At a Glance:
- Make improvisation a regular part of your writing/filmmaking process
- Write dialog that propels your story
- Uncover “what’s next” in your story
- Easily and consistently generate new ideas
- Develop engaging characters
- Improve your ability to think on your feet. Great for in-person or remote pitch sessions.
Who should attend?
- Screenwriters, actors, filmmakers, producers and anyone looking to bring their screenplay or film to a deeper, less inhibited place.
What to expect?
A fun, friendly and collaborative atmosphere. This workshop is participant driven and requires no previous acting or improv experience. There no requirement to “be funny” or come up with jokes on the spot. This isn’t improv training for performance, though it may well inspire you to do just that. This is improv to support your writing and filmmaking.
That said, our previous workshops have included lots of laughs, even from students who would not describe themselves as funny.
What will you learn?
Learn to drop your inhibitions using the improv techniques from the world-famous Second City that trained actors such as Mike Myers, Tina Fey, John Candy, Joan Rivers and many others.
The heart of theatrical improv is learning how to say “yes” and move a story forward. In this workshop, we apply those same principals to writing. Through games and writing exercises we learn how to:
- Write dialog that propels your story without it being a lifeless exposition dump.
- Uncover “what’s next” in your story
- Easily and consistently generate new ideas and how to deal with writer’s block.
- Develop engaging characters with primary, secondary (and tertiary!) traits… and probably some quirks, secrets, needs, and goals, as well.
DAY 1: Hands-on Improv Basics
Be led through a series of exercises designed to loosen your inhibitions in a safe and secure environment.
Students will be led through a series of improv warm-up exercises and games. As students bond and gain confidence we will apply those techniques to screenwriting and discuss story, plot, character and dialog and how improv can improv(e) it.
Slide Show Improv
- The middle of the session will be dedicated to Slide Show Improv. A fun an interactive game that gets students out of their heads and improves their ability to think on their feet. Great training for in-person or remote pitch sessions.
At the end of Day 1, participants will be given a writing assignment that will form the basis of Day 2’s program.
Student arrive with a short, written script based on the assignment given in the previous session. Students will read each other’s scripts and then improvise them using specific improv prompts (changing the character’s status, relationship, giving them a secret, etc.)
This introduces spontaneity into their writing, forcing them to look at their scene differently and showing how even a small change can have big impact.
Day 2 ends with a Q&A session and another fun game or two if time permits.
About the Instructors
Peter G. Reynolds is a writer and documentary filmmaker in Toronto, Canada. He is owner of For the Record Productions Inc.
His first book, Lost Hallway, was a children’s picture book inspired by his son. His short fiction has been published in On Spec Magazine and two anthologies. You can find out more at www.storiesbypeter.com
When not writing, Peter can be found teaching and performing improv comedy. He trained in improv at Second City Toronto and Annex Improv.
He is currently busy working on Musings and Other Nonsense, a weekly podcast of children’s stories and poems, the second installment of the Lost Hallway series, and a YA science fiction novel.
Neil Jones is a writer, teacher, and Relational Psychotherapist from Toronto, Canada.
He is the co-founder of Radio Project X, an audio comedy/drama collective that performs anthology shows in the style of old-time radio plays. Before this he co-wrote, directed, and produced several series of popular live sketch shows: Radio Vault (a hit at the 2007 Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival), the All‑Nude Revues, and the Yellow Robot shows. He was the Story Editor on one of the first transmedia series, the 2012 superhero comedy Tights and Fights: Ashes.
He trained in improv at Second City Toronto, The Bad Dog Theatre, and Annex Improv.
He taught From Script to Voice to Stage, a comedy writing and performance class at The Social Capital Theatre and Free Yourself Through Improv (a health and wellness offering for students at the University of Toronto