Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and the Show & Tell

im a big harry potter fan. last night i went to see the premier of harry potter and the half blood prince... you'll see how i tie it into improv...

first of all, as an improviser it is our job to know something about everything, particularly HUGE pop culture phenominon like harry potter. sometimes educating ourselves on these things is a pleasure, i.e. harry potter, and sometimes its a chore, i.e. sex and the city...

last nights midnight show experience was certianly an education on harry potter and an excellent people watching opportunity. at a midnight harry potter premiers you'll expect to see the obvious kid in wizzard outfit... most often composed of a graduation robe and witch hat, but sometimes you see a full on hogwarts get up. however, at past premiers i have been surprised to see such costumes as a leprechaun, wendy from wendys, catwoman and a storm trooper. why? i dont know. i saw most of the movies in san diego so its possible that these people got lost on their way to comic con.
at last nights show there were the requisite witches hats and sweater vests but there were also a large number of girls with character names scrawled on their arms in marker... i dont get that. and felt kinda bad for the one who got stuck with 'dobby' written on her biceps in sharpie. clearly she is not the leader of that pack.

anyway, the movie was fantastic.
in my opinion, the best of the series so far. hands down.
for once i didnt mind the obvious omissions and changes (with one exception). and now here is how i tie this in to improv........

this was the first harry potter film to really run with the idea of 'show, dont tell,' an incredibly important concept in improv comedy. the benefit of human performance, as opposed to the written word, is that a look can tell us so much. body language, facial expression, delivery of the lines and the things that AREN'T being said... its as if one picture is worth alot of words. i dont want to put a number on how many words, but a good number. lets say 999. a picture is worth 999 words, that has a nice ring to it.
how much time can we save if we allow ourselves to show the audience what we mean without telling them, and it means so much more when the wathcers feel like they are in on a secret and not just sitting idly by being told what to think. am i right? think what i tell you to think!


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