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Keith Johnstone Part 3

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Another selection of notes from a Keith Johnstone workshop I took in 2003. You can read the first part here and the second part here. All quotes in this article are from Keith Johnstone, commentary is mine.

If two improvisers are in trouble in a scene. (Trouble in the sense of being in a seemingly inescapable situation.) One of the improvisers should say, “I know just what to do” and then say whatever is in his head no matter how stupid. Audiences will love you for your courage.

This is one of the most important lessons in all of creativity. The phrase, “I know just what to do” is like a magic spell that releases your brain to start to try and make a solution when you are boxed in. Try it the next time you have no idea what to do next. Say the phrase and then follow through on what you say.

Audiences feel the tension of the creator who has painted themselves into a corner and they want you to get out. Even if that solution is, “I pull out magic tennis shoes and use their leaping powers to jump into the next room.”

The audience is on your side. They want you to finish your tightrope walk. In most cases, you aren’t even performing live when you create, so you can go back and edit. I find that the solutions you come up with in impossible situations are some of the best.

I ofen go back and change the earlier part of the story to make the solution less strange.

Every decision you make in a scene defines the circle that scene exists in. You should make choices from within that ever-tighter circle and rarely from outside it. Obvious is good.

Every creative endevor is its own world with its own rules. Once you’ve started it, stick to those rules. Use what is in the world you’ve created to tell the story in that world.

Nothing human beings do is accidental.

Instead of apologizing for an accident or mistake, look for reasons. Why did you do that? Were you sending yourself a message? Does it make more sense? Is there a logical reason you’re not seeing? And emotional reason?

Nothing YOU do is accidental. It’s just that you don’t know why you did it yet.

Click here to read the final part

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One response

  1. Pingback: Keith Johnstone Part 2 « Creative Creativity

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