Neil Casey 401 Notes Day Three

This was a rough one for me personally, but only the regular blog readers want to hear about that so I’ll save it for the posts. The dividends are these notes, this week pertaining to group games, Harolds and scenework.

As always, these notes are rushed, done as possible with gasps, sometimes relating to specific scenes you don’t know about and maybe highly inaccurate. I’ve talked to Neil though and he seemed fine with the attempt and I hope he’ll let me know in the future if anything is flat-out wrong.

As always share your thoughts if you’d like.



Cut-to’s are brutal because there’s no responsibility, just saying “you do it”. It’s jarring for the audience only to be used if necessary.

Sometimes you can get to the fun just by mirroring, filling out the reality rather than inventing or adding.

Group games are all about making small moves following the patterns listening to what everyone’s doing.

Terrible group game is character a and 7 character b. bad is joke a person in a line. Not terrible but we can do that. Third bad one everyone talking over each other.

Fine if you come out one at a time, all at once, mix of the 2 is fine

A group game is not just a scene it can be but a good group game is when the intellect and ability of ability of 8 improvisers following a simple pattern. A lot more ouija board than video game

Everyone’s tempted to take control but you’ll find something much more interesting if you’re just reacting, just like follow the follower: you did something and I’m going to do something like it not the same because I’m me

Don’t label or take control since that’s fear working on you. The smaller the idea to start the group game the better. In a two person scene, we have to get things rolling quickly in a group game each person has a lot less to contribute. It’s pure group mind.

Go drink together after your class, like your teammates. It will keep you from being as stand-offish /conflicting in scenes.

If you’re coming in with a premise, hit that premise hard so it’s not open to interpretation and if it doesn’t stick be okay with that. At that point you’re doing an organic scene even if you don’t need to. Don’t be so passive that you are sticking with your premise without hitting us with it. Ideas are cheap, they can be discarded immediately if they’re not useful.

In any human affairs when you start saying “you do it”, you’re kind of sunk. It’s not good teamwork.

Make your move, don’t play tug-of-war. If they don’t get your move, make it harder. Don’t just stare at each other as improvisers and have a pissing contest.

If you think you’re playing a woman and you’re referred to ad a buddy but he takes her to a dirty movie and called a buddy that can be the game. Just figure it out. One of you is right, but just make the decision.

The fact that I come and see improvisers getting annoyed for another improviser for making a move is mind-blowing. This isn’t rehearsed and even a “bad” move is a gift, there is no script for this. The best improvisers are always generous and say let’s make this work, they’re never pouting on stage saying “what are you doing in my scene?”


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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: