Things to learn
I just finished my first class at the Upright Citizen's Brigade, which was a blast. I've done improv before, and have even taught it at summer camps - but hadn't taken a class in the city yet. So I had a lot of the fundamentals down already. There was still a lot for me to learn. Firstly, it's hard. There's a lot to keep track of, and the more you think while performing, the worse you are. It's really a process of training yourself into these certain habits that tend to produce funnier and more real scenes.
Beyond feeling like my performance improved, I think my understanding of the structure of comedy increased. I have been pushing myself to write more lately, and this class has helped me refine my comedic side. I really do think every actor should challenge themselves to write, if only to understand storytelling better. I've heard all the excuses 'I'm not that creative' 'I'm just not good at it' 'I'm illiterate.' I call Bull***t. Writing is a muscle, and how do you improve a muscle? You take steroids. Or work it out. I suggest working it out because I'm afraid of needles.
My point is, anyone can be a writer - sure you may not be a Dostoevsky or a Shakespeare, but through practice and focus and drive, you can start putting some thoughts down on paper that are worth sharing or shooting or maybe even selling to somebody! I've lately been reading Story by Robert Mckee, which is incredible illuminating. He breaks down the structure of a story so well. I've read so many scripts that just don't do the basic things he mentions, and I DON'T KNOW WHY.
-- Shawn Dempewollf