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Tina Fey Solved My Revision Block

So I'm listening to NPR last night during the re-airing of last April's interview with Tina Fey, and she spoke of a very important lesson she learned from improv classes.

The question asked of students was, "When do you enter a scene?"

When you think of something to say?  No.

When you come up with a good joke or character idea?  No.

You enter the scene when someone needs you.  When there is a lull in the action, when an on-stage character says something that the audience should see or hear more about.

In other words, improv actor, it ain't about you.  It's about what the other actors need to give the audience a great experience.

So there it is, Sweet Omni Narrator.  It doesn't matter if you have something to say, even if it's a supremly cool something, even if yuo think it's critically important.  If the characters don't need you, butt out.

Aside from its writing application, I found that part of her interview quite interesting, particularly the fact there's no mention of whether the actor may be "ready" to enter.  The awareness is shifted outward, and with it the faith the lines will come if the entrance is correctly timed.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
queenoftheskies
Jan. 7th, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
What a great revelation.
blairmacg
Jan. 8th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
It was certainly a helpful one. But it does mean re-envisioning the scene. So I'm making progress...just moving a little slowly.
thanate
Jan. 7th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
Neat. (also, yay solved writing problems!)

Relatedly, I was thinking about the co-writing conversation earlier in terms of a more concrete game of "yes, and..." Possibly my improv training will come more in handy than I thought. :)
blairmacg
Jan. 8th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
Oh, absolutely! That's a great way to think of one's role in collaborative writing. Are you starting one?
thanate
Jan. 8th, 2012 02:31 am (UTC)
I think there was mostly a lot of hypothetical "what an interesting idea" talk, and everyone is busy with something else just now. So, not at present, but the option's there.
blairmacg
Jan. 8th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
Good!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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