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Long-Form Improv: The Complete Guide to Creating Characters, Sustaining Scenes, and Performing Extraordinary Harolds 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1581159813
ISBN-10: 1581159811
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ben Hauck holds more than twelve years of experience as an internationally known long-form improv teacher, performer, and student, as well as more than twenty years of experience as a professional stage and screen actor. In 2007–2008, he developed and directed an extensive full-scale corporate improv training program exclusively for a multinational consulting firm, teaching the firm’s software engineers to perform long-form improv for audiences in New York City, Toronto, and London. From 2002–2006, he was the exclusive coach for the improv comedy group known as Devil’s Dancebelt. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allworth Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581159811
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581159813
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ryan Price on April 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The opening of this book contains a criticism of the "gold standard" improv books like "Truth in Comedy", as well as some in-person Improv classes for failing to clearly and unambiguously teach the student the subject.

My guess is that Ben must be an engineer, computer scientist or mathematician. He takes a cut-and-dried stance early in the book, that moves to practical and anecdotal. He does not dip in to a cadre of celebrity quotes and Del Close eulogies, which is totally fine with me, since 8 out of 10 improv books seem to.

If you are looking to start a long-form troupe, and you don't have a reliable mentor, I would pick up this book and "Improv for Actors" by Dan Diggles. If you like punchy, high-comedy, fast-laugh improv, then add the UCB Comedy Manual, with the warning that UCB is laser-focused on "the game". Ben Hauck gives you the tools you need to create a range of different kinds of stories, while Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts will teach you to find the game as fast as possible, and heighten it. For some people, this style is exactly what they are looking for. For me, I want to create a compelling story first, and see the comedy emerge from players doing something genuine and believable enough that when they say something absurd, it becomes hilarious.

That said, this book really helped me when I was looking to teach my group The Harold. If I could recommend only one book it would be Dan Diggles' Improv for Actors, with this being a close second.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ben Hauck's book is very methodical and clear in its approach to teaching the fundamentals of long-form improv. What I found most valuable about reading it was that, as an actor, I could easily apply what it teaches about conflict and scene work to my commercial acting work. Reading this book is SO much better than taking vague improv classes that only give you confusing emotional instructions and tips. "Long-form Improv" makes the process and the art clear to improv and commercial actors. If I was a drama teacher, I'd make my class read it and use it as a manual instead of just blathering on about saying "yes" and "committing to your character." :)
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Format: Paperback
I just got this and it is now one of my favorite books on improvisation! It's very clearly written and addresses some of the more mysterious aspects of improvisation in an accessible and straightforward way. The insights in the book were immediately applicable to my own rehearsals. Since the exercises are directly related to specific issues, it's easy to target exactly what you want to work on. I highly recommend it particularly if you're interested in understanding dramatic structure in improv.
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I recently adopted Ben Hauck’s “Long-Form Improv” for my intensive summer course at Yale. My job was much easier than in previous summers because my students read, understood and loved Hauck’s book. The author’s analysis of moves in terms of game theory, clear explanation of conflict and desire and discussion of ideation, relationships, attitude, heightening, endowing and justification all helped my students step off back wall with courage, play the games they discovered together and support each other appropriately. They performed the tightest Harolds I have seen from beginning students — and that after only five-and-a-half weeks of daily instruction. I would definitely adopt “Long-Form Improv” as a textbook again. In fact, I would love to see a whole sequel from this author just on group scenes.
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Format: Paperback
Ben Hauck knows Improv. If you read Long-Form Improv, you will have a leg up on it, too. Ben is a clear writer. I love the way he shares his investigations with the reader. His understanding of how gaming and conflict apply to improve is tremendously insightful and helpful. Ben is a thoughtful philosopher and pragmatic teacher. Consume this book!
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Format: Paperback
This book helpful for anyone who is practicing or performing improv. Ben's writing is clear, organized, and easy to understand. Understanding long form can be challenging and it really helps to have this book as a guide. A very helpful read. Thanks to Ben for taking the time to clarify this valuable and somewhat elusive art form.
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It's unfortunate that the author apparently draws his views on short-form improv from ComedySportz and Theatersports, the only competitive improv shows of which I am aware. To paint short-form with such a wide, sloppy brush by calling it "competitive and oppositional" shows a stunning lack of understanding of the form.
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