Neil Casey 401 Notes Day Two

I just want to reiterate that this is me scribbling as fast as I can on an iPhone. Some of this may not be accurate, some of it may not be in full or out of context, all of it may have typos.

For those improvisers, I still just hope it’s interesting (it is to me) and I’d love to hear your thoughts.



Find a way to avoid stalemates, find ways to affect each other because the person who has a reaction, even when we’re disagreeing, bicker in a way that I know these people care.

Take pride in your job, in sex, whatever. Always care. If we catch ourselves playing characters who don’t care about each other find a way to care

If someone is being terrible to her and “drops a bomb” it’s either the other character being terrible or that this is the family/place/people who don’t like them/are terrible.

Who cares is just as important as who what and where. What are the stakes in this scene and why are we seeing it?

Don’t clever your way into two robots talking until the end. Part of what matters is the relationship between this two people and heightening that intensity.

What’s funny is the revelation, not game necessarily but the characters realizing their own situation, since it’s true to realize your own behavior and find ways that’s heightened.

If you’re not doing an opening, don’t start scenes with premises off one-word suggestions. It’s better to find something than a half-baked premise. I want to see you yes-and your way into finding the scene instead of ruminating on the back line to come up with a sketch idea.

A half-idea is great, a comedic premise is harder. “Sweetie we’re out of Chex” is fine.” “Sweetie were out of Chex because you always throw out our cereal” not so much.

What game idea did you get from “pineapple”? Just discover.

Openings are our way of creating special books in the library were making of comedic ideas. Great to draw a premise from it. But totally fine to come out with a half-idea or just a suggestion.

Corny is lazy, make full characters.

Never leave anyone hanging. Edit or come in even if you don’t know how to support.

It’s always better to edit sooner than later, but there is a difference between a laugh of completion and a laugh of a scene just starting. Know the difference between both and a pity laugh which requires the edit. (After a minute or two have these people earned the extension?)

Premise makes us feel like we can be goofy.

It’s really awful to watch people act like “look at me on stage, look how funny I am” because you’re pushing 30, I payed 5 dollars for this.

Don’t let the fact that you have a funny premise lower your level of acting. You’re always going to fuck up, but commit to try to honor it or else you’re disrespecting your audience because you’re not honoring the funny idea.

When someone’s acting is sitcomy when it betrays the premise, they don’t need to be there. When you see people play it real, the funny hits harder.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: