Category Archives: Adventures

Mile 111: Baby’s First Improv Class

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“I said, ‘Yep, what a concept.
I could use a little fuel myself,
And we could all use a little chaaaange.’”
–Smash Mouth, “All-Star”

Miles since last time: 85
Total miles: 111

Yesterday, I attended my first Level 1 class at the OKC Improv. In a word, I’d say it was…

GREAT.

Actually, I’m gonna need two words because “fun” should also definitely be thrown in there.

I could use several more adjectives, but I’d just be taking them out of the thesaurus entries for both fun and great, so those’ll work.

I mean, I wasn’t great–that would be awfully presumptuous of me to say (not to mention incorrect)–but I’m just starting out, okay? There’s obviously room to grow. A lot of very open, spacious room in which I may flail around without any idea of what I’m doing. Surely that flailing will eventually become slightly more intentional. Eventually.

Luckily, the other six people in my class are all funny and creative, and my teacher is the founder of the OKC Improv, so I feel like I’m in good hands and I’m not intimidated at all.

*cue uncomfortable laughter* Source

*cue uncomfortable laughter*
Source

Okay, maybe a little intimidated, but I’m doing what any normal person would do: shoving it down and pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s totally fine.

Since signing up for classes, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to get out of improv–you know, besides “be funny” and “think on my feet.” Those seem kind of obvious.

Anywayz (look, an inappropriate z–I’m being edgy!), here are some of the things I hope to learn:

  1. Become a better/stronger/faster writer.
  2. Go with an idea without talking myself out of it.
  3. In fact, let’s work on those filters as a whole.
  4. Also, maybe come up with some ideas.
  5. Jump in without being prodded.
  6. Be more present. (Ugh. I usually hate it when people say things like that–it has an air of pretension, but that’s my own word prejudice–but it’s still true. I want to be more present.)
  7. Work with fun, creative people and do fun, creative things that will hopefully encourage some form of laughter or generally pleasant feelings in all of us and others.
  8. Get more involved with comedy. I like it. It’s fun.

I may only be one class in, and I may have sweat through my cardigan during that one class (it’s gross but true), but I have to say that I’m pretty excited about this whole improv thing.

And yes, it’s a wee bit intimidating. Fortunately, the Ravenclaw in me is pretty much saying, “Yay for learning new things from knowledgeable people!” so I’m trying to embrace that.

I’m already looking forward to next Saturday.

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Mile 662: 1,114 Miles to Wilmington

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“I don’t want to live a lie that I believe.”
–30 Seconds to Mars, “Do or Die”

Miles Since Last Time: 78.75
Total Miles: 662

In spring 2012, I wrote a paper called “Pied Piper vs. Faun: Storybooks and Female Empowerment in The Sweet Hereafter and Pan’s Labyrinth” for my senior film seminar. One of my professors encouraged us to submit our papers for publication in journals. I shrugged, asked “Why not?” and was directed toward Film Matters, an undergraduate film journal published by the University of North Carolina Wilmington. About a year later, my paper was officially accepted. Yay!

PPvsF

This past January, I received an email inviting me to submit the paper to Visions4, a film festival and conference also hosted by UNCW. It’s completely organized by undergrads, for undergrads (or the recently graduated, in some cases), and featuring a day full of undergraduate work.

They were accepting films (which I didn’t have) and papers (which I did have). Again I asked, “Why not?” and submitted. In February, I found out that it had been accepted, and Friday, April 4, I did a fifteen-minute presentation over “Pied Piper vs. Faun.”

It was terrifying/exciting/scary/amazing.

Sure, I may have had a minor freak out in the days leading up to the event and whisper-yelled “This is impossible!” at my computer screen while I tried to make cuts to my presentation. I definitely finalized it about five hours before I was on a plane to North Carolina. Yes, I was somewhat intimidated by the other seven scholars who were presenting papers and the filmmakers who had made such lovely films. (I mean, they were using a lot of three- and four-syllable words, and I said the name of my paper incorrectly when I introduced myself.) Plus, my mouth was so dry during my fifteen minutes that my lips were sticking to my teeth.

presentation

I cracked a few jokes, though, and people laughed at the appropriate times. Success! (Even though it wasn’t really enough to return the saliva to my mouth.)

The feedback was positive, and I got to watch a lot of good short films and hear smart people talk about all kinds of movies. I toured Screen Gems Studios and saw the Sleepy Hollow set. (Seriously, I was IN the library, but I couldn’t take pictures or touch anything, which is probably for the best.) I walked on the beach, had coffee in Atlanta, and fell asleep on not one, but FOUR planes. And last but not least, my team won the one-hour, one-take video race. Success again!

Of course, I had to miss a few days at the gym–but if you’re going to skip some workouts, I definitely recommend spending that time in North Carolina.

One of the things that surprised me most about my trip was how it reminded me of what I really miss about college. In the last year and a half, I’ve partly forgotten what it’s like to be constantly around creative people who are passionate about their art and making stuff. The whole experience was really quite invigorating. It’s made me think a lot more about how I spend my time and how I should be spending my time.

Basically, I need to make more stuff.

I suppose my little trip to Visions4 helped me adjust my vision, eh? See what I did there?

Sorry, guys. That’s the risk of hanging out with a self-recognized dork.