But, Out

A woman in my class this week told me that since our first class, where we learned what it means to “yes and,” she noticed the amount of times over the week that she had the tendency to write “but” in her text messages. She attempted to take the advice learned in class in order to make her text communications more positive.

In improv, “but” is basically the same as “no.” It’s telling your partner you’ve heard what they said (maybe); you don’t like their idea, you think you have a better idea, or more likely, their idea scares you and you’re worried about how to pull it off,  so you’re going to try to squeeze in your safer idea in the scene instead.

For example:

“Alright Mom! It’s time to go to the moon!” 

“Ok honey, but the moon’s too far away, so why don’t we just go to the grocery store instead?”

It might as well have been:

“Alright Mom! It’s time to go to the moon!”

“No. We’re going to the grocery store.”

It’s sometimes remarkable that people think they’re listening and responding positively, when they’re really steering the scene (or the conversation, or the making of plans, in a non-improv setting) to discount their partner’s ideas or wishes.

Maybe we could all benefit from my student’s exercise. For one week, notice how often you text “but”, use “but” in an email or say “but.” Reflect on it. Is that “but” necessary? Or are you using “but” to turn down someone’s idea or invitation because you think you have a better idea or because you’re afraid to know where theirs might take you.

All this to be taken as a reminder that it doesn’t take a hard no to refuse someone’s offers and ideas, onstage or off.

yes-but.png

If this blog post has opened up some bubble in your brain and you want to read more about “but,” in a context other than improv, check out this Fast Company article:

The One Word That’s Undermining Everything Else You Say

From the article:

“If you never used ‘but’ again, you’d be just fine,” she says. “It’s a conjunction used to marry two completely separate ideas. Why do that?” – Karin Hurt

(PS. they totally mention improv in the article)

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Con Round 4, Fringe Round 2, Head Spinning Round and Round

It’s been longer than I would have liked it to have been between blog posts, but there was a good period there were my sole energy was spent on trying to stay awake, and thus blogging became less of a priority.  I have a new bed now, so that seems to have helped the situation, for now.

Also, I just read something that really inspired me to keep writing my little CCCs.   So back on the saddle again I go.

Today I am beginning the first day of my 4th Second City Conservatory course.  This is, for those of you who are not aware, when we begin to write what will eventually become our own little Second City-style revue.  We’re down two (and nearly 3 for a while there) people from when we began the process in January.  (Was it January?  Let me go back and check…yup January.)  We’re starting fresh with a new teacher (this guy)  and we were just asked to read this incredible blog about creating a Second City show from the perspective of a former Main Stage director in Chicago.  I was glad to have had the opportunity to have worked at the Second City as a host, specifically because I was able to witness this process first hand. (Not through the eyes of a director, however – Melody didn’t think the surgery would be particularly beneficial on her end…)  However,  I got to see what it was like for one show to slowly absorb new material and evolve into what would become the next revue.  I saw it and I wanted so badly to be a part of it.   And here we are in Con 4, a taste of what it would be if we were performers on the Main Stage.

 

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I look forward to documenting (more closely hopefully) the process from here until our big sexy Conservatory 6 production.

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Simultaneously, I am working at CBC still.

Simultaneously, I just moved to the suburbs.

Simultaneously, I continue to contribute my help, where possible, to the Canadian Comedy Awards Communications Committee.

Simultaneously, I try maintaining a relationship with a bear.

Simultaneously, I am working with my Water Wings partner on bringing the show a bit more up to snuff to take to Winnipeg, where hopefully we will get a bit more support from the community in terms of seeing our little comedy show and enjoying it.  We met a few days ago to discuss some modifications to the scripts, an edit here, an added dance here.  Things we can do to tweek the show and to make it better.  Not, because we didn’t think it was good before, but because these things are in a constant state of evolution.  What worked in Montreal may not work in Winnipeg.   What worked in Toronto didn’t work all the time in Montreal.  Adjustments, tweeks and rehearsals are critical within the next few days in order to ensure the show is superb by the time we bring it to Winnipeg. I had my first over-the-phone interview in French, by the way.  That was pretty excitant!  (But not in the France French way.)

I leave for Winnipeg in a week.  Holy crap.

I’ll have to miss two Con 4 classes for this.

And use up all my CBC vacation time.

But this isn’t complaining.  This is what has to be done.