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by Darren Held

I know I’m always yammering about how awesome Held2gether improv is compared to, say, everything else in the known universe. But my angst today is a good example of why that’s so, and I, of course, am happy to share. You should know by now, my friends: I never add any kind of information without justifying the hell out of it.

If you’re going to say something like, “Held2gether is the best improv school EVER,” then you have to justify it. Why is it the best improv school ever, and why are you telling us this today?

Today is week four of the Improv Comedy Level 1 class, which may mean nothing to you if you don’t keep track of what we do in each class session. But to me it means Beginnings of Scenes. This is an awesome day, where students get to do Add Info Lineup for the first time, and actually start doing the beginnings of two-person improv scenes.

You’re prolly rolling your eyes now and wondering how on earth I’ve managed to make this anything angsty. Hold on, I’ma tell you. See, at other improv schools, their sole goal is to teach improv… for improv (or acting.) At H2G, we are more concerned with teaching improv for life.

If I were teaching improv at some other place, my goal for tonight would be to teach people how to do Add Info, get out the foundations of the scene and make eye contact. But actually doing improv scenes is scarier than fighting zombies for many non-actor types, and those are the types we see the most of. So since I’m teaching improv at H2G, my goal is to do all those things AND make sure that people are having fun. Trust me when I tell you, plenty of improv instructors at plenty of other schools don’t even remember the concept of fun.

If the students aren’t having fun, they won’t make the links between improv in the classroom and improv in real life. They’ll just want to be done as quickly as possible and go home and wait for Wednesday to roll around. If they’re having fun, they’ll learn in spite of themselves and soon those skills of listening, agreeing, adding information and committing will start to trickle into their real lives.

Of course, we get actor types as well, and they get the benefit of learning improv for improv’s sake AND having fun and learning improv for life as well.

So back to me – because it is, after all, all about me: I’m stressing as I always do in week 4 because this is the first class where people usually encounter the struggliness of improv. Struggling, in case you haven’t noticed, can totally kill fun. But I am always über-determined to make the struggle part of the fun, and I know Darren feels the same way about his class.

And that is why H2G is the best improv school EVER, and why I’m mentioning it today. 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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