Am I A Steamroller?
The Perks of Not Being a Backline Flower Part 1 - Stop Judging Yourself
For a lot of improvisers, being labeled a steamroller feels like having a scarlet “S” sewn into your flannel shirt. You get warned time and time again about it. You want to be a great partner! I can’t let my team down!
The good news is, if you’re even worried about this at all, you probably aren’t making a habit of playing that way. Let’s talk about what exactly Steamrolling is!
I Don't Want to Work With Them
This is the first part of a series aimed to help improvisers who are playing hesitantly or indecisively and find themselves glued to the backline.
Figure Out What You Need
“I won’t go on stage if THAT PERSON starts a scene.”
Improvisers who say this have their reasons. Some that I’ve heard:
- They always steamroll my ideas.
- They are too weird.
- They don’t do anything.
- They just aren’t good.
Want to know a secret? You might be the problem.
Patience Through The Plateau
Guys, I’m going to admit something. I’ve been doing longform for almost ten years and sometimes I still get stuck in scenes. Being human is weird. And let’s all just be honest - improv is hard. But we tend to make it harder on ourselves by FREAKING OUT when we feel a little stuck - have you been there? A scene is floundering so you get really loud or you start talking really fast or you just start doing something very very weird for no reason at all or - worst of all - you give up on the scene completely? (You have. Don’t tell me you haven’t.)
So what do you do?
What is showing and telling in improv?
“When do I start getting better?”
“I suck at this.”
“Improv must just not be for me.”
“Everyone else is better than I am.”
“I don’t belong on the stage.”
There are many students and improvisers who get frustrated because they feel they stopped progressing. After only a few years or less of practicing and performing they’ve “plateaued.” I used to feel this way too, and getting better seemed impossible. That really isn’t fair to yourself and is mostly unrealistic.
You don’t have to be doing improv for long before you hear the note, “Show don’t tell.” It’s a great note, but what does it really mean and how do you and your partner pull each other out of that hole when you sense it is happening?