Gary Austin’s workshop: highlights

This weekend I galivanted, played, cried, explored, failed, joyed, thrilled, danced, derobed, and foolished in Gary Austin‘s ever-amazing improv workshop.

In the rare moments I wasn’t on my feet, I had the opportunity to furiously tap out a few notes onto my phone, to share with you today.

It’s none of my business what they (the audience, the casting director, the producer) think of me. That’s their business. My business is my own opinion of me. The moment you make it about being liked, you’re dead. You must always seek what pleases you onstage. [Carol Fox Prescott calls this “seeking the joy of your own experience.”]

Audience buy the illusion. When they go to a movie with an actor they’ve seen in ten other projects, they’re there because they like the actor and agree to buy that it’s an illusion that this is a real story. The audience tell themselves a story, and what resonates for them will be the stories from their life that the movie (or play) make them remember. The story belongs to them, not you.

A script  is not a play the way a blueprint is not a building.

Agree with the fear – agree that it’s there. Let it be your ally. Its energy will change into some other energy when you’re onstage. It may come back, but let it in. Never resist it.

You’ll always struggle. There’s always something new. The exploration never stops.

Never talk about what you’re GOING to do or say – do it now!

Commit to the unknown – you’ll discover things you could have never come up with in your brain if you breathe, see, hear, and follow your impulses.

“Know” what your partner is doing (even if you don’t!) and act like you know what they’re doing, and why they are doing it.

Do what’s fun! If it’s fun for you, it’s fun for the audience.


He’s a wonderful teacher, who further helps me understand improv as theatre – not as sketch comedy. It’s a way to work that will aid you ontage and in film, and continue to evolve.

Posted on March 11, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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