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by Darren Held

We’ve had a busy week, culminating a couple days ago with our long form improv show Fireworks, Funnel Cakes & the American Dream, which was totally A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Not to toot our own horns or anything, but we were on fire. And we had an awesome audience, so we were super happy to give them such a great show. Cuz we’re givers.

On the topic of giving, my birthday is coming up. Oh, wait. That’s a different blog. Anyway, one of the things that made this long form show so great was that the entire group operated as one, with everyone thinking in terms of “what can I give?”

There’s an intangible but discernible difference between shows where some or all of the players are thinking, “Hey, this is what I can do” as opposed to “Hey, this is what I can give.” The first one is a more selfish approach – hey, look at me! While the second comes from a place of being aware of the scenes as they unfold, as well as the big picture of the show as a whole, and consciously choosing to give information and ideas that your castmates can play with and further develop. Going into a long form clap-in scene with the idea, “Oooh, I’ma be funny right now” is not as strong a choice as going in with the idea of adding a layer of information to something that’s been developed that will help the rest of the team take it to another level.

It’s not just long form either, peeps. It’s just as important in short form to think of giving your scene partner(s) gifts, rather than just what you can get. Labels of character traits and information about your relationship will give your partner something to go with, and ultimately give both of you a stronger scene.

And yes, I’ma make an improv:life analogy now. We’re all so worried about what we’re going to get out of life, but when we really focus on what we can give to others and how we can help in whatever situations we’re in, life’s a much better place to live.

I forgot that recently. So I’m just reminding you in case you forgot too. You’re welcome.

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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