Thursday 5 May 2016

Yes And Action! Improv in Movies

Many of us are used to considering improv as a thing in itself. So much so, that we often forget that it can be a part of something rather than the whole thing. TV and movies don’t generally have a great relationship with improv. Both forms like predictability, and in fact need it to be able to secure a budget. There have been some improv TV shows, but not many, and the results tend to be patchy partly because improv tends to be a live medium that thrives on an audience knowing you are making it all up, which is hard to convince a TV audience of. Especially because as a TV viewer, you do not get to see the scenes that didn’t work. And I’ve even seen them reshoot ends they didn’t like, and seamlessly edit it on so in fact the final result is actually not your pure improv.

Is it that you are, in some manner, directing your conversation in my general direction?

But as part of the the process of developing the characters or story or for creating that spark in specific scenes within that story, it does have a place in movies especially. Still a very small part in the bigger picture (no pun intended). Although it depends upon the director. Some use lots of it, some use none.

Here is a well done video from the Now You See It channel that talks about the use of improv in movies. There’s also a chance to see a clip of the very attractive and articulate Dave Morris (you should watch his TEDx talk in full, even if you have already done so a hundred times). Key and Peele are also a good choice to feature because they both come from the improv world. Actors who developed their acting and knowledge of comedy scenes as improvisers but now work in the (mostly) scripted world.

Watch the video and feel free to share any feelings below.