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Improvisation News
The Action In Reaction
Written by Israel Savage   

 Give It To Me Straight, Doc

Doctor

After postponing my annual physical three times, I finally made it to the doctor's office. He was a new doctor for me and the experience was relatively painless. But later, when I called to get the results of my checkup, I found out that he never requested any tests be ran! My fasting, the needle picks, the time-off from work – it was seemingly for nothing!

Twenty years ago, I wouldn't have said anything about the testing snafu. I was a people-pleaser then, and would have just grinned and pretended that it didn't bother me. Ten years ago I would have ripped the doctor a new one – How dare he be so incompetent?! Didn't he know how valuable MY time was?! – and threatened to launch a press campaign against his clinic.

I'd like to think I've learned a little something since then – now I know that both reactions are the result of an inflated ego and over-sized sense of importance; not speaking up can be just as egotistical as overreacting. I've also lived enough during the past two decades to know what it feels like to mess up. I've made my share of oooopsies!

So after taking several deep breaths, I said what I needed to say to the doctor, but kindly. He, in turn, owned the mistake – what more could I ask for? And while the biggest lesson may be that it's time to switch doctors, I've also learned that, although it's important to do what needs to be done and say the things that need to be said, in the end, the way you do and say things can make all the difference.

Edited By: Tommy Johnson

 
Colin Mochrie Returns to Whose Line!
Written by Emily Brock   

Colin Mochrie

  Mochrie. Colin, Mochrie...

The American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? ended its run in 2007 and returned in 2013 hosted by veteran comic, Aisha Tyler. Colin Mochrie, a celebrated audience favorite, returns to the cast summer 2015!

The show is comprised of various games that the cast plays using suggestions from the audience and helped introduce improv comedy to the masses. The original American incarnation was hosted by Drew Carey and  cast members included Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady.   Wayne Brady was especially noted for doing musical improv which usually involved making songs up on the spot.

Although Mochrie is best known to American audiences as a member of the cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway? which ran from 1998-2013, he has enjoyed a long international career.

Mochrie was originally born in Scotland but grew up in Canada. After auditioning for a play at university he was hooked. He attended the Studio 58 in Vancouver and then head to Chicago to work with the prestigious Second City. It was at Second City that he first met and worked with Ryan Stiles.

Mochrie worked on the original British version of Whose Line, which filmed in London. After several grueling auditions and getting cut three times, Mochrie was made a regular cast member and was on the show for seven years. After the show ended Mochrie returned to the US and joined the cast of the American version of Whose Line.

Mochrie was once again paired with Ryan Stiles, whom he had worked with on the British Whose Line. Mochrie was a staple of the show and appeared in every single episode. Mochrie was also a staple on Canadian commercials, selling everything from crackers to detergent.   He has stayed busy on television as well as the stage. Since 2002, he has toured with Brad Sherwood, another Whose Line alum, in their two man show, Colin & Brad: Two Man Group.

Whose Line Is It Anyway? airs on The CW Fridays at 8pm.

 


 

“Colin Mochrie”. Wikipedia. 25 March 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Mochrie.

Valcourt, Keith. “Improv Comedy King Colin Mochrie on the TV Revival of Whose Line is it Anyway”. The Washington Times.  7 April 2015.

 

 

 
Chase Backer: From Humble Beginnings to Building Dreams
Written by Carol Lee Sirugo   

Chase Backer: From Humble Beginnings to Building Dreams

editors

Chase Backer is the publisher and CEO of 25A Magazine. This Long Island’s Gold Coast Luxury Magazine is the ultimate guide to the sweet life, with articles ranging from interest stories about celebrities and prominent business people to the latest in high-fashion, travel destinations and the treasures of Gold Coast area.  Backer is also anticipating the premiere of his television talk show, “The Chase Backer Show" (www.thechasebackershow.com). Improvisation News sat down to speak with him about how he came to build his success.

 


 

 

 

"There is nothing that I ever wanted

that I haven't received."

 

 

Improvisation News:   How did you come up with the name for your magazine, 25A?

Chase Backer:   I was brainstorming with a good friend of mine and we were looking to develop a magazine for the gold coast area, so we were playing with the name of Northern Boulevard, which is 25A.

 

IN:   Can I ask you who your role models were?

CB:   I was raised by two beautiful parents.   My mother is an unbelievable woman, so giving, and she is amazing.  She's never in a bad mood.  My dad is a businessman.  Together they created me, and I think I have the best of both worlds. My parents gave me what normal parents would do and I do the same for my children.

 

IN:   You like to network and bring people together.  Is it true that in your magazine, you interview regular people on Long Island? Business people, not just celebrities?

 

CB:   Exactly. We go and we speak to the people. The man who owns a chocolate store, the woman who owns a grocery store.

IN:   Seems like you really want to get to know everyone. Were you raised on Long Island?

CB:   No. I was raised in Queens, but I was born in Switzerland. I’m Swiss and Turkish.   I lived in Paris and came here when I was nine years old.  I lived in New York City, then moved to Queens. I grew up in Forest Hills, Queens.

 

"New York is probably the most beautiful

place in the world to live. "

IN:   We have the Tonight Show now here in New York.  You also represent someone who's bringing a talk show here, bringing New York to life.  Do you feel like being in New York gives you a lot to pull from?

CB:   Absolutely. New York is probably the most beautiful place in the world to live. We have such wide culture here. New York City has wonderful different spices. You could go to from one block to another and just be in a different world.  You have Little Italy, Little Odessa, there is so much diversity here.  And I do showcase the Hamptons, the Gold Coast and the first settlers who came in here:  the Vanderbilts, the Woolworths, the Phipps family and the Woodwards.  We talk about who they are and where they are today and the mansions that they built. New York has seduced lots of great actors, comedians, sports figures. A lot of them do come from Long Island for some reason. Long Island produces lots of celebrities. Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalie Portman, Billy Joel, Rosie O'Donnell, Andy Kaufman…. The list is endless.

IN:   What are you looking for on your show?

CB:   We're looking for people who are from New York. That's how I started. We first look for people who are from New York and contributed here. They are either born here, work here, or have passed through and love it. We look for those people. We see where they are today and if they’re popular. I will bring actors, comedians and anyone who's talented.  I will showcase established talents and new talents. So if you're up-and-coming , or your learning a new talent, you'll come on my show and we'll talk about it.  We’ll give you that exposure, just like Johnny Carson did.

IN:   Were you always a success?

CB:   When I first started 25A, I did not know anything about magazines. So when I started it, I collected and organized the right set of people and I knew what I wanted. I wanted a luxurious magazine and I knew what I wanted to put in it.  But someone came up to me—one of the writers—and said,  “Are you crazy?  What you doing?  You’re wasting your money!  Why don't you just give me the money and I'll spend it for you.”  That really hurt me, because it was somebody in the business who felt the need to be negative rather than saying “Hey, I'll help you with whatever you need.  I know this is crazy, but I'll still help because it's your dream.”  I think I succeeded because she said that to me.  I said, you know what? I'm going to show her. Maybe everyone needs someone like that…

" If you collect the right people and

they believe in what you're doing,

then they will want to be part of it.

They’ll help you."

 

IN:   The lesson here?

CB:   If I can start up a magazine and have it be the number one luxury magazine in Long Island for three years, then anyone can do anything!  And I have to say this; there is nothing that I ever wanted that I haven't received.  If you want something you'll get it just by keeping at it.  It's only difficult when you say “I want that, but I don't think I can have it. “

IN:   What if some people don’t have the money for that?

CB:   I didn't have the money for any of this stuff.  None. You know what I had? I had time and I had friends and I had resources. And I collected them and they all came in.  If you collect the right people and they believe in what you're doing, then they will want to be part of it. They’ll help you.

Edited by Catherine Santino

 
Improvisation plus Business equals Success
Written by Emily Brock   

 

businessHow Improvisation Can Help You Succeed In the Business World

Improvisation is defined as the art or act of improvising, or of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation. This is usually associated with music or some other performing art. But in recent years improv has stepped out of the theatre and into business schools.

It might seem like an odd pairing but the basic principles of improv are being applied more and more in a business setting. Arguably, the most important of these are actively listening, ‘yes, and…’, and team work. These are all simple ideas that are incredibly difficult to execute correctly whether on stage or in a boardroom.


  Building on Requests

The principle of active listening is not just listening to the other person but really hearing what they are saying an what your clients and employees are requesting. Most people have a tendency to plan what they are going to say after the other person is done speaking instead of truly listening. In a business setting or in negotiations, if you’re not truly listening (different than merely hearing) to what a client is saying that can lead to mistakes and cost you dollars

  Building on Ideas 

The ‘yes, and...’ principle is perhaps the most commonly known improv principle. It’s the idea that you agree with the idea or thought that your partner has put forth and then you add more information. Being able to deal with any situation without negating what has happened; being able to go forward and find a solution is a core business tenant.

  Building Trust

Team work seems like a fairly obvious business strategy and even something that you need to apply in the theatre world. But team work means more than simply working together. It’s the idea that you have to develop a group mind and trust of the people that you’re working with. Improv games help establish this trust and sense of camaraderie.

More and more business schools and universities are incorporating improv into the curriculum; UCLA, Columbia and Indiana are just a few schools that now offer improv classes to business students. It’s not only schools that have seen the value of improv but companies as well. Power houses such as American Express, DuPont, Ford, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble all conduct improvisation workshops.

This new demand has created businesses that cater specifically to corporations and schools, such as Business Improvisations, founded by Robert Kulhan. Mr. Kulhan has a background at the famed Second City Company, which is based out of Chicago. He teamed up with Craig Fox, who was an Associate Professor of Management at Duke University at Raleigh/Durham, and together they created a company that helps incorporate the principles of improv into the business world.

Other improvisation training theaters like IN Studios of NYC, The Second City and Chicago City Limits have divisions dedicated to training business professionals in to increase their success in business through improvisation.

Employees with performance or creative backgrounds are becoming highly desired at advertising agencies and internet startups. The creative way of thinking and interacting with fellow employees has businesses paying attentions.

As the business world evolves and technology opens new doors companies will look for different ways to evolve and stay ahead of trends. One of these ways is to bring improve and creative thinking into the workforce. Creative and thoughtful minds and thoughts lead to creative and thoughts products.


Coleman, Roshaunda. “Professor utilizes improv to teach class.” Vidette Online. April 6, 2015.

Tutton, Mark. “Why using improvisation skills to teach business skills is no joke.” Cnn.com. Feb 18,2010

Smith, Preston. “10 Fundamental Principles of Improv Comedy.” JesterImprov.com.

Stevenson, Seth. “Getting to Yes And.” Slate.com. March 30,2014.

 

 
Career Consultant - Israel Savage
Written by Administrator   

  Founder and Editor, Improvisation News; Artistic Director, Life Art: Headshots & Reels

(One on one sessions available via Skype or by telephone.)


    "Deep, connected, dynamic and inspired guidance

for your life and career..."

Israel Savage


Leveraging his diverse experience in the entertainment industry and his extensive background in Communications/Psychology, Israel offers personalized sessions that help clients to distill short and long term career goals, while providing step by step direction on how to achieve them.

Israel's guidance will save time, money, energy and streamline the realization of your professional passion.

 

Improv Training: The PIT, UCB, Gotham City Improv, Magnet Theater, Artistic New Directions

Areas of Expertise: Determining Your Type,  Headshots That Wow, Social Media 101 (How To Utilize Twitter & Facebook), Resume Tips & Tricks, Audition Secrets To Land The Role, Staying Focused and Motivated, Getting Cast, Removing Creative Blocks, Discovering Your Life's Purpose, Living Your Passion

Recent Articles: Hit Me With Your Headshots: Marketing You, INsider Tips: Auditions: Making All The Right Moves,  IN Side: Will Ferrell & Dan Rush

Schedule Your Session

One on one sessions available via Skype or by telephone.

FAQs                            Contact Us


 

Client Quotes:


"After working with you, my son got called in for auditions and just got cast in his first role." - Kim


"I really feel like I worked with a "film director" for the first time.  Your ability to guide me through the work and have a plan but be spontaneous at the same time was exactly what I needed." - David


"I just wanted to say what a pleasure it was working with you. I felt like you really took care of me through the entire process." - Corinna


"You really have a talent for bringing out the best in people. Your affirming manner and professionalism made me fully confident in the work we did together." - Debora


"I write to you now with a whole new perspective on myself, a quiet confidence for the future of my career, and with a profound respect for life itself.  How difficult it is to now attempt a collection of meaningful words which reflect the significance of our session.  It is evident my money was well spent, and would refer your services to anyone seeking to bolster their calling in the fine arts." - Nate



 

 


 
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Alex Decaneas

Alex Decaneas is THEDEEK

Alex Decaneas is an actor, improviser, editor, writer, and opens tough lids. He performs with numerous improv teams throughout NYC, writes sketch, edits films, teaches and coaches improv, and wears director’s hats. He’d love to work with you on your upcoming project. Give him a shout.  

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