How to be a good improv student

1. Turn up on time, turn your phone off.

2. Always volunteer, especially for the things you’re bad at.  Ideally everyone should volunteer for everything, this makes everyone feel braver than they really are.  Too many volunteers is the best kind of problem for an instructor to have.

3. Tell the truth.  Don’t just feed the instructor what you think they want to hear.  They can teach you better if they know where you’re really at.

4. Give it a shot.  Even if you disagree with the activity, or you have no interest in that kind of improv, do your best to make it work.   If you don’t commit to it then you’re guaranteed to get nothing out of it, is your time that worthless?

5. Don’t try to impress us with how good you are.  Don’t bring out your best material, and don’t plan ahead to avoid mistakes.  Approach the workshop honestly and you’ll learn more.  Which is in itself impressive.

6. Fail with good humour.  Not only is making mistakes the best way to learn, but if you can fail with good humour, then the whole vibe of the workshop can become more positive and more supportive.

7. Work with as many people as you can.  Don’t just work with the people you know and like, spread the love.

8. Remember, everything is a muscle.  If you want to get better at something, you just gotta keep working on it.


4 Responses to “How to be a good improv student”

  1. jill bernard Says:

    9. You don’t have to feel intimidated by the other people in class, even if you think they’re better improvisors than you are. It’s not about them, this is your learning time.

  2. improbable Says:

    I’m surprised I didn’t think of that one. Seeing as how I made this list by just writing the opposite of what I do in workshops*.

    *Except number one. I’m always on time.

  3. jill bernard Says:

    I wanted to explain the principle of how you should pretend that the class is just for you and the other people are just there so you have someone to play off of. But I don’t think that’s universal advice, that’s just for people who are intimidated by the rest of the class, and are worried that they’re not good enough to be there. Which is stupid, we’re all in a class to learn things, that’s the whole point, you’re supposed to be not good enough. And it’s not a show, who cares if you’re “the best”? And why would you only want to play with people who are weaker than you, don’t you get better bouncing off stronger players?

    Whoa. Who put this soapbox here and when did I get up on it?

  4. jill bernard Says:

    10. Bring energy and enthusiasm to every class. Don’t be “tired,” be present.

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