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by Darren Held

Thanks to everyone who came out to see awesome improv in Long Beach on Saturday night! We had a fantastic time, the crowd was incredible and the cake Hot Java served as our 2-year anniversary surprise was delish!

See, I told you you’d be sad if you missed it. There was cake, people! Free friggin’ cake!

One of the highlights of the night was Sean Fannon’s “Oscar Winning Moment.” This is a fun game, where at random points Darren shouts out Oscar Winning Moment and that player then delivers a short monologue that is his or her Oscar clip for this movie.

When Sean finished his monologue, the audience erupted in a spontaneous ovation. Not because of what he said so much, as how he said it. His monologue was filled with angst and drama, and he built it up to a fever pitch. It was a brilliant, textbook demonstration of how far commitment will take you in an improv scene.

Later, in spite of his somewhat, er, diminished capacity, Darren said to me, “I hope you learned something from Sean’s Oscar Winning Moment.” Being far less incapacitated, I responded with an always-appropriate finger gesture. But his point was well taken.

The audience is so much on your side when you do improv – they want to find you funny, and they will work pretty hard to find the funny in pretty much any scene… if they see that you are working just as hard to bring the funny. If you are totally committed, digging in when the scene gets struggly and giving your scene partners 100% and not laughing at your own lines and sticking with a character from start to finish, the audience will adore you. Even in scenes where nothing develops, the audience will love you because they will know you worked your ass off for them.

And, of course, part of giving it 100% is going BIG. HUGE, even. I know it’s hard, especially for people who have no performing background. Like, um, me. But the thunderous applause Sean got is a pretty good reward, if you ask me. Which, of course, you didn’t. But it is my blog, you know.

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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