It’s been a few days since my last post, but I thought I should write a wrap-up to summarize my feelings about the whole adventure. First of all, I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends and my family. My friends were there for me when I needed them to be (whether to do a show with me or listen to me) and I can’t express how thankful I truly am. I found it simply amazing how much I grew as a performer and as a person within the past month. I’ve also proven to myself that I can accomplish anything. It sounds so cliché, but it’s true. I stated before this even started that the idea of doing a show every night for an entire month gave me butterflies. It terrified me. So much so that I puked on the first night. That’s right. I puked. I was so overwhelmed and nervous because of what I knew was ahead of me. Although, once the ball started rolling, the whole month felt like it went by in a flash. Time flies when you’re having fun. I had some of the best shows of my life and I also had some of the worst. I had the ability to analyze myself as a performer and to break-down my shows on a night-by-night basis. By doing so, I was able to identify what works for me. I was able to explore new characters and test them out in front of different audiences nightly. While the material was always generated on the spot depending on the suggestion, I had certain characters I would bring out to see how they worked within that setting. Some did. Some didn’t. Doing this helped me to find this out at a very fast pace.
I think one of the greatest things I improved on was being a better listener. A trait that applies not only to improv, but to life in general. I feel like I listen to everything people say now and I’m more engaged in regular everyday conversations. In addition, I feel like I’ve lost any sense of nervousness. While I love being on stage, there was always some nervousness when stepping on stage. Nervousness powered by questions of “will these people like me?” or “will they laugh?” Now, I don’t have that feeling anymore. I’ve come to the realization that it’s not about them. It’s about me, how I feel, why I’m doing this (cause I love it) and supporting my partner. I go on stage and I have fun with my scene partner. I look forward to exploring and playing with whomever I step on the stage with. This also has done wonders for my approach to auditions (more on that later). In addition, I’m more confident about my choices and myself as an improviser. I’m not second-guessing myself as much anymore. The second I feel a move should be made, I make it. JUST DO IT. Nike slogan. If you sit back and think about it for too long the moment will pass. Then, you’ll leave the show kicking yourself in the ass wondering “WHAT IF.” That transfers into life as well. In other words, making a decision and leaving no room for regret. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’m quicker. I’ve found myself catching onto the games faster. If someone says “this”, I know that we need to say what “this” is. Before the whole month even started, I knew I needed to work on things like being more descriptive. I had always found myself to be vague. Now, I’m more detail-oriented. I’ve found that the funny is within the details. For example, saying “I’m having cereal for breakfast” is not going to have the same effect as “I’m having Boo Berries for breakfast.” The description may have just opened the door for a whole new world of things you could explore.
In the end, I think I’ve bridged a gap. I think that getting to where I am now in terms of how I feel on stage and my abilities as a performer may have taken up to a year or more had I continued on the route of just doing 1-2 shows a week. I recently went to an audition (mentioned earlier) and I cannot belief the sense of calmness I felt compared to previous auditions. I’ve always been absolutely terrified (and hesitant) going into auditions plagued by the questions of “will they laugh” and “will these people like me?” But this time, I walked in and had no sense of fear. I just wanted to play and have fun. To me, it was no different than anything I had done for the past 31 days. In other words, I have a different mindset now. You can look at it two different ways. You can view it as “this is my competition and I need to be funnier than them” or you can view it as “this is another opportunity to jump in with people I’ve never played with before.” I went in wanting to have fun and that’s all that happened. Each scene I did went extremely well because we were having a good time. I ended up making a team. Someone said, “See what 31 days did? There’s your reward for working hard and confirmation of your growth.” I feel like a new person. I look forward to performing with this new group as well as the people who’ve asked me to join them in independent groups. I guess the final thing to take away from this is that I’m happy. I’ve gotten better at something I absolutely love to do. I set a goal and I accomplished it. This means that I plan on setting more goals for myself. Goals like writing a sketch show, writing a web series, and filming some of the things I’ve been wanting to film for months. Setting goals. Anyone can do this. People will nay-say and talk shit, but you’re not doing it for them. You’re doing it for yourself. The moment you realize that is the moment you grow as a person.