I started improv 101 at UCB in Dec 2017. I took a 6 month hiatus before signing up for the next level because let's be real...it's ain't cheap! I don't know that I actually thought through continuing with it, but I've been known to have impulsive spells and signed up a week before 201 was to begin.
Class ran for 8 weeks. 8 weeks mixed with feeling like I had the chops for comedy superstardom! To feeling like I was the driest person to ever graze the planet. Most of the time I was thinking, hey just make the most of this and see what happens.
I didn't take Improv to be a better actor, I did it for fun. My classmates were 1000X funnier than me which resulted in me having zero expectations about my abilities. There's something nice about that, no expectations. It leaves all the room for failure but the failing doesn't hurt so bad because you're so dull to start with. By all means, this doesn't mean I don't want to improve. I've seen shows and aspire to be as quick witted and inherently amusing as the people who occupy those stages. In the meantime though, I'm ok with slowly trudging my way up each class level.
Regardless, I will say this: the community at UCB is fantastic. I almost felt like I was back in college wit the sheer amount of people I met- most of them nice, interesting and genuine too! Almost, if not all of these people I was in class with. Others I met at the cafe or at shows on sunset or franklin.
Would I recommend improv? Yes, if anything for the novelty of it. It forces you to think differently and simultaneously to not think at all. For a chronic loiterer who stalls around the hallways in my head, this is godsend. I haven't yet fully mastered it yet, but I've gotten better at paying attention to what's before me and not what's to come. I once asked my classmates how improv had helped their lives. Some mentioned overcoming stage fright, others gaining better listening. I on the other hand, couldn't yet give a reason. Now that class is over and I'm getting back to my regular routine, I think improv helped lower my anxieties. I was too busy improvising that I wasn't focusing on the things that stressed me out. Now that I'm consistently back in reality, I notice those stressors creeping back in. So what to do? More improv I guess!
For a split second, I always think to start my blog posts with something like "Omono hasn't been talking much lately eh?" Then I realize how frequently I think that, which translates to how infrequently I write, which isn't a cutesy intro anymore and is quite depressing which in turn leaves me in a puddle of disappointment resulting in me setting a writing goal for myself that I never ultimately reach because I procrastinate and only write when I'm moved to which I've learned is a terribly way to set goals. My was that a long sentence or what?
There is something consistent about when I write though, it's usually in the wee hours of the morning when I should be asleep. So perhaps noticing this pattern will help me in reaching said writing goal that I haven't actually set for fear of failing to achieve it. Speaking of fear, I'm taking improv 101 at UCB! My graduation show is actually today so I'm looking forward to crossing that mountain. I've been encouraged to take improv for over a year, but a mixture of fear, brokeness and procrastination have pushed it off till now. Well, better late than never amiright?....
It really did. I knew I wanted to dance to Leg Over by Mr. Eazi, and I knew I wanted a flashdance themed video, but it wasn't until I secured Sam (my pup co-star) that the wheels started turning and we put this thing in motion. For that I am eternally grateful to my four legged friend, and moreso to her owner for lending her to me for the day.
This is my wheelhouse. And it's fun and soo gratifying to see the things that swirl in my head get actualized. I'm also eternally grateful to the small army of people on facebook who have shared this video to get it out to their friends, and their friends, and so on. You always get that last minute fear when you make something that no one will like it. I still remember thinking who the heck is gonna watch this anyway? Well almost 8.5k views later I guess that's my answer :)
Interestingly enough when I first posted this video, my friend Ana told me how much she loved it and how confident I came off on screen. That feedback sticks with me not because I disagree, but because it puts into perspective how different reality is from what's on screen. I legit remember feeling sooooo awkward on set that day and so.....blehhh . And then you look at the final product and like Ana says, it's confident. It's interesting to see the 2 sides to that coin especially since I'm the subject in both worlds. But more importantly, and the takeaway here is this: what's on your screen is never what real life is like! Instagram, facebook, dance videos, they're all entertainment and hi-lights of our lives. That's all they are, hi-lights. So don't be fooled by the glamour and cool edits. We're still hella insecure, uncomfortable, socially awkward subjects with glints of confidence that we edit and cut to shine bright. I don't mean to undermine myself here, just trying to keep it real
Anyways, I do plan to do more of these videos. It's reinforcing not only for the positive feedback I'm getting but also because it makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile. It's also cool to be immortalized in video to look back on. I imagine watching this in 20 years and being able to enjoy it through more mature eyes. Ah, the future
Oh! And I started my own fb page, so go ahead and like it if ya haven't!
I don't remember learning about the Vietnam War in school. I'm not saying we weren't taught but I honestly don't recall anything about it. Anyways I've formed a bad habit of staying up way later than I should scouring reddit/news articles, and as I was binge reading the comments on the "Dads of Reddit, what's your best don't tell mom story?" I found the name Larry L Maxam in a commenter's story.
Corporal Larry L. Maxam was born in Glendale, went to Burbank High school and received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his bravery during the Vietnam War. While this is admirable, I caught myself wondering "What was the Vietnam war about?" I genuinely tried to answer before googling the answer but I couldn't summon anything. So I began my decent into the world wide web. I'm not well versed on the details of the war, but suffice to say it seemed like a really pointless war to get involved in. Anyways, as I read and mourned for all the soldiers who lost their lives in what I'm convinced were useless battles, I started reading up on the actions some of these said soldiers carried out. Which brings me to My Lai.
I've googles these images before, they seem familiar but it's a new wave of grief. Especially seeing the little baby bums and small human feet amid a pile of bodies. And so I'm caught in between hoping that the soldiers who carried out that massacre suffer for their actions, acknowledging that these were 19-20year old boys, realizing that at 19-20 years old you should know the difference between right and wrong, anger at then Presidents for putting their countrymen (read countryboys) into these situations, grief for the families that were destroyed instantaneously on March 16th, 1968, grief for the bullshit apology survivors received, grief for the fact that apologies don't do squat for the dead, sadness that a population of citizens on both sides of the war deal with the mental trauma following that 20 year span, anger that there is so much injustice in the world, anger that My Lai probably wasn't the only incident, anger that there is inescapable tragedy everywhere.
Exhausted. That's what I am. Literally and metaphorically. I am exhausted. The shootings in Las Vegas this past weekend had me shook. I don't know if it's because Vegas is so close, or because the shooter was up so high that he too could recreate his own massacre with a vantage point, but this one hit close. At the same time, I can feel myself beginning to numb because again there is just so much happening. I don't know how much of myself I can spread to grieve. There's too much to grieve. I don't know how people go on. If I block it out, I fear aloofness. If I let it swallow me, I fear mental anxiety and depression. I'm tired. I don't know what to do. How do you do this?