PCA2
Tina Fey’s Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat*

 The first rule of improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. So if we’re improvising and I say, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” our improvised scene has ground to a halt. But if I say, “Freeze, I have a gun!” and you say, “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!” then we have started a scene because we have AGREED that my finger is in fact a Christmas gun.

Now, obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.

As an improviser, I always find it jarring when I meet someone in real life whose first answer is no. “No, we can’t do that.” “No, that’s not in the budget.” “No, I will not hold your hand for a dollar.” What kind of way is that to live?

The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “What did you expect? We’re in hell.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “I told you we shouldn’t have crawled into this dog’s mouth,” now we’re getting somewhere.

To me YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.

The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” If we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers.

In other words: Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. We’ve all worked with that person. That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up!” and “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.”

MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.

Instead of saying “Where are we?” make a statement like “Here we are in Spain, Dracula.” Okay, “Here we are in Spain, Dracula” may seem like a terrible start to a scene, but this leads us to the best rule:

THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities. If I start a scene as what I think is very clearly a cop riding a bicycle, but you think I am a hamster in a hamster wheel, guess what? Now I’m a hamster in a hamster wheel. I’m not going to stop everything to explain that it was really supposed to be a bike. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up being a police hamster who’s been put on “hamster wheel” duty because I’m “too much of a loose cannon” in the field. In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents. And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident. I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or Botox.

*Improv will not reduce belly fat

-From Bossypants

  1. sketcheeguy reblogged this from sostark
  2. dancing-clockwork-puppy reblogged this from sostark and added:
    Tina Fey - words cannot describe how funny, smart and sexy she is as a whole. I need her book.
  3. haoticna reblogged this from sostark
  4. violetlemay reblogged this from sostark
  5. moniquesorgen reblogged this from sostark
  6. whyiwakeearly reblogged this from sostark
  7. deepinsmaugspeer reblogged this from sostark
  8. twistedsweets reblogged this from sostark
  9. keikifujimi reblogged this from vespertadpole
  10. vespertadpole reblogged this from sostark and added:
    This is so applicable to real life and everything else and aaaaaaaaa just readddd itttttt
  11. jcliffyhuff reblogged this from sostark
  12. kingsfold reblogged this from sostark
  13. joshiepo0 reblogged this from sostark
  14. thelarkandthedove reblogged this from sostark and added:
    WORDS TO LIVE BY!
  15. pariahknight reblogged this from sostark and added:
    My professor sent me to tumblr for homework… bless him.
  16. thegrassaintanygreener reblogged this from sostark
  17. petridishartemis reblogged this from sostark and added:
    I think this is highly applicable to roleplaying, as well.
  18. kellycalifornia reblogged this from sostark
  19. dontthrowsand reblogged this from sostark and added:
    Rules to live by explained by a lady I admire.
  20. frenchisntcool reblogged this from sostark
  21. secretroleplayer reblogged this from sostark and added:
    Solid advice for not just improv, but roleplaying as well. Roleplaying is essentially written improv. Don’t be the dick...
  22. jeremythinksthings reblogged this from sostark and added:
    Just read this in Bossypants and had to share it. Makes me glad I did theatre in school.
  23. outofdelirium reblogged this from sostark
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