“I was just…” exercising for active emotions

We want to fill our blank stages with imagined environment. We want to engage physically in that environment to help visualize the imagined. And – most importantly – we want to be emotionally affected by where we are and what we’re doing. That’s Improv As Improv Does Best.

Our fellow player(s) and how they emotionally affect our characters is important. But engaging heir scene partner is not where improvisers struggle. One’s scene partner is actually active on stage – his/her presence doesn’t have to be imagined – so too often players give 100% of their attention on their partner and ignore physically engaging the environment.

Like the “We gotta…” and “That’s my…” initiation exercises, the “I was just…” drill helps connect emotion to active endowments.

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“That’s my…” exercise for active emotions

Feeling about active endowments. That’s Improv As Improv Does Best.

It ain’t easy. That balance between making up imagined details and committing to feeling about imagined details is tough to manage. Already we’re trying to see our world’s details instead of thinking up details, but we also have to care about those details in-the-moment.

Like the “We gotta…” and “I was just…” initiation exercises, the “That’s my…” drill helps connect emotion to active endowments.

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An improv stage can be anywhere. On it we can do anything.
You could be in a submarine on Mars raising talking chickens.
Often improvisers are good at labeling the moment.
But you need more than words; you have to be in the world.
This exercise focuses on attaching emotions to the scene’s active elements – what can be felt, seen or otherwise experienced on the stage – to foster reactions.


2.2 – More “Two Person Scene” Practical

How do we build our two person scenes after the initiating sequences? Practice.

Let’s review the components of strong two person scene initiations:

1. From the moment you enter the stage, actively engage either your environment or your scene partner with an emotional perspective dialed up to 11.

That is all.

With that, or those, emotional perspective(s) established, we seek to build sustainable scenes through heightening the pattern of the games at play and establishing and heightening the pattern between the games at play.

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SWOT #2 – The Details

The surprise inherent to improvisation is made even more satisfying when we’re specific in-the-moment. If we are too cautiously vague or too ungrounded in grasping for hilarity, then we deny the scene, our partners and the audience the power inherent in the specificity of The Details that allows a world to form from the nothing on stage.

The Details

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* The Details – 1st 3lement
* Endowments
* Mime
* Mime Exercises
* Here’s What I Know

SWOT #6 – Committed Mime

When we fill a blank stage with objects and an environment through committed mime, the world we create becomes that much more engaging, for players and audience members alike.  The audience loves to be able to “see” what we create on stage.  And if we really look at what we create on stage, we’ll find it easier to generate active endowments that can (and should) affect our play.  If we do as too many improvisers do and stand with our hands on our hips at stage center and engage only our mouths we’re putting a lot of undue burden on our words, and we should not aspire to be in-the-moment script writers.  Focus out and engage the world being created around you.  That’s good advice in improv as in life.

Committed Mime

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Mime
* Stage Picture and Environment
* Magic Clay
* Build A Room, and more

SWOT #9 – Active Endowment

We want active emotions in our scenes, so we need active details to react to.  If the doll your character is afraid of is actually on stage with you, then rather than just talking about how you’re afraid of dolls, you can actually act afraid because that doll is actively making you afraid in-the-moment.  If you endow the object with additional details you can sharpen the trigger for your emotional reaction.  That doll has an empty plasticine smile and way too many teeth for a baby and that’s what creeps you out.  See what’s on stage.  React to what’s on stage.  Define what’s on stage through your emotional reactions.  That’s active endowment.

On the flip side is when we talk about something in the past, in the future or off stage and talk in general, passive terms about our feelings toward that something.  Don’t make the audience wish you were off stage.

Active Endowment

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Endowments exercises
* Endowment of Active Elements
* Active Endowments Exercise
* Emotional Reactions to Active Elements
* Personal Engagement Circle
* Scenic Engagement Circle
* Triggers and Caps
* See something; don’t just say something