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Connections And Fast, Cheap, And Out Of Control

improvoctopus:

Organic connections are the hallmarks of the third beat of Harolds, yet because of their fleeting nature they are notoriously tough to drill. Luckily, there’s other ways to familiarize ourselves with organic connections.

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control by Errol Morris is 90 minutes of…

Alex Berg is the improv philosopher big brother I didn’t know I wanted till now.

Some of his discussion of how connections are drawn in Fast, Cheap and Out of Control remind me of Walter Murch’s thoughts on editing movies, in his books “In The Blink of an Eye” and “The Conversations” (with Michael Ondaatje), such as how Murch talked about how the American terminology is to “cut” a film and the British terminology is to “join”, and how Murch would use techniques like assembling “representative stills” from every shot (and putting them on a board; the two dimensional layout necessarily would put shots adjacent to each other that weren’t intended to go together) and scrubbing through a reel on an analog machine — the randomness of both these techniques would sometimes prompt connections he wouldn’t have arrived at by more systematic, rational methods.

And this also reminds me of Miles Stroth on a particular exercise he made up for himself:

MS: Everybody has something. Adam McKay was, I still believe he is, the most inventive improviser I’d ever played with or ever seen. I started thinking ‘how is he doing that when he comes up with these wonderful, crazy things? Where is that coming from?’ Part of it came from the things that he read. Part of it was these strange connections he would make. I started thinking ‘what is it with those connections? What is it to make a strange connection?’ I would make up excersizes for myself and sort of train my brain to make connections it wouldn’t normally make. I would sit in my room. I lived with my parents until I was twenty seven years old. I would sit up in the attic just saying disparate words and try to create a mental image of them. I would sit there alone and be like ‘cat. Clock. How do I put those together?’ then I would imagine a clock made out of a cat. I would just put strange little connections together constantly, training my brain to be open to the idea of making a connection with something I didn’t expect.

Filed under improv errol morris fast cheap and out of control walter murch miles stroth connections

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Mirror Neurons And Audience Psychology

improvoctopus:

Mirror neurons are cells in the brain which activate not only when an performs an action, but also when it observes some other animal performing the same action.

[…]

Taken together, the psychological concept of flow and the neurological evidence for the role of mirror neurons seem capable of forming a basic theory of the factors at play during an improv show.

Mind blown, for real.

Filed under improv flow mirror neurons improv audiences

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Flow

improvoctopus:

Flow is a state of intense focus and concentration brought about when an individual’s skill level is matched to the level of difficulty of a task they are engaged in. Subjectively, a flow state is marked by a feeling of effortlessness and a kind of almost out-of-body sensation where ‘you’ drop…

Filed under improv flow