When you think of improv, do you think of comedians being crazy funny, making the audiences clutch their sides in laughter? Do you picture people coming up with hilarious speeches and one-liners so funny that you’re just amazed they could think of them at all?
Sure, that’s a popular depiction of improv – and with shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? And seeing many Improv trained actors starring in comedy films, it’s no wonder people might think that you have to be funny to do Improv training.
I believe you don’t have to be instinctually funny to study Improv. While it’s true that improvization classes tend to bring out the funny and quirky qualities in people that may already exist, that doesn’t mean it’s only limited to them. In fact, many corporate executives and businesspeople take improv classes to improve communication, learn how to think on their feet, and generally enjoy themselves and their work process.
So whether you were the class clown or always had your nose in a book, you don’t have to be funny to benefit from doing this training. What’s more, if you want to be the best actor you can be, improv can have real benefits for you:
Improv helps you think fast on your feet. This is a critical quality, especially when auditioning and asked to try out different approaches to the material. Improv can help ensure that you’re not thrown by these requests but can be creative with them which is very impressive to the decision makers.
Often movies have actors improvize dialogue for many of the scenes; in fact, some of the most famous scenes were the direct result of improvisation (think Han Solo talking to a Stormtrooper over the intercom). Improv helps you tp explore different options within scenes, which can assist you to connect with your character.
Improv work helps actors to be more creative, instinctual and unique especially with changes and last minute rewrites when there is very little time for preparation.
Bottom line, Improv training helps to develop confidence, be a better listener, trust your instincts and be more creative. No matter how you use it, it will benefit your life and any business, Don’t be intimidated by improv – you might just discover that you have an incredible new talent for it and/or it will help you be a better actor.