Another fabulous thing about Mick's feedback: Many times, it starts with "I invite you to try..."
When he noticed I tended to lead with my head, he didn't just say, "Don't do that." He invited me to try leading with my hands...or just following any body part into the scene.
When he pointed out that I tend to talk a lot and try to make sure everyone is aware of and comfortable with what's happening on stage, he didn't say, "Shut up." He suggested that I vary the amount of responsibility I took for the success of the scene.
Oh. Hey. Constructive criticism. Not every teacher, director or coach uses the same approach—but they all have the responsibility of replacing what they tear down with something new.
The majority of the Improv Thunderdome feedback and discussion on City 3's forums has been more about tearing down than building up. That's OK for Alan Scherstuhl—his primary obligation is to the audience, not the performers. But coming from people in your own community—honestly—how helpful is it to hear, "I didn't like that"?
That's a question, not a statement. My answer, though, is "Not particularly."
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On the other hand...I haven't hit "refresh" so many times on the City 3 boards and actually had something new to read in months.
I don't hold all opinions in the same regard. But the energy and passion in the discussions is exciting to see. Turns out I love talking about this stuff—and the fact that there's a growing number of people in town who'll talk it into the ground is exciting.
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It seems like at least a couple of folks were craving more feedback on their shows. I wonder two things:
- Is part of that desire the basic human need for affirmation—for someone to have noticed what you did and talk about it?
- How many troupes in town have someone dedicated to taking notes on shows and figuring out what to do with them next?
It was killing me not to take notes on Scriptease myself, but I'd tried it in rehearsal and ended up blowing sound and light cues. That night, I was there as a crew member, not a coach.
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I got a few great notes out of the workshops Exit 16 took this weekend.
From Susan Messing (and echoed by Mark Sutton):
- Don't just drink the coffee. Figure out why your character needs the coffee.
- Don't try to be funny. Look for ways to have fun.
From Mark Sutton:
- (Quoting a note he was given) We spend too much time on stage moving objects around, instead of being moved by objects.
- Don't worry about the success of the scene or the show. All you have to do is let the thing that's happening right now matter to you.