...is that you just want to learn more.
I told the Exit 16 kids tonight that I posted their notes online. Their first response: "NO! Now we have to live up to it!"
After rehearsal, I talked for half an hour with two really fabulous girls about that, the festival, Thunderdome, shows, playing and improv in general. It's interesting talking to kids who have been doing this for three years who have some of the same feelings I do after almost 20: "I know what I should be doing. How come I can't translate knowing into doing?"
One of the books I have (but haven't read yet) is a Theatresports history: Something Like a Drug. No kidding. And the most potent crack on the playground is improv festivals.
You watch Susan Messing and Mark Sutton, and think, "Why the hell can't I pull that off?" Then you take their classes, and you get a glimpse of the philosophy and training that makes them that way, and you think, "OK, with enough training and dedication and direction..."
But of course, if you're honest with yourself, you acknowledge that the X-factor is talent.
I can train all I want. I can have the highest standards and the loftiest ideals, but at some point, my level of dedication (I'm a professional—but it's a hobby), training (intensives, at best) and talent (solid, but serviceable at best...I'm an adaptor, not an innovator) dictate how far I'll go.
I could choose to be more dedicated, but get more out of my corporate whore job than I ever did from running a theater (or festival, or high school league). I'm beyond-average obsessive about training—but not enough to quit my job, move to another city or use up all the vacation time and money on classes that I could use to hang out with my tiny, adorable nephews. And I've seen enough genuine, raw improv talent—and you can spot it when they're 16—to know where I stand.
At a festival in Austin a long time ago, I got to listen to Del Close, David Koechner, Adam McKay and Mick Napier talk about their work—and hearing about what it was like to write or play at SNL made me think, "Hmm. Corporate writing jobs—deep down—aren't that different." A few weeks ago, I hung out with Mo of the Union and she talked about what it takes to make it in Chicago.
Uh...not for me. So now the ongoing challenge is...how can I be the best improviser I can be within the constraints I've set for myself...and make sure it never stops being fun?
And then Keith throws out questions like this and gets me thinking about it in a whole different way.
I have a feeling that—even though my constraints and definition of "fun" are different from others—I'm not the only improviser in KC who wrestles with this.