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by Darren Held

A couple weeks ago, we had to collaborate on an assignment in sketch writing class. I’ve never written with someone else before and part of what appeals to me about writing is the solitary nature of it, so I was a little nervous about the concept.

Oh, all right, I’ll just say it: I like to be in charge. Whatever. Don’t even try to tell me you don’t.

What happened when we split into our group was interesting. For a few minutes, there was some hesitant “should we…” and “maybe we could…” suggestions for ideas. And then, as soon as we hit on a set-up for the sketch that appealed to all three of us, all the hesitancy evaporated into a flurry of yes, anding. One person would throw out an idea and the other two would say, “yeah, and maybe this other thing happens as a result” and on and on. Not all the ideas were workable, and there were time contraints to deal with as well, but the whole collaboration became one amazing example of what you can accomplish in 15 minutes when people accept each others’ ideas and add to them. And what we came up with was funnier and had more interesting angles than what any of the 3 of us would’ve come up with alone.

Not everyone in the sketch class has improv training, and I don’t know for sure how all the other collaborations went. But my group was made up exclusively of H2G improv students, and the entire process was fun, supportive and HILARIOUS. The other groups said they were feeling pressured because we were laughing so hard and having so much fun, they assumed we must be writing the funniest sketch in the history of sketches.

It wasn’t the funniest sketch in the history of sketches, but it was damn funny. And all 3 of us commented to Darren after class how enjoyable it was to collaborate. When I over-analyzed it to death later on, as I am wont to do from time to time, I realized WHY it was fun to collaborate and came to the conclusion that everyone, everywhere, in every kind of job should learn how to do “yes, and” so that they could get more done and have more fun doing it.

And when I’m in charge, that’s how it’s gonna be. Just sayin’.

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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