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Commitment Is Vulnerability

The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but in spite of doubt. -Rollo May In this day and age, the word "commitment" has come to be synonymous with the word "choice." Now...

Seeing the Refrigerator in the Road

One of my brothers had a friend, John, who bought a car many years ago. When my brother asked him what kind of car he bought, John replied, "Um, it's a... a Pedros." It turns out that it was a Peugeot. Not remembering what brand of automobile he bought wasn't the...

Got to Be Real

What is "art"? ... It's an expression. You have something you have to say. You groan, you moan, and you say it. You paint it, you dance it, you sing it. You express it out of your own soul. "Non-art" is where you please people. Non-art is where you have very little to...

Why Improv Is Absolutely Essential

"I hate imagination," the woman growled at me during an innocuous exercise in a FIZ program I was leading. I wasn't expecting that. I'd never heard anyone say that ever, much less in one of the hundreds of course and workshop sessions I've led. A bit stunned, the most...

Soft Focus and the Art of Telling a Story

Over the past few months, I've worked with a variety of improvisers in class and performance situations and I've noticed that for a lot of them, it's very difficult to tell a story. Mind you, many improvisers aren't interested in telling stories. It's a stylistic...

Go Ahead, Screw Up. It’s Good for You!

Lately I'd been thinking a lot about that, not because I'd been having fun screwing up my life but because I'd been seeing people stagnate from avoiding mistakes. Then I got a wonderful holiday gift from my On Your Feet friends, Gary, Julie, and Brad. These are very...

Could You Be More Specific?

It's just a thing... -Paul Sills Improv is about moving from the general to the specific—the more specific, the better. This isn't science so I can't prove that statement but it is a commonly held belief in the improv world and my experience certainly tells me it's...

Creativity: What Is It and Who Has It?

The experience gathered from books, though often invaluable, is but the nature of learning; whereas the experience gained from actual life is the nature of wisdom... -Samuel Smiles Creativity and innovation were the big buzzwords at the MBA Leadership Conference...

Focusing on Process

Most of us want to do well at the things we attempt. We want to do them right. If it's improv, we probably want to get a laugh. If it's dancing, we strive to get the steps correct. All our lives we're taught and encouraged to meet expectations and excel, whether it's...

Fun with Responsibility and Discipline

Improv is to scripted theater as jazz is to classical music, I've often said. In both improv and jazz you take the constructs of the classic form (which is not to disregard the essential elements of the African diaspora in jazz) and create something new and different....

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