SWOT #1 – Vulnerable Confidence

When we show Vulnerable Confidence we share ourselves without hesitation, comfortable whether we are accepted or not, committed to accepting others whether we are accepted or not.  If we are afraid to show the depth of our personality and/or our emotional core, we deny the scene, our fellow players and the audience the power inherent our Details, our Reactions and our Selves.

Vulnerable Confidence

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Get confident, stupid
* Confident acceptance
* Cafe Scenes
* I Am Superman
* Here’s What I Know
* The Path to Unconscious Competence

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 #3 – Bold Initiating Choices

When we show make a bold choice the moment we step out on stage, a blank slate is immediately endowed with an active element that provides fuel for a scene to grow.  If we put off making a choice – instead timidly walking out to the center of the stage to meet our scene partner and cautiously negotiate a scene on vague information – the scene is doomed not to go anywhere out of fear of going in the “wrong” direction.  In improv we are collaboratively building something out of nothing; the moment we make a choice we have something to build from, and the earlier in the scene we have that something the better.

Bold Initiating Choices

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Why “What” should not wait for “Why”
* Emotional Character Development
* Emotional Initiations
* Hot Spot
* Freeze

SWOT #4 – Self Contained Emotional Statements

When your initiation is all about you – your perspective toward where you are, who you are and/or what you’re doing – you establish a solid foundation for your character to move forward from while keeping the door open for many potential paths forward, confidently capitalizing on the improv “magic” of “making it up as you go along.”    If instead you dictate the scene to your scene partner(s) – defining their role, their perspective and/or reason for being on stage – you risk putting all the onus for the scene on your idea and pushing the audience in a position of critique rather than of awe.  Saddled with your idea, your scene partner may be hesitant to make a bold move of his/her own, restricting their creativity and hampering the scene’s growth potential.

Self Contained Initations

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* The Self Contained Emotional Statement
* SCES Exercises
* Mick Napier sez, “Take Care of Yourself”

SWOT #5 – Emotional Perspective

When we spontaneously emit an emotion toward something imagined on a blank stage, that’s crazy – and the audience loves it.  Society’s path to “maturity” often overlaps with a push to subdue your emotions; the upside is that people like watching other people share their emotions on stage – it’s a cathartic surprise.  A scripted actor’s whole job is to make an audience believe that the emotional reaction they’re rehearsed is real in-the-moment. In improvisation, we have a leg up; we are all experiencing what’s happening for the first time.  And as improvisers we don’t have to understand our motivation to emote; we just have to emote – feel!  If you don’t have feelings, get off the stage.  An improviser without access to their emotions has to be a very “clever” improviser.  Relying on cleverness alone works for very few people, let alone improvisers.  Not engaging your emotions is improvising without one of the core elements of improvisation that can evoke a response from the audience beyond the capabilities of any other performance medium.

Emotional Perspective

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Acting is believing in your emotions
* Emotional Reaction Circle
* Yes, Yes I Am
* Acting vs. Indicating
* Tyler Durdan sez, “How’s that working out for you?”

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 #7 – Agreement to What IS

Agreement is a cornerstone of improvisation. We’re on stage creating something out of nothing. If I create one thing out of the ether then we have something. We want to build that something up and out; we don’t debate the validity of something made up.  Inquisition, opposition, negotiation and transaction are counterproductive on stage to our doing what the audience came to see: Improvisers exploring an invented reality.

Agrement to What IS

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Collaboration
* Heightening Emotional Agreement
* Yes, Yes I Am
* Kick The Duck Red, Rover

SWOT #8 – Reaction

Anyone can talk about something on stage. Not everyone can react to in-the-moment stimulus on stage. The few, the proud, the brave improviser reacts boldly in-the-moment to make-believe and taps into the art’s unique surprise.  The audience knows there’s no script to tell you how to react, so your reaction comes out of “your” perspective. The audience reaction of “I would have said that,” or “I know a woman who would have said that,” is such a satisfying response for any performance medium. In improvisation, that power is compounded as the audience knows that your reaction was “your” reaction in-the-moment.  Reacting to active elements on stage also give establish a foundation on which to build Personal and Scenic patterns and games, making improv more Pavlovian for the player and rewarding the audience for “getting it.”  If we’re not reacting, then we’re just talking.  And good luck with that.

Reaction

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Reaction – the 2nd 3lement
* Endowment of Active Elements
* Emotional Reaction Circle
* Personal Engagement Circle
* Scenic Engagement Circle
* Triggers and Caps

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

SWOT #10 – Patterns of Emotional Behavior

The key to sustainable, dynamic two person scenes that are most conducive to improv as improv does best is setting up patterns of emotional behavior.  While in the Facebook age, the world defines their friends by who, what, where and when, we know we know a person when we can say, “That’s how he is.”  It is through how our characters interact with their world – other characters, objects, actions – that the audience comes to know them.  Knowing how our fellow players’ characters will react enables us to play to them, to set them up.  Setting up and leveraging patterns of emotional behavior equips us to establish and evolve expectations to engage and surprise the audience.

Without patterns of emotional behavior, improvisers explain more than they exhibit, they act erratically if they act at all, and they disengage an audience that gives up caring about flat or scatter-shot scenes.

Patterns of Emotional Behavior

If this Weakness is identified, the following posts may prove helpful in coaching to the Opportunity:
* Scene Trajectories
* Establishing Triggers
* Sustainable Scenes
* Behavioral Stakes Exercises
* How, not who, what, when, or where