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Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser Paperback – September 26, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0325009421 ISBN-10: 0325009422

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Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser + Improvise.: Scene from the Inside Out + Truth in Comedy: The Manual for Improvisation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann Drama (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325009422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325009421
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

This work will leave you saying, "Well of course. Why didn't I think of that?"
Gabriel J. Caruso
The only part of the book that's hard to grasp while just reading, is the exercises listed in there and teaching tips.
Amazon Customer
I found the exercises in the book useful, and it is a good practical guide for improving your improv.
Tyler Harms

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel J. Caruso on February 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Improvising Better is a must have for anyone who wants to do just that. I'm currently in my fourth year of doing improvisational comedy, and my biggest regret is that I didn't buy this book earlier! This work will leave you saying, "Well of course. Why didn't I think of that?" Written in a conversational tone, it will fool you into believing that Jimmy and Liz are actually in the room fixing your improv flaws. This book can be read in just a couple of hours, but it is through rereading it that it gains most of its value. It is a must-have improvisational reference work.
If you're looking for a quick fix to almost any of your improv problems this is the book for you. Almost every chapter has a handful of games that will help you hone your improv skills and make you more ready to take on the stage. It's simply amazing how much knowledge can be shared in so few pages. The coauthors share over 30 years of experience in this field. Does anything else really need to be said?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mad Collector on July 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have had the luxury of being coached by Liz Allen. But for those that have not had the opportunity, she and her co-author have come up with a fun tongue-in-cheek book that gives the more seasoned improviser a chance to reasses their path and how to make their improv work even better.

The book really paints a picture of what the improviser faces both socially and professionally. It reviews the basic improvisational tools, something the seasoned professional sometimes forgets about. And, the text is not dry at all. Bits of humor are thrown in that keep it an interesting read.

If you are wanting a diversion from your chaotic improv life, check out this book and see the culture of comedic improv mirrored humorously within the pages of this fun title! And get many helpful performance hints as well!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer L. Forrest on July 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish I could give this book a 4.5 stars - for the most part, I really liked the book and what it had to say. It's a quick read and easy to understand - 18 chapters (although each one is like 1-2 pages) outline common pitfalls students of improv theatre have. Chapters include: What Happened to Yes?, You are Required to Play the Opposite Sex, Choosing the Funny over the Craft, and Yes Begins Offstage. My only complaint is that while 80-85% of the book would be appropriate for high school students, some of the examples of scenes and some of the language and the Chapter on Fear of Playing Politically Incorrect Characters made the book unusable for me as a school textbook for my Improv Classes- which is a shame, because there is so much great information in the book. I realize they were writing this book for adults and in that sense it's great. I just wish there was an improv book like this geared for the high school improv student who is not quite yet "professional" and yet not like some of the other books I've seen geared (or at least marketed) towards the age group - too babyish. If you are teaching college or above this might be the book for you - otherwise this is a good resource for teachers, but can not be handed out as a textbook.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jonathan on May 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am torn about evaluating this book. I am not sure if there was a concerted effort by the community to revise how improv is taught since 2006, but there was literally nothing in this book I hadn't heard before. All these lessons were imparted to me by various teachers and coaches. All of the lessons were considered fundamental to successful scenework. That being said, it never hurts to hear them again, but I didn't find the exercises particularly useful. I think Napier's book, Improvise.: Scene from the Inside Out, is a much stronger book. It achieves the same goals but coming at the problem from a different perspective: focusing on the scene. I think I would have gotten more out of this book if it has included a more comprehensive set of exercises.

This is still a solid book for a first year improviser in a bigger city, and probably helpful for anyone who hasn't gone through a full curriculum of classes at an established theater.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith Lyle on December 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
There are lots of improv books out there, and this is definitely one of the best. It's a nice, easy read. The authors simply state all of things that are usually forgotten by the actor. They don't spend a lot of time telling you how great they are or all of the famous people they've worked with.
I would personally call this a must have if you are a serious improvisational actor.
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By wendy on January 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
A while back, I was listening to podcast on improvising. A guy by the name of Jimmy Carrane was the guest. At the end of the podcast, Jimmy Carrane and Liz Allen's book was mentioned so I ordered the book. I expected to glean some things from it, and I was pretty excited to see what it offered. I wondered what new tricks I would learn, or I wondered what techniques I would gain to improve my improv skills. When I first got the book, I was a little shocked about how thin it was. Honestly, I was little disappointed that it was thin. As I opened the cover and began to read the first chapter, I knew that judging a book by its size was a huge mistake. Jimmy Carrane and Liz Allen's wasted no time jumping into the topic at hand. They had me at chapter 1. Throughout the rest of the book, I was captivated, not necessarily by some new great idea or technique, but was poignantly reminded of the importance of the fundamental skills of this craft, of issues of self esteem and of the importance of my scene partner. The book did offer some new exercises that I had never heard of Overall, this book was very inspiring and beat some much needed sense into me. It made me remember that fundamentals should never be forgotten. It is a must read for any improv artist.If you have forgotten, It will remind you to love the process.
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