Last week I designed a flyer and we got the prints this week! I liked putting up the thought behind the logo design so how about some flyer commentary? The goal of the flier is to communicate the ethic and attitude of Hive as it may appeal to someone with zero performance experience and, of course, to get people to come to the website. (Which you did! Thanks.) I ended up doing a handful of iterations, running each one by everyone involved in Hive for feedback.
I wanted to discuss the meanings of some of the lines on the front of the flyer:
- Creativity can be learned: I find that popular thought would have us believe that some people are simply born creative and some aren't. Bullshit. Improv has broken down the creative process into steps and exercises. Improv IS creativity training. I hope this message is an inspiration to anyone who considers themselves uncreative or perhaps considers their creativity to be underpracticed. I believe a lot of these people are out there and I want them in Hive courses and changing their lives.
- Comedy can be studied: Humor, like creativity, is often considered an unlearnable skill. Also bullshit. Furthermore, comedy is still a largely unrespected art and the idea of comedy training is very new. The US has undergone a cultural shift during my lifetime that brought stand-up comedy from a fringe and maybe kind of gross world to something cool and intellectual. Improv was popularized at the same time and its training centers are the real birthplace of the formal comedy education. I remember hearing Marc Maron talk about how these days good looking people are becoming stand-up comics and it's totally not fair. It was largely his generation of alternative comics who were responsible for earning stand-up its mainstream respect as an art form and it's thanks to Del Close and longform that improv has earned that standing. However, I find that this cultural shift hasn't occurred in Germany. Many improvisers in Germany seem to look down on the idea of improvising for comedy and insist that they practice theatre. Well, sure, we do practice theatre, but if you shy away from actually working to master comedy, you're probably doing shit theatre.
- Meaningful work can be practiced. Pretending can be an art: Improv is fundamentally something very simple: pretending. It's what little kids do all the time. I'm often struck by how much of good improv comes down to basic rules of play for little pretending kids. The only ingredient we need to make it worth watching is meaning. There must be some flow between the performer and the audience of relevant information. We are not on stage to do random nonsense. We are not going for the flub laugh.
The last line, "Being a better improviser is being a better person," comes from something Miles used to tell us a lot, "If you want to be a better, more interesting improviser, be a better, more interesting person." The skills required for improv mastery really are the skills required for being a good person. Listening, respect, support, commitment, honesty, facing fear, clarity, empathy, not to mention that being interesting, knowledgeable, and having opinions and ideas about the world around you all make you a better improviser and a better person.
Of all the text that was cut from the back, the one I'd have really liked to have room for referred to Picasso's belief that we were all born artists and that our societies teach us not to be. Teaching improv has convinced me that the number one challenge for students is that our societies--all human societies as far as I'm aware--depend so much on conformity and obedience that they have beat the creativity out of us, killing any natural improv ability we may have had. It takes us years to undo the damage, to be resurrected as improvisers. I believe improv has the potential for serious social impact and I hope Hive can further that cause.
Just today the flyers were ready. I'm out of Berlin for three weeks, which is terrible timing for Hive's publicity before the September classes. Thankfully Blake Worrell was cool with picking them up. Thanks, Blake!
Blake is on Guillotine, the first Hive Improv trained team in world history and they're now playing Harolds in Berlin. They just recently completed the Deconstruction course so keep an eye out for that one to get on stage, and in September they'll be in the Movie course upping their game. Blake also plays with ComedySportz Berlin and is a musician, actor, and all around interesting guy. Blake's not in the business of picking up flyers, but he does that too.
Since I'm out of town and Hive's September classes still need a lot more publicity, I'm really glad Blake is going to be distributing some of them and meeting up with Noah to hand some off for him. If anyone else can lend a hand, get in touch! It would be very appreciated.
And that was way more than you ever wanted to know about the first ever Hive Improv flyer. Let me know if you see them around!