How do I get out of my head?
"How do I get out of my head?” This is the question that, in my experience, improvisors ask the most. I’ve asked it. Most everyone has.
How do I get out of my head? Here’s my simple answer: you can’t. You’re in your head every single day. That’s where we spend most of the time. Your brain and ego want to control your actions. That’s why it’s hard at times to improvise. Your brain and ego take over and say, “I don’t want to do this. I’m not good at this. Please tell me the answer and the steps first. The unknown is scary." Your soul wants to play. Follow your soul.
Don’t freak out, there is hope. Here are a few ways you can help with that feeling. Remember, when you're in your head, you're not in the present moment and space.
1. This ain’t math, baby. This is improv. This is FUN!
2. There are no right or wrong answers. No good or bad moves. Just moves that are or aren't supported.
3. Leave your ego at the door. It’s not about you.
4. Say yes, aggressively. To yourself and your scene partner and the idea. Yes! And…means, first and foremost, Yes! And... your own ideas. It gets confusing to me when someone says, "Well, a yes can be a no" and then cites examples. Ok. That's one way to do it. But keep it simple: a yes is always a yes. It's a guarantee. Instead of figuring out when a no is a yes, just say yes.
5. Build upon what your scene partner gives you. Remember: you are not alone.
6. Treat your scene partners like rock stars. It’s always about your scene partner and making them look good. Play scenes like you have a crush on that person. Make them look good and you'll look twice as good.
7 Tell yourself before you enter a class, scene, appointment, professional situation, date, etc., that what you’re going to do is good enough. Not just good enough, the moves you’re going to make are EXACTLY the moves that should be made.
8. Take the scene moment to moment. As the saying goes, bring a brick, not the cathedral.
9. Who cares? What I mean is do you care? Are you invested in what is happening in the scene? Get out of your head and into your heart. How do you feel? When you’re in your head, you’re worried about the plot of the scene, what’s going to happen. Also, who cares? Really, this is make believe. It’s supposed to be fun. So have fun.
10. Get excited in the scene to the point of absurdity. Strong emotion will trump the brain's intellect.
11. Get into their head. Get into your heart. Or, get into their heart.
12. Enjoy the ride.
13. Go easy on yourself. It’s progress, not perfection.
14. Mistakes are gifts. Mistakes are gifts. Mistakes are gifts.
15. Follow the fear, it will set you free…
16. Leave everything on that stage and realize that scene, that show, is one of many. I think coaches and teachers should give far less notes. Try to limit your discussion, in the group and in your head, about the show to 5 minutes or less.
17. Let. It. Go. Including this post. Now that you've read it, move forward.
Live - Laugh - Love.
Thank you for reading. As Martin deMaat said, “You are pure potential.”
Feel free to comment or ask a question. It could inspire the next blog posting.
You will find hints and suggestions to improve your performance as a troupe or an improvisor. We also cover stories from the field of performing on the stage as well as teaching improv. Sometimes we include case studies of our corporate work to show how improv can boost office productivity and morale.
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