So you’re walking down the street and you happen upon a bull horn and a podium. On a nice black & brass plate it says, “say something nice.” Do you know what you’d say?
This is what makes ImprovEverywhere less edgy but far more wonderful than Candid Camera, Pranked or Punk’d. It comes from a really kind place… there aren’t victims. Sure we get to giggle at the reactions of strangers, but it’s never cruel.
Candidly almost none of the volunteer statesman and women are terribly provocative. I was expecting them to be more interesting or inspiring, and that’s a good lesson… Maybe we all need to have an inspiring “nice thing” as what public-relations folks call a “standby statement.” I’ll go with “just be yourself” as a contrast to “just do it.” You? And hey- they were brave enough to take the mic, and the reactions are charming.
I also feel like this video is a timely allegory in a time where every politician (and many video creators) have their 15 minutes to say something nice (or not).
So what’s your nice thing? Don’t type it below. Tell it to a stranger. They may need it more than you know.
So well done. Great reactions and the audio clinches it…. Hats (and scarf) off to Jason and other members of the Scary Snowman troupe, which seriously needs to collab with Improv Everywhere. I can see a fleet of them.
This notion mostly went over well, and I pledged to write about it. I’m beginning here on WillVideoForFood.com and I’ve posted it on Scribd (a good way to distribute and SEO-optimize your writing if you can’t afford PRWeb or PRNewswire). If you’re a blogger or publisher, I invite you to use part or all of this with attribution… and hope to fancy it up for a magazine.
I have four sources of inspiration for this concept:
ImprovEverywhere’s Charlie Todd, who I’m connected to in an odd way that falls between friend and fan. It’s a parasocial relationship, but since I’ve met him and he returns my phone calls or e-mails I’m allowing myself to call dub the “Causing a Scene” author a “virtual colleague.” I was struck with how well he does media, and I attribute that to his experience as both an improv comic and advanced teacher of the discipline. Todd, in fact, was who encouraged me to enroll in the wildly heraldedUCB Theater in NYC. I’d later, sadly, become an improv-school dropout because I lost my financial excuse to visit NYC weekly and my dad died. But I’ll do it again.
I did significant research to prepare for my Improv Comedy course, and learned a tremendous amount in the early classes. My goal was not to become an improv comic, but understand how improvisational skills might translate to my work and life. Like you, perhaps, I often default to “fighting the wind” (arguing the inevitable), which can be empowering but both exhausting and unsustainable. So I hoped to learn new ways to “roll with life” or “go with the flow.” One of my favorite affirmations is “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” (source). How many of life’s “problems” would vanish if we gave ourselves that rare gift?
Finally, David Alger is one of many improv-comics that crystalized the basic “rules” of improv comedy, and I hope to help you see how some of these rules apply to your social-media presence. I quote him simply because he ranked high on Google SEOs for “improv comedy rules,” but there’s no shortage of wisdom on improvisational comedy. I’m quite sure there are dozens of other applicable rules I’ve left out (like being honest, a truism in both improv and social-media).
So forgive me for being an improv-comic dropout, but trust that what I learned in my first portion of the class will help you either find a good social-media expert or nurture one who is. I give you “The Seven Reasons Your Social-Media Expert Should Be an Improvisational Comic.”