- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Heinemann Drama; unknown edition (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 (71 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,240 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. Buy this book, but also pick up one of the standards - know what you are not learning - if only so you can discuss it with other improvisers (I know Mick would not suggest this, but we don't agree on everything)
(2) If you are set in your ways and figure you know the right way to do improv - buy this book and see if you can open your mind a little. I would be interested to hear counter arguments to Mick's ideas.
I am calling all my improv friends and telling them to buy this book. It's the first book with something new to say in a long time.
Congratulations Mick. I wish you had written this book earlier.
Edward J Nevraumont
Co-author: The Ultimate Improv Book