Sorry, I Forgot About You, I Was In The ’Zone’

Did I ever tell you how scared I was about making this Improvised Documentary on Improvisation? Exactly a month ago, I woke up, looked around me, saw all the equipment I had purchased, my flight details to the US and the state of my bank account… I put my hands to my head and exclaimed: “F@*%! What have I done?!?!” I was both petrified and excited. A month later, the excitement persists.

I was afraid. I was afraid nobody would want to interact with the idea. I was afraid I would look silly trying to talk people I did not know into joining this, and to tell them I had no idea what would become of the project. I was afraid that I was simply throwing money out of the window. I was afraid everything would go wrong. I was almost petrified, there at the edge, but luckily I had already lost my balance and there was nothing I could hang on to. I had already dragged other people with me and started falling, faster and faster and started to feel the excitement again.

I was excited. I was excited of finally doing what I love, of following one of my ideas to an extent I had never done before. I was excited to be in contact with people who were simply getting ‘it’. Experience after experience, meeting after meeting, the excitement intensified but I was getting calmer and calmer at the same time. I started to find in myself the capacity to stop, watch and listen, to take it all in and realise how ‘lucky’ I am.

I was supposed to keep everyone updated, to record more VLOGs, to use social media to generate the buzz, exploit every single opportunity to hopefully gather the attention needed for this documentary to grow into something special. Then it hit me, it was already something special. All the people I have met were special. The way they opened their heart to my questions and opened their art to our cameras. We were searching for something that goes beyond improvised artistic expression, and we kept finding it. Sorry I forgot about you, but I was in the ‘zone’. That place we go to when we improvise.

We’re almost done shooting, at least for now, at least for this. We have left sunny Los Angeles and are spending a couple of days in New Jersey. We have a couple of encounters left before we fly back ‘home’ to Europe. I wish I could have continued West instead of coming ‘back’, explored other countries, explored other minds and other perspectives.

I have not touched the ground yet, I am still falling, and will continue to fall for the next few months, at least. The process is far from finished, and I look forward to continuing sharing it with you and revealing some of the details. I don’t know whether I will crash, whether I will find a trampoline at the bottom or whether I will simply keep flying… and it does not matter. I am grateful, to all of you have been my counsellors, my guides, my therapists, my wind… my friends.

As Stephen Kalinich puts it: “Everybody got one, but they don’t know what it is.” Keep exploring it and I wish you to never figure it out.

Relax Your Crack ( Hello New Orleans, Thank You Chicago, Los Angeles You’re Next)

I’m suffering a very slow internet connection. At times, just loading my emails seems to take forever. I wanted to upload a few clips and an episode of the vlog, but decided to postpone it all. I was half-forced to take a day off yesterday, and it feels as if I have wasted a lot of opportunities. We’re in New Orleans. We were supposed to be out there finding musicians and meeting more improvisers and learn from them. Now that I stop to reflect these words come back to mind: ‘Relax your crack and don’t be the asshole.’ dixit Susan Messing.

Our time in Chicago was amazing. Every single meeting we have had gave us that extra boost in confidence. I don’t usually hug people (some of my friends used to joke that I’m allergic to hugs). I have had people I do not know hug me and that love slowly transformed into fearlessness. I realise that the ‘stress’ I felt this morning comes from my ambitions, from what this documentary is supposed to become and that is directly related to my fears. I want to be in a safe place, now and in the future, and that need for safety is transformed into attempted control, dixit Rance Rizzutto.

Continue reading

Follow Your Fears (Landed in Chicago, Thank You NYC)

We have landed in Chicago! Right off the bat we have received a lot of info and met some interesting people. One week won’t be long enough to meet everyone, but sadly that is all we have. Consider us excited about this city already!

New York has been amazing and I’d like to thank all the people we have met through the Magnet Theatre (especially Rick Andrews), the good people of the PIT and the North Coast (especially Rachel Rosenthal) for sharing their passion with us and letting us capture a glimpse of what they do. It was inspiring to see the level of dedication they all have. There is a strong sense of community, positive vibes and support towards each other’s activities. It was a great boost! Continue reading

Is There Too Much Planning in Improv? (and Chicago You Are Next!)

I have to be honest. There are moments when I feel I am still over-planing this documentary. I spend a fair amount of time reading and writing emails, searching the net and looking to the future to ensure everything will be fine. Does that make me a cheat?

New York you have been amazing so far. I’ve had the chance to encounter various improvisers, musicians, actors, comedians and teachers. One of the question I like to ask them is: “Is there a trick? How much of this is planned / how much of this is truly improvised?” The answers vary but they seem to all go in a similar direction. Once you are on stage, you improvise 100%. Some people have described it as a trance, some people feel like they are becoming someone else, some people simply let go of their fear and need for control. Continue reading

An Improvised Documentary on Improvisation – Landed in NYC and Preparing for Leg 2. 

First of all, thank you. Thank you to all of you who have contacted me with encouragements, suggestions and offers to meet and collaborate. This whole idea seems a bit ‘crazy’ at times. You have helped me to realise that, at least, it isn’t ridiculous. As I write these words, we have landed in New York City (and are looking forward to a tasty slice of NYC Pizza, any recommendations?) We are scheduled to receive a lesson on improvisation on the 13th of January with Rick Andrews at The Magnet Training Center. We look forward to learn some basics and kick-start this project. We are staying in NYC for a week and are still looking for more comedians, musicians, poets, dancers, therapists and more to encounter before we leave for our next destination. Please, share this info with anyone you think might be interested.  Contact us, we came all this way just to meet you.

On the 19th of January we are flying to Chicago. So many of you have pointed us in that direction: “It is the birthplace of improv”, “You MUST come to Chicago” ”Why do you even start with New York?!?!” (I see that the rivalry is about more than just Pizza). We will be landing in Chicago on the 19th of January in the afternoon. Please, do get in contact. Where should we go? Who should we meet? Where should we eat? Your guidance is extremely valuable to us! See below how you can get in touch with us… I am looking forward to reading from you.

We would hate for this journey to end too soon. We don’t want your money, we rather have your help. See below how you can help us, but let me add this: Do you work for a hotel? Please share what we do with your managers, they might be able to help us! Do you work for a restaurant? Please, share what we are doing with your boss! (Sergej can get a bit moody when he eats bad food) Do you work for an airline? Give it a shot, tell you superiors about us and what we are doing! We will be sharing all about them on our social media channels and include them in the final work.  Continue reading

It Has To Be Done… or How I Am Improvising a Documentary on Improvisation (and I Need Your Help)

I have a deep respect for improvisers of all sorts, poets, musicians, comedians and more. People that are so ‘prepared’ and free that they can just ‘do’. They can adapt, they can do so quickly and yet maintain a certain quality in what they output. I am curious about them. Why do they do it? When did they realise they could just do it? How long did it take them to get to that moment? I want to learn from them and hopefully liberate myself from a tendency to find comfort in the plan and especially from a tendency to obsess over the result rather than the process. If you are afraid to look like a fool, you end up not doing anything while other people are looking at you.

I have invested in a production kit and have already booked a flight to New York City where I will start shooting an improvised feature length documentary on improvisation Continue reading