Feb of 2009: My indie teams had slowed down to a screeching hault. My personal and professional life wasn’t great. I was then called in by the artistic director of the theater, to which I was on improv house teams for roughly 3 years. I knew it, he was taking me off of the team.
I don’t remember everything he said because I was too busy fighting back tears, anger, and rage. He said I should step away from improv and maybe try scripted material.
I felt like sh*t. The only good thing about this was he wasn’t a jerk about taking me off the team. He was sympathetic and didn’t tell me I was an awful and crappy improvisor. Now, of course after this happened, I felt like an awful and crappy improvisor.
I have other friends who have been removed from house teams and have gone on to being very successful. They’re currently on teams that fit their style and allow them to shine.
I was hanging out with my current indie team this week, and one of my team members was telling me a story about a coach who told one of her team mates that he was terrible and should stop doing improv.
To me, that is bad bad bad coaching. BAD!
No matter what you are training for: improv, swimming, math, plumbing, ANYTHING! Your teacher should never ever tell you that you are not good. You are training! You won’t be good! It is their job to help you to learn how to get better.
I had been doing improv for 6 years when I was told to stop. I have no idea if I was a bad improvisor. After I was booted from that improv theater, I didn’t stop. At least not right away. I did a lot of improv when I had moved to San Francisco. When I moved to L.A., I totally stayed away from improv. I was completely focused on the business of being an actor. After a year, I got the itch. Once you’re an improvisor, it’s really really hard to stop.
I’m very glad I had the break. I’m very glad I’m back in improv. I don’t feel like I’m terrible at it. In fact, I have a completely different approach to improv than I did when I first started. It makes me happy.