What to expect from the Long-form Course with Liam Brennan

Liam Brennan, improv teacherHey there future long-formers! Upon finishing the Performance course and having done your first ever Hoopla improv show (congratulations!) there’s a good chance you’re thinking about what comes next when you move onto the Long-form course.

In brief, long-form gives a lot more freedom to an improviser and more possibilities for play! We can play any character we want and take them anywhere we want. If something fun happens in a scene, we can just keep doing that fun thing or leave it and come back to it later. Want to play Batman in a scene? You can play Batman in a scene!

So let’s go into a bit more detail with what you can expect on the Long-form course, as well as look at some top tips for long-form beginners or those who want a refresher.

 

What will you cover on the course?

When it gets down to the nitty gritty, it’s probably most useful to think of the course as having three main topics:

Firstly, scenes! Lots and lots of scenes! It’s one of the main reasons that long-form improv is one of my favourite things in the world. You get to play with long scenes, short scenes, character based scenes, relationship based scenes, playing a pattern in scenes, bringing back scenes and scenes. Lots and lots of scenes!

Next, connecting scenes to each other! It means we can bring back the characters we loved from earlier in the set, keep using the same location if it’s fun to be in and exploring any emerging themes if it they inspire us.

Last of all, editing! A fancy improv way of saying ending a previous scene and starting a new scene. Using editing we’ll be able to bring our players to a whole new universes and cut to new places in time and space!

We’ll play lots games and exercises to explore the three above topics as well as lots of other mini topics to turn you into a long-form champion!

 

What are the top 5 things to remember when performing long-form?

If you will be taking the long-form course at Hoopla (or want a cheat sheet as a long-form performer) here are five hot tips for you:

  1. Go back to basics! Even pro improvisers still use the core skills such as yes-and and listening. In long-form we build on these skills but they’re just as important as they were in your first ever improv session.
  2. If you’re stuck in a scene, just respond to the last offer!It can be easy to get lost in a scene, especially if you end up in situations like being a martian buying ketamin from a horse in Torquay (we’ve all been there, right?). In situations like these, just respond to the last offer your scene partner gave you. Fundamentally, that’s the heart of improv and where all great scenes come from.
  3. Follow the fun! All my favourite long-form shows as a performer, have involved my teammates and I doing what felt like most fun at the time. If you’re having a good time, your audience will have a good time!
  4. Bring back the stuff that inspires you!If there’s something fun from earlier in the show that you want to play with again, in long-form you can! There’s no need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything that’s happened in your set, bring stuff because it inspires you not because you have to.
  5. Hang out with your team! Going to the pub with teammates will get you to know people quicker than any improv session. Being more familiar with each other gives you a special kind of chemistry that instantly makes it look like you’ve been working with people for years. If there happens to be a cheeky glass of wine thrown into the mix, then fair play to you.

 

Thanks for reading and wish you all the best in your improv adventures!

 

 

You can catch Liam on the Hoopla stage with Fight Club, Science of Living Things & Improvised Crystal Maze.  And he will be teaching Level 1 & 3 Hoopla Courses!
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