Tuesday, 4 October 2011

How to live your life with TINA FEY’S IMPROV RULES


In Bossypants, Tina Fey claims Rules of Improv are worth living by.

She can’t understand why people in the world shoot things down or say no without contributing something themselves.

I agree - and these probably also apply to good comedy dialogue in scenes, and working with writing partners...

- Rule #1: Start with Yes

Tina Fey’s example:
Actor: “Freeze, I have a gun!”
Bad improv response: “No you don’t, that’s your finger.”
Good response: “The gun I gave you for Christmas? You jerk!”

So you agree with your partner’s springboard.
Respect what your partner has created.
Start with a yes, and see where that takes you.

- Rule #2: Say “Yes, and —–”

Tina Fey’s example:
Actor: “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here.”
Bad improv response: “Yeah.”
Good response: “I told you we shouldn’t have crawled into this dog’s mouth.”

Agree and add.
Don’t be afraid to contribute.
Your initiations are worth something.

- Rule #3: Make statements - Don’t ask questions all the time

Tina Fey’s example:
Bad improv: Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box? (This puts pressure on the other actor to come up with all the answers.)
Good improv: Here we are in Spain, Dracula.

Questions put pressure on the other person to come up with the answers. Be part of the solution, don’t just point out problems.
No-one wants to go to a doctor who presents their solution in the form of questions.

- Rule #4: There are no mistakes, only opportunities


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