Take a break.

Joe Kovach with some great advice: Slow your roll, young improvisor

Earlier this year, I made a smart choice to take a break from improvising for two months. I had taken breaks from improv before that had lasted six months because I had things to focus on such as getting through a semester in college. This time, it was for different reasons.

One of the reasons was because I had been seeing and doing so many improv shows and taking so many classes to the point where I was not living much of a life.

I had to put my foot down and made the smart choice so that I could take some time off.

Breaks are important in improv because you need to find ways to keep refueling the fire for creating something great on stage.

If all you’re bringing is improv to the stage, then all you’re going to be doing is a scene about improv. It’s like training for a half-marathon. If you overdo the amount of miles that you put in for the big race, then you’re going to either burn out or get injured. I think people in the improv community forget about taking breaks because they are worried that they won’t be able to do their best if they stop. Just because you stop for a while doesn’t mean it’s not going to be there. Once you’re an improviser, it never leaves you and It’s still going to be there waiting for you when you’re ready to come back.

When you take a break, that’s when you take the time to rebalance your life and re-energize yourself with stuff that is NOT improv related. The last thing you want to do is beat a dead horse. Go on vacation to a part of the country you’ve never visited before, volunteer for the elderly, take a girl on a date, go to concerts, start exercising, get your heart broken, pay the bills. All of this stuff helps and can be helpful to creating something on stage.

Take as much time as you need when you take your break. Take a month, two months, six months, maybe even a year or two. Some times, things just take time.

Some times the thing that brings you back is knowing how much you miss improvising.

The thing that brought me back was how much I missed doing it, but also being able to connect with other people.

When you come back from that break, make sure you keep balancing your improv life with your own life.

Keep doing things that can in some way fuel the fire and allow you to go into an interesting place on stage.

If you can have the strength to take a breather for a bit, do it. Those moments are vital so that you don’t crash and burn.

Live - Laugh - Love.

As Martin deMaat said, “You are pure potential.”

Thank you for reading.


Joe Kovach is an actor, improviser and writer residing in Chicago, IL. A graduate of the theater program at Columbia College Chicago as well as the Second City Conservatory and iO programs, he has performed at Second City, iO, the Annoyance, The Shithole, and several places around town in various groups. He is also very involved in the Second City Training Center, helping out the Improv For ASD program. He owes his family, friends, mentors, and improvisation everything.

Joe is the newest addition to the Today Improv family will be posting more thoughts on the subject. Check out his blog.

Feel free to post your questions to him in the comment section below. Please help by sharing this blog post on social media. Every bit helps.

Written 5 years, 7 months ago.
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