improv, to stay in the moment 100% of the time, it gets easier with practice. And the improv games and exercises we do are designed to help you learn to be comfortable letting all that other stuff go and just being present. When you get used to it, you start to like putting all your attention on the thing you are currently engaged with and you do it more and more. Until you can be in the moment when you’re dealing with your clients, which improves your work situation, or when you’re dealing with your kids, which improves your home situation, or when you’re dealing with the cute girl, which improves your, um, situation.

That’s why we call it improv for life, peeps.

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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