I wanted to begin this post with a video of the song Mission 1: Avoid Job Working with Assholes. But I couldn’t find a video of that.
Ok, back on the point of why I wanted to post Mission 1: Avoid Job Working with Assholes. That song has the most gleeful refrain regarding ambition I have ever heard. The weird nasally-voiced singer croons “These are Ambitions! Goals! Goals!” and anytime I am trying to get pumped up about the things I want in life I sing that to myself. Goals are exciting and fulfilling them is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Improv is a world where it is very important to keep your goals in mind; paradoxically, few improvisers seem to have well articulated goals. While you are in classes the standard of what growth and achievement look like are pretty set for you, but as soon as you are in a troupe or have graduated the picture gets more complex. Does your group want to perform at festivals, tour, make videos, or have a run of shows at the theater? If you have been performing for a while what personal performance goals do you have? What goals do you have about your involvement in the improv community beyond performing?
We are all very lucky to be part of an improv community that provides workshop opportunities, performance opportunities, and all kinds of other ways to heighten our personal improv game at every level, but it is also invaluable to look ahead.
So we all could use a WiWii: a written out plan of What I Want In Improv. It is your list of big picture goals. I update mine every few months and have a genuine feeling of accomplishment when things occur that I’ve long looked forward to, such as taking an improv intensive in Chicago or teaching a workshop. I also get to remind myself about ideas I’ve had that are harder to work on or that get pushed to the periphery (writing scripts). When a wonderful opportunity shows up out of the blue, I add it to my plan and then immediately cross it off! That way I keep a running tally of both accomplishments I planed for, and those that happened spontaneously.
In a collaborative atmosphere like the New Movement you will be presented with a wide array of options and requests for involvement. Without a WiWii it will be tempting to say either “yes” or “no” to things on a whim. Looking back you may wonder “Why did I say I would be in six side troupes?” or “I wish I had said that I would like to do that poetry-show in the future. I only said ‘no’ because I was busy that week.” A compass is valuable in this collaborative territory.
I really recommend writing or typing out a list of what you want. The physical act will help you feel satisfaction, and it will force you to think of this whole adventure as one that you’re leading, toward your own glorious objectives.