The Improv Life: It All Comes Down to Communication and Connection

The Improv Life: It All Comes Down to Communication and Connection

I took a series of personality test years ago courtesy of my university’s career center. Taking personality tests became a norm for me while at Cal.

The Myers Briggs was used extensively by a professor of mine to help students gain insights into their personalities, flaws, and opportunities for growth. I took his class 3 times.

This other test I took was specifically to assess which careers I would be best fit for.

Honestly, I looked at the results and didn’t process them. I had Brazil on my mind as I was leaving for a life changing study abroad experience.

But I knew better than to just throw them away. I put the test results in a folder and decided I’d look at it later.

Later became years later. I was thinking about my life path, and if I had made the right choices. I dug up the folder, pulled out the test, and poured over the findings.

What they said was this: I was best equipped to work in something with communication and connection which could involve writing, leadership, and other stuff in those areas.

When I read it, I was a writing tutor, leading an improv group, part of others, doing weekly shows in Orange County and LA, writing blogs and poems.

Honestly, it was like looking at a photograph of myself wedged in the corner of a mirror with the photograph looking back at me: this was who I was then, who I am now, and probably who I’ll always be.

Ironically, it was that same Brazil trip where I decided that no matter what I did with my life, I was going to live as a writer. I wanted to live as a writer – because looking back – writing (and all its forms, which include improv and performing) was a way of communicating and connecting with people – a 2-in-1 activity that would express my heart and fulfill my soul, giving my life a purpose that would transcend any job, place, or relationship.

That’s a hell of a promise I made to myself, and looking at these test results all these years later only confirmed that I made the right choice.

#improv #personality #personalitytest #communication #connection #writer #brazil #choice #destiny #heart #soul #purpose #promise #fate #theater

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The Improv Life: Why Bits are Important to Friendship

The Improv Life: Why Bits are Important to Friendship

I had this job once where no one did bits. I’m not kidding. I would throw a great line just waiting to be riffed on, and the potential bit would die on the vine.

Or some body would unknowingly deliver a great premise just asking to be tossed around a circle and have every possible joke made about it. But it would just become nothing.

Hanging out with comedians and writers had spoiled me. Everything was a bit, a run of jokes to see who could come up with the funniest line. I mean not everything was a bit, but the possibility to see the humor in every situation and riff on it was always on the table.

Nor did they understand the concept of bits. I tried teaching them, but they never understood. It’s not that you need your co-workers to be good at bits; it’s that bits make life fun. They inject humor into any situation that otherwise would’ve been boring and absent of meaning.

Not that every situation must be a bit. And living in a constant state of bitiness can be exhausting. You’re always on (or feel like you have to) and you feel like you can’t be your honest self for a moment.

But not doing bits at all. Damn. That’s a hard one. What they don’t tell you is that a bit is a shortcut to friendship. If you can do bits with someone, you can also be honest and real with them when you need to be.

Friendship isn’t always about making each other laugh. It’s also supporting each other during the different movements in the opera that is life. Sometimes you need someone to laugh with; other times you need someone to hug you while your world falls apart. And if you can do bits with someone, you know you can shed tears with them too. That’s why bits are important – it’s a way to find real friends.

Shout out to all the friends I made throughout the years because they were good at bits.

#bits #improv #comedy #friendship #community #relationships 

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The Improv Life: My First Walk on Santa Monica Blvd in a Real Long Time

The Improv Life: My First Walk on Santa Monica Blvd in a Real Long Time

Took a walk on Santa Monica Blvd for the first time since the pandemic hit on Saturday.

It hit me different. Felt like no time had passed although it’s been over a year and a half since I stepped foot near the Pack Theater, one of my comedy homes.

I walked to the Broadwater Theater for my Fringe Show with Company of Angels, and I thought of all the people I would usually see on this walk, other Pack peeps going to the bar after a show, walking to their cars after a long night at the theater, going to go get tacos, whatever.

I really thought I was going to see someone I knew.

I forgot that theaters create time sensitive neighborhoods where you can see people you know and like during a very specific window of time, like Sundays from 6pm to midnight.

How often in life can you expect to bump into people you like and look forward to seeing? Theaters create those opportunities, and those opportunities to connect become relationships, and those relationships are what create a community.

I missed my Pack Theater Community in that moment, especially when I realized I wasn’t going to randomly bump into someone and share an unexpected special moment. I don’t know, it would’ve been cool to see Bryan Musil and give him a hug.

The positive takeaway is this: as I’ve been reconnecting with theater friends I haven’t seen in a while, it feels like no time has passed because we all went on pause together, so we can just pick off from where we left off – I hope we can all pick up from where we left off when we meet again.

#improv #theimprovlife #comedy #sketch #clown #packtheater #actor #writer #people #relationships #community #memory #saudade

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