- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Heinemann Drama (March 3, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 032500630X
- ISBN-13: 978-0325006307
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Improvise.: Scene from the Inside Out Paperback – March 3, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
In this sense, I think that "Truth In Comedy" is the best INTRO to improv, for someone just starting out. Then, I'd recommend "Improvise: Scene From The Inside Out" as a necessary followup, and then Keith Johnstone's "Impro" as a whole new viewpoint and also a deeper insight into the philosophy of being in the moment. (By the way, I would avoid the Viola Spolin book - it's written in a strangely stilted, boring, hard-to-read style, and really contains no memorable information).
Particularly useful in Napier's book are the "Exercises To Do At Home", which is something I've been looking for - most other books have exercises which are meant to be practiced in a group setting.
I found the chapter on "Improvisation & the Second Law Of Thermodynamics" to be unnecessary though - it didn't really add anything and seemed to be sort of a weird tangent. Luckily, it's short.
Anyhow, after reading this book I really do feel as if I understand a lot more about what separates a "great" improviser from a merely "good" one. Now comes the hard part - PRACTICING & GETTING UP THERE AND DOING IT!!!
P.S. I was recommended this book by Dustin Sharpe, my Improv instructor at the Acting School of South Florida, and also a member of the awesome improv group Mod27. Thanks Dustin!
(1) New ideas poorly articulated (Improvisation for the Theatre for example - the bible of improv that is impossible to read cover to cover)
(2) Books that cover old ground in an easy to read way that is effective for someone trying to learn improv (Keith's second book, my own book: The Ultimate Improv Book [hopefully ;>])
(3) Books with 'improv' in the title that are more collections of games or (worse) exercise-teaching plans without any learning outcomes.
This book does not fall into any of those categories. I'm amazed it was published.
It's a book for people who already know improvisation. But Mick argues that the most accepted ways to teach improvisation are not only ineffective, they are COUNTER effective.
And he makes a great argument.
I had already started on the path he lays out (I've no longer teach 'blocking' off the top, instead concentrating on reducing fear and encouraging failure), but I have not gone nearly as far as he suggests (Not teaching blocking ever). It's a bold step and I am going to try it in the next class I teach.
In short, who should buy this book?
(1) If you are already an improviser. You've been trained (somewhere) and are looking for a challenging new way to look at your crafty
(2) You are an instructor who is looking for a new way to teach (not new games, but new principles)
Who should also buy this book:
(1) If you are buying your first improv book.Read more ›
This book is basically the opposite of that. First, Mick dismantles the rules, telling a convincing tale about their creation in which successful improvisers attempted to replicate their triumph by analyzing and avoiding their failings. It makes enough sense to make a reader regret ever giving mind to the "rules" of improv and lament the times it's gotten them thinking instead of just doing something, which is the first step, Napier says, of good improvising. And that's at the heart of his philosophy - support your scene mates, yes, but first do the selfish thing and take care of yourself. You will support them more with a strong choice than with being polite.
Because that's the realization that anyone makes when improvising. Eventually they'll have to make exceptions and do what feels selfish. So it's best to be honest with ourselves and learn right off the bat that that is what we should be working towards, not avoiding.
Also, this may seem tangential, but Napier never name-drops once. This is part of his personal philosophy, and while he may avoid it only to keep himself from getting a big head or distracting people from what is important, the meat of the book, I believe that it works on a much more important level.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my favorite book about improv. Mick Napier builds up improv with a deep understanding of humor, performance and the self. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Stuart Wilson
The new testament of Improv Comedy behind "Truth in Comedy". Napier is solid in this ideas and this is simple to digest. I highly recommend this.Published 1 month ago by Aaron Campbell
Really great advice on approaching improvisation from a fresh perspective, by a man who really knows his stuff. Mick Napier is one smart fellow.Published 6 months ago by William Russell
Filled with great advice for individual improvisers It touches on all of the major aspects of scene work: editing, starting strong, object work, listening etc.Published 7 months ago by Mike R.
Performing improv for 13 years I have read a lot of bad and a few GOOD improv books. 1. UCB 2. Improvisation at the speed of Life by TJ & Dave & 3. Improvise by Napier. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Josh Crawford
I really enjoyed reading Mick's book. He answered a lot of questions I've had for a long time about improv, and cuts through a lot on nonsense I've heard about it for a long time. Read morePublished 7 months ago by John
Well written by an Improv giant. A must read for anyone learning the craft.Published 8 months ago by Jim Taylor
You'll probably learn more about improvisation from this $13 book than you will from $1,000 worth of classes.Published 14 months ago by Charles W Madsen