5 Myths of Improvisation
Myth #1: You have to be quick-witted.
Truth: Your brain runs fast enough. Improv is about embracing the moments and learning how to inspire your partner. Most of us have an inner critic or monitor that slows down the process of creation, but you can grow your ability to give that inner critic/monitor a break. It's got to be hard work doing all that critiquing and monitoring all the time, right?
Myth #2: It's all about being funny.
Truth: Improv is bigger than "funny." If you're just looking for the funny in improv, you are severely limiting your experience! Great stories take people through a variety of emotions, including humor.
Myth #3: Improvisers use secret gestures and codes.
Truth, well actually this isn't a myth. After a few improv workshops, when it's clear you're serious about improv, one of the Improv Elders will give you a secret unlock code to purchase the Improvisers Gesture and Codes (IGAC) Training Manual, 11th Edition. This 1544 page tome details all of the winks, hand-gestures, head nods, and ear wiggles that performing improvisers use. You'll spend a year studying the IGAC; then another two years living in a local Improvology Community. That's all I know, because after 6 months, I got uncomfortable when they separated us into groups of "breeders" and "non-breeders." With the help of family and friends, I got out. Ever since that day, when I improvise, I just try to be present and inspire my fellow players.
Myth #4: You have to have some innate ability to do improvisation.
Truth: No way. Humans can improvise. It's in the same gene as the belly button. People have been afraid of improv, but it's supposed to make you feel good. If you're in a workshop or a group and it doesn't feel good to improvise, change something. It's supposed to be fun, for everybody. Now, it is a learning journey so expect to be pushed a little outside your comfort zone. Expect to make joyful discoveries and have fantastic failures and get support and understanding from your fellow improvisers.