When people hear “improv” more often than not they think of “Whose Line is it Anyway”. But improv isn’t just about coming up with funny things to say and do with a giant foam cowboy hat. The skills you learn studying improv are invaluable as a Host. It also is an incredibly helpful tool to have as a host.
The most important part of improv is listening. And I mean active listening. If you’re not actively listening to everything your partner (and for hosting your partner is whomever you’re sharing the camera with – a co-host or someone you’re interviewing) is saying or not saying and are caught up in your own head thinking of the next question or some witty comment, then you are missing potentially interesting statements or responses that can lead to far more entertaining and revealing moments than you had been planning in your head. It’s great to go into a co-hosting or interview situation with a plan but you have to be ready to drop it when something far more interesting presents itself.
Don’t apologize or judge yourself. When we mess up our first instinct is to apologize and then the judgment starts. A person will start reading copy, stumble on a word or lose their place and immediately apologize. You can see the confidence and enthusiasm drain from the person as they start judging the rest of their read. Audiences and casting directors want to see how you take that gaffe and turn it into something amazing. Improv teaches you that mistakes aren’t something to apologize for but rather embrace and see it as the gift that it is. A slip of the tongue, a stumbled word, mispronouncing a word are all opportunities for you to have fun with yourself, your co-host or the person you are interviewing and make an incredibly memorable moment that will stick with a casting director.
Improv helps you realize that you are your greatest tool. Take what is uniquely you and let that be a part of your hosting. Let that influence the types of questions you ask, the way you interact with a guest or co-host or handle yourself when you flub a line during a live read or audition. There are thousands of aspiring hosts trying to be the next Ryan Seacrest. Well, Ryan is already doing that and doing it very well. Instead, trust in your uniqueness and focus on being the best possible of yourself and that will make you stand out.
In the Weekly Workouts that I’ll be coaching on Monday nights as part of the Sena-Series Hosting classes we’ll work on embracing your mistakes as gifts, making you your best possible version and being as comfortable as possible in any situation so that when the time comes you can show a casting director why they don’t need another Ryan Seacrest but the first you. See you Monday nights from 7-9.