The Improv Life: Be a Cool Person That People Want to Work with

The Improv Life: Be a Cool Person That People Want to Work with

I got one piece of advice that had been taught to me by experience and repeated by lots of my teachers: be a cool person. People want to work with people who bring a chill vibe. 

Basically, don’t be a dick, jerk, asshole; in general, a person people would prefer to not spend time with because of the energy you bring and the reputation that follows you.

Not that you have to be fun 24/7 (although that helps) but people have to feel safe to be themselves around you. If you got that, than collaboration will be a lot easier.

Also, it’s emotionally draining to have to deal with an asshole who might not be aware their an asshole.

Maybe asshole is too strong of a word. What I mean is someone who is not considerate of others, puts their needs first, judges others harshly, isn’t aware of how their energy and behavior can affect a social ecosystem – just someone people wouldn’t want to hang out with.

Okay, Fernando, enough! I know how not to be an asshole! How do I become a cool person?

That’s a good question! I don’t know?
I guess be nice, kind, considerate, giving, listen, be a friend, try to do good when you can, etc. I’m not saying you have to be some goody two shoes trying to save the world.

You just have to be someone people want to spend time with because of the energy you bring, the vibe you maintain, and the contributions you make.

And by the way: I’ve been an asshole too. I’m pretty sure I’ve turned people away from working with me because I was selfish, lacking empathy, asked for too much, didn’t trust enough, projected onto to people, came off insensitive, unsympathetic, and arrogant without realizing how I was making other people feel – I’ve made mistakes.

But I’m learning from every experience. I’m not trying to be a cool person because I want to be liked; I’m trying to be a cool person because I want to work with people who excite me creatively, and I want to see what we can bring into the world when we collaborate.

#improv #people #cool #networking #empathy #eq #emotionalintelligence #safe #mistakes #grow #comedy #producer

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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: What I Learned About Owning Your Characters

Find empathy with your characters.

Here are my reflections.

1. At some point, your training will become instinct.

1a. This is more obvious in improv, but it’s also true for sketch.

1b. In improv, your training takes over immediately, and you stop thinking and you start acting. And because you’re making character choices in real time, you’re completely present in the moment.

1c. I was doing a scene with Liam O’Mahoney for the Feb.7th Big Selfie show where I played a narcissistic husband who was obsessed with breaking glasses of milk.

1d. I would get a glass of milk, smash it on the ground, and say, “This is all I know.” I would then ask for another glass of milk to break. Liam played a great spouse who hated enabling me, but did not know how to leave this toxic relationship.

1e. Based on a previous scene where someone broke a glass of milk because they wanted to, for some reason, I got the idea to make this first glass breaker my mother, and that’s where I got the line, “This is all I know.”

1f. Playing this character was easy because I was owning every single aspect of them. I just lived them and it was easy to know what to do everytime.

1g. In my mind, this character was a trauma victim who was aware they were damaged, but did not want to fix themselves either.

1h. Big Selfie had been working with Jason Shotts, and Jason had been drilling into us with the idea of owning our characters.

1i. When you discover a character’s personality quirk, your job is to just keep expressing that quirk.

1j. When you deflect – ask your scene partner to do something else so you don’t have to express your quirk – you’re putting all the responsibility for the scene on your partner.

1k. That’s wrong.

1l. Don’t worry about your partner. Take care of yourself by just playing your quirk, and trust your partner to do the same.

1m. Is quirk a game?

*By the way, this is just my interpretation and my terminology of Jason’s teachings, so I could be wrong.

1n. Yes and no? I don’t know. I guess sometimes a game would not ask you to do a deep character analysis of who you’re playing. So long as you play the pattern according to the t

1m. Is quirk a game?

*By the way, this is just my interpretation and my terminology of Jason’s teachings, so I could be wrong.

1n. Yes and no? I don’t know. I guess sometimes a game would not ask you to do a deep character analysis of who you’re playing. So long as you play the pattern according to the the rules of the game you’re good.

1o. The way my mind works, I’m able to create backstories for my characters pretty quickly.

1p. I’m not talking huge backstories, but just a simple thesis statement that makes it easier to live that character

1q. “I break glasses of milk because that’s how my parents expressed emotion”

1r. Made sense to me, but I see how bonkers it is now!

1s. I guess when you’re absurd, you see yourself as normal and the rest of the world as crazy.

1t. And that doesn’t veer too far off for everyone else.

1u. Because in real life, we all think we’re normal, and everyone else is weird for the way they do things.

1v. So I guess when you play a character, if you keep that in mind -“They’re all crazy! I’m the one whose normal.” – you’ll be able to play a real character who has relatable reasons for the things they do, thier behavior.

1w. Would that be called empathy?

1x. I guess so?

1z. So to play real characters, own who they are, and you own who they are by empathizing with them.

Hope this helped!

#improv #ocimprov #bigselfie #character #theater #actor #writer #empathy #jasonshotts

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