Happy Wednesday! In Monday’s post - “support your friends” - I mentioned that I started taking improv classes at the Groundlings this past weekend. I am still continuing classes at UCB, too, but it is important to always seek growth when working towards achieving your ultimate long-term goals.
Have you ever felt like you just needed a change of pace or fresh scenery? It’s easy to get stuck in a rut sometimes, feeling like you’re just in a repeating loop. If you’re feeling that sort of restlessness, it’s important to step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself in new ways. That’s what led me to start classes at the Groundlings - feeling a little stuck.
UCB developed a new system of grading in which teachers give personalized feedback to students upon class completion. Reading the feedback and notes I’ve gotten in the past few classes, I’ve noticed a recurring trend in which my teachers have all said pretty similar things: you have a great grasp of game, a great grasp of the structure, you understand everything conceptually. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Failing will only make you stronger.
Improv is all about the idea of “yes, and,” which is a thing about it that I love so much. If I could add onto that phrase - which is already how I primarily live my life - I would add the follow-up of “now what?” When learning the form, it’s phrased as “if this, then what” - aka if this thing is true, then what else is true? It comes in handy in finding game but also in life in general.
I am a “now what” kind of person in a lot of ways, especially when I feel my growth slowing down. Have you ever felt like that? It’s a huge motivator for a lot of people and can show itself in a number of different ways. For me, it rears its head in terms of seeking growth, knowledge, and self-betterment. I’m always looking for ways to improve myself in the ways I see fit.
That’s why I started taking classes at the Groundlings. When you are able to recognize something in yourself that’s missing, you’re able to take the steps to go find it. Life is like a giant puzzle. Every experience and lesson you learn along the way is another puzzle piece that makes up the greater whole of your own self-portrait. I’ve written in the past about following the fear, and for the last year (and just in life in general) I’ve had so many incredible things come from taking calculated risks - Garage Band, DCM19, Camp Hickory, the LAMCF, the LAIIF, my first lead in a feature - and a number of other really cool opportunities, including numerous film and television sets.
I truly believe that life is an endless pursuit of learning, growth, and self-improvement, which is why I knew it was time to pivot and learn a thing I love (improv) from a different, fresh perspective (the Groundlings). It is a school that really focuses on emotion and relationships, helping improvisers to find heightened, strong characters. Looking back critically at the notes I’ve received helped me recognize that it was time to try something new to grow in an exciting, new way.
Seek growth, and you will find it. Listen to the notes you receive from the teachers, mentors, and friends that you trust, and apply those notes to your life in the most helpful, beneficial way.
And if you’re in the LA area, come see Garage Band perform at 8 PM at the Theater of Note tonight, benefiting hurricane relief!
Thank you so much for reading, and, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further with me, feel free to subscribe below or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so grateful you're here and that I’ve been getting a lot of really challenging questions and even better feedback from a community all over the world. I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! I’m here for you, and I love hearing from you, too! You’re the best, and you have everything you need inside of you! Please believe it! Starve your ego, feed your soul - and follow your heart!