On 9/1/13, Dave Hill and Matt Jones presented a workshop titled "Driver's Seat".
Here are the notes I took in the workshop.
* Hit archetypal characters. * Let the characters lead you to genres. * ... and to stories. * Build on the reality of that genre. * Let it expand into a whole world. * Make heightened, big, bold choices. * For characters, for the reality they live in. * Don't worry about being "grounded"/"real"/etc. * Remember, a character can always state exactly what's happening onstage.
* The instructors had a series of archetype-character prompts. * e.g., "Football coach at an inner-city school." * Treat your character as if you're *always* playing the "Oscar®-Winning Moment" game. * Indulge in the pleasure of speaking at length about something. * Enjoy getting to pile on specifics. * Take a second to settle into the character, if need be. * Be bold with voice, physicality, etc. * Basically, GO FOR IT. * "Nobody's gonna come to an improv show and say, 'That was too big.'" * Use the space. * Move around in it. * Side note: they did a great job of pointing out the good things about our monologs. * And finding teachable points in those. * The monolog doesn't have to be a real speech in the world of the story. * It could be a more Shakespeare-style monolog. * The speech can include a moment of change for the character. * You can find emotional variety as you go. * You can also vary pacing. * Quick; slow; riddled with pauses; marching. * You'll probably want to place this archetypal character in "the scene" -- i.e., the archetypal scene -- *for* that character. * i.e., your coach is probably motivating his inner-city team before The Big Game. * Listen to yourself as you start the monolog. * Cue off of that to find what direction you're taking the character. * [ed. "If that first thing was true, what else is true?"] * Use some of these specifics to figure out how your character feels. * DIVE IN, right at the start. * Don't slowly "ramp up" into the speech. * Playing big archetypes gives you license to make bold choices. * Character traits can easily become a "game" (i.e., a pattern) in a show. * And that gives you a "thing" that can make the character recognizable. * It gives you a trait to build the character around. * It helps you bring back the character later on. * Label who you're talking to in your monolog. * Ideally, it's whoever archetypal character *always* talks to. * e.g., the inner-city coach is talking to his team. * Avoid bridging and delaying tactics.
* Two people on stage, three to five minutes. * Be bold with the genre. * (Alternately put, "Use the genre to be bold.") * Really dig into the genre as much as you can. * Find its archetypal characters. * A country-house mystery might feature an eccentric detective. * Each scene begins with a random genre and subgenre. Examples: * "Sci-fi: The End of the World" * "Horror: Supernatural Beings" * (Side note: they'd frequently ask, "What's something we might see *after* this scene?") * In medias res is your friend. * It's great to start a scene by answering a question. * Special note for the romcom genre: * If two characters are falling in love, they have to pay close attention to each other. * That means you're reacting to the last line. * Literally the last thing the other character said. * You are "hanging on their every word".
* Two people onstage. * No genre suggestion. * Instead, maybe a noun or a location. * BUT MAKE BOLD CHOICES ANYWAY. * After 30-45 seconds, separate. * Each person writes what they think this movie is going to be. * (For this one, the instructors did an example for us; that was very helpful.) * Just get the "big ideas" for the movie. * Any choice is right * Ideally, you pick something bold, and you *believe* in it. * You can always work off of the little things that happen in the scene * Use them to inform big choices. * "Make the little things big."
* Two people * Three to five minutes * Can be a series of scenes, or tagouts, or anything. * Let the characters drive the scene.
Mood: contemplative · Music: none