Hello! I'm Stephen. I've been performing improv since 2008 and in that time I've had a lot of coaches. Knowing the strange inner history of a coach has never helped me and I doubt it will help you, so let's get to what I bring to the table.
In real life I don't present things as weirdly corporate lists- I use more silly voices and way fewer equals signs. But frankly, choosing a coach is a big financial commitment for your team- possibly the biggest financial commitment! So you should enter into it with more than a vague impression that I'm a nice guy.
=============================What I Do As Your Coach =================================
I Give Honest, Direct Feedback.
I've found that I learn quickly when a coach acknowledges areas for improvement without trying to sugarcoat them. If you've felt somewhat mollycoddled by other coaches, we'll probably be a good fit. If you want someone to be a jerk to you, we will probably not be a good fit. I don't wanna make this Whiplash, I just wanna make you better.
I Provide a Structured Focus
Improv covers an enormous range of topics, and covering all of them all of the time makes each individual skill feel hazy and vague. After getting into the right mindset to perform, our time together will aim to improve a single improv muscle, from Framing to Emotional Commitment to Object Work. Afterwards you will have a way to think about this particular brick in the improv wall, and some tools to help you improve at it.
Winging It is Your Job, Not Mine
Nothing is more disrespectful than showing up and trying to pull a coaching session out of your ass. I spend time before every practice preparing and after every practice noting and learning what worked for your team and what didn't. You should expect nothing less of any coach who's charging you for their time.
I'm a Coach, Not a Critic
. A lot of the coaches I've had will watch a scene and then give notes on that scene. These notes will sound something like, "Stephen, when you said you were in love with your parrot I wanted to see that- that coulda been a whole scene about you and your parrot husband living together in a parrot community!" These notes aren't actionable- I will never perform that scene again, so I can never make that choice again. All these notes do is encourage regret and shame. Neither of those are helpful for making improv.
. I prefer sidecoaching- giving notes during the scene to provide a bit of guidance. This way, your brain gets used to making choices on stage, not replaying your last scene from the backline. After sets or scenes I'll often praise things that particularly impressed me, since sometimes just laughing uproariously isn't enough.
I Give Insight Into the Wider Improv Community
I've been performing for a long time, and in a lot of places. At this point I have friends doing improv all over: LA, Chicago, North Carolina, Florida, Boston- I even have some friends in New York! If there's a style you're interested in, or an itch that you feel Harold Night isn't quite scratching, chances are I can teach you about it. If I can't then I can point you in the right direction. There's a lot more to Improv than UCB!
For rates, availability, or any questions at all, please don't hesitate to email me:
Can't wait to meet you!
PS~ Thank you for reading this far, I profoundly hate the formatting options on this website. You are a saint for putting up with all of those weird === and floating periods.