Neil Casey 401 Notes Day Five (Not Really)

Sorry to disappoint.

This class we had a sub who I don’t agree with and who teaches frequently so I didn’t take notes.

A moment first to say how incredibly stupid this is.

When one takes an improv class, they are paying to get a trained professional’s opinion. Notes should be like magic candy falling down from the sky, great gifts that when ingested make you better, stronger, quicken the pace of your learning and experience. Especially hard notes or major ones, since they can help protect you from major flaws that you might experience for the rest of your career. They are all gifts and to take them as otherwise is incredibly stupid, since the alternative is just to pay to not listen to something which, while that might resemble many of our college experiences, is not a productive use of time or money.

The self-seriousness that I’ve brought to Neil’s class is admirable and has gotten me comments from people I don’t know and people I respect alike for paying attention and sharing what I learned.

Now to argue the irrational other-half:

This is an art form where you are acting like a jackass in front of other people hoping you might find some validation or laughter. It is painful and often difficult, which can make taking notes hard, since failing hard in a scene is a big blow to the ego, even as I’ve gradually become a more adjusted person. It took me a month to realize the validity of the notes from a Curtis Gwinn workshop because of how I received them (even though they were right!), a couple weeks to grasp the truth of at least some of my second 401 notes and a couple months to grasp the notes from my first, if I even have fully yet. The ego is difficult to protect, especially for people struggling with insecurity, read: all comedians/performers.

So, when I found myself in a class with a teacher who had previously thrown his pad in disgust at a move I made on stage and then continued to note me hard in this class, I just felt like fuck it. I don’t like this guy. This isn’t fun. I’m not taking notes. I’m just going to play with as much confidence as I can, try to make moves and support things even if I don’t know how, just try to have a fun improv class for myself and, if possible lastly, listen to what he had to say.

So I am sorry, community, that I do not have notes to offer for this class, where Neil was not there. I am not perfect, nor a perfect improviser, or anywhere near such.

I am instead an epicly insecure person without a friend in a judgement situation where the goal is to look specific kinds of dumb.

Instead, I will steal another person’s hard work and share with you the extremely valuable notes that Will Hines wrote from an interview with Chris Gethard, who also rarely teaches class nowadays. It even has some parts about what I talk about here.

If anyone cares about what I think (and few people do in these posts), I will say only that I don’t agree about Chris’s comment regarding relationships, his last note. I believe that everything including games, location, what have you is present in the way these characters on stage feel about each other, their relationship. If we move to the unusual, it is from the usual. And there is no better way to ground ourselves, in the usual, in reality, than to think about the relationships that we have with other people. Those dynamics are among the truest things we have to build on. It’s one of the reasons why I love and prefer the Magnet so much, because it is much easier and richer for me to play game when dealing with real people and relationships, much easier to work with a person as opposed to a cardboard cut-out with a game-title on it.

But Chris is much better and more experienced than me. The divide is incredibly stark and wide.

And everything else he says I get 100% behind.

Again, all thanks goes to Will Hines, who is himself, certainly one of the best teachers I have ever had.

Here are the links:

Teaching Interviews: Chris Gethard, Part 1 of 2

Teaching Interviews: Chris Gethard, Part 2 of 2

As always, enjoy and thoughts are welcome.

I’ll leave the depressing girl stuff, for our regular programming.

2 Responses to Neil Casey 401 Notes Day Five (Not Really)

  1. Linds says:

    The other day I was in a yoga class with an instructor that I did not particularly enjoy. I felt tired and kept coming out of poses a bit earlier than the time she recommended. So she commented (looking directly at me, or at least, it felt like it), “When you come out of a pose early, this is how you deal with tough situations. So think about it.” I wanted to punch her in the face. It was only later on that I had the “revelation” of realizing that she was 100% correct. (Might have cried after. You know.) ANYWAY, it’s interesting that you chose to constantly put yourself in a situation (class & performance) where you have the opportunity to learn this lesson. I don’t know if I have any conclusion for you on that one. Just an observation!

  2. I love your blog…your humor is on point. I hope to see much more of you on Bethany’s show!

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