Friday, April 24, 2009

Twitter Me This

So, the latest explosion in social networking is happening on Twitter.

Happening "to" Twitter?

"With" Twitter?

Whatever qualifying word is used, it's happening.

It's not that Twitter just started. It's been around for a couple of years. But at some point in the not-so-distant past, it reached the Tipping Point.  And in the very recent past, there was a battle between Ashton Kutcher and CNN to be the first to reach a million followers (Ashton won), followed in the same week by Oprah signing up for a Twitter account (and posting her first Tweet on her show... which also featured Ashton Kutcher).

When we look back on these days, we'll either say, "Oh, I remember Twitter" or "Yeah, I remember when Twitter first became big... and look how much it's in our lives now".

In any event, whether the future is Twitterless or Twitterful, surely there will be many more methods for connecting in many more ways in the future.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Some Thoughts About Improv...

My boss just left for the day, and on the way out, he was making some comments about not staying too late, leaving some work for tomorrow, don't let her (one of my co-workers) stay too late.

I replied with something about clipping his heels, not staying too much longer, will probably be gone before her.

She replied that she'd be leaving soon because she got here early this morning.

We all shared a laugh or two, and then he left.

My point?

Don't worry. I'll get there...


The little exchange mentioned above connected with something fresh in my mind. It was an exercise we did in acting class last night, where we had to do improv before and after the scripted portion of our scene. And the thing about telling people to do improv is that we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have every line be something clever.

Guess what?

Most of life does not consist of us stringing together a bunch of clever sayings.

So maybe with that thought in mind, I'll put a little less pressure on myself the next time we do improv in acting class.

It's not that I put a huge amount of pressure on myself. It's just that thinking back, I know that a portion of my thoughts were occupied by the actor part of my brain, which is generally focused on thinking of something clever to say... as opposed to just being in the moment... looking around... twiddling your thumbs, etc.

In the real world, there's also a lot of silence... in addition to the not-so-clever stuff we say.


Remember that the next time you're doing improv, okay? And pay more attention to that in daily life... since that's what we're trying to recreate on stage and in front of the camera.

Nothing new here.

I've been trying to do that for some time.

But this little message is about not trying so hard. And it's about not continually staring into the eyes of your partner. Hmmm... I guess I wasn't doing that all the time last night. I recall playing with some papers that were sitting on the table at one point. So I wasn't totally acting like an actor.

But still, it really hit me when I heard the little "random" exchange of small-talk as my boss left that communicating is really just about connecting... even with little tidbits of trivial stuff. And it's about being awkward, and tripping over our tongues, and being comfortable with silence...

Or not.

I mean, we're not always comfortable with silence in life, right?

But in improv, we tend to have a lot less of it. We need more silence in improv. And in scripted stuff. Not to bring things to a total crawl, mind you. But in real life, we don't always go "my line... your line... my line... your line" with no breaks in between. And we also interrupt each other. And...

Now I'm getting way to far off of the point. I didn't mean to get into a bunch of points about acting. I really just wanted to make one point...

Bottom Line (for now): Stop trying to be so clever. Just "be".

And, as is usually the case, the lessons I'm learning about acting are good words to live by in the real world, too.