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Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser [Paperback]

Jimmy Carrane , Liz Allen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 14.14 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2006 0325009422 978-0325009421

Improvising Better is an easy to read self-help book created with the new generation of improviser in mind. It's written for today's performers, looking for a quick fix to their performance problems. This book is a fast read with long-lasting results.

Jimmy Carrane and Liz Allen have improvised, taught, and directed in Chicago for over thirty years combined, and have either seen or experienced the most common problems facing improvisers today. Improvising Better will give you simple tools for repairing your improvisation through original and enhanced exercises. This book addresses the improviser as a whole, including how offstage issues affect onstage performance. Speaking candidly about this very personal art form, Carrane and Allen offer common-sense solutions, some tough love, and a little inspiration along the way.

Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, Improvising Better will catapult you to the next level in your career as a working improviser.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A No-Nonsense Guide for Improvisors in a Rut June 16 2009
This is a book that I wish I had read years ago. Sadly, most of the info in the book I have learned the hard way. Nonetheless, this is a book any improvisor should pick up.

It's not so much a theory book, like Keith Johnstone's Improv, or Del Close's Truth in Comedy. This book is more of a self-help book. The authors do not clown around, they are serious about improv, and clearly show the desire to enlighten other to improve using what they already know.

This book helps performers with low self-esteem issues, inflated egos, and even brushes upon ettiquite for the performer off stage.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improvising Better lives up to its name Feb. 5 2008
By Gabriel J. Caruso - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Improvising Better is a must have for anyone who wants to do just that. I'm currently in my fourth year of doing improvisational comedy, and my biggest regret is that I didn't buy this book earlier! This work will leave you saying, "Well of course. Why didn't I think of that?" Written in a conversational tone, it will fool you into believing that Jimmy and Liz are actually in the room fixing your improv flaws. This book can be read in just a couple of hours, but it is through rereading it that it gains most of its value. It is a must-have improvisational reference work.
If you're looking for a quick fix to almost any of your improv problems this is the book for you. Almost every chapter has a handful of games that will help you hone your improv skills and make you more ready to take on the stage. It's simply amazing how much knowledge can be shared in so few pages. The coauthors share over 30 years of experience in this field. Does anything else really need to be said?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now that you know how to improvise... July 23 2007
By Mad Collector - Published on Amazon.com
I have had the luxury of being coached by Liz Allen. But for those that have not had the opportunity, she and her co-author have come up with a fun tongue-in-cheek book that gives the more seasoned improviser a chance to reasses their path and how to make their improv work even better.

The book really paints a picture of what the improviser faces both socially and professionally. It reviews the basic improvisational tools, something the seasoned professional sometimes forgets about. And, the text is not dry at all. Bits of humor are thrown in that keep it an interesting read.

If you are wanting a diversion from your chaotic improv life, check out this book and see the culture of comedic improv mirrored humorously within the pages of this fun title! And get many helpful performance hints as well!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book - wish they had thought about more about examples July 28 2010
By Jennifer L. Forrest - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wish I could give this book a 4.5 stars - for the most part, I really liked the book and what it had to say. It's a quick read and easy to understand - 18 chapters (although each one is like 1-2 pages) outline common pitfalls students of improv theatre have. Chapters include: What Happened to Yes?, You are Required to Play the Opposite Sex, Choosing the Funny over the Craft, and Yes Begins Offstage. My only complaint is that while 80-85% of the book would be appropriate for high school students, some of the examples of scenes and some of the language and the Chapter on Fear of Playing Politically Incorrect Characters made the book unusable for me as a school textbook for my Improv Classes- which is a shame, because there is so much great information in the book. I realize they were writing this book for adults and in that sense it's great. I just wish there was an improv book like this geared for the high school improv student who is not quite yet "professional" and yet not like some of the other books I've seen geared (or at least marketed) towards the age group - too babyish. If you are teaching college or above this might be the book for you - otherwise this is a good resource for teachers, but can not be handed out as a textbook.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for every improviser Dec 4 2007
By Keith Lyle - Published on Amazon.com
There are lots of improv books out there, and this is definitely one of the best. It's a nice, easy read. The authors simply state all of things that are usually forgotten by the actor. They don't spend a lot of time telling you how great they are or all of the famous people they've worked with.
I would personally call this a must have if you are a serious improvisational actor.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't get anything out of this, still a solid book for a first year improviser May 21 2012
By jonathan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am torn about evaluating this book. I am not sure if there was a concerted effort by the community to revise how improv is taught since 2006, but there was literally nothing in this book I hadn't heard before. All these lessons were imparted to me by various teachers and coaches. All of the lessons were considered fundamental to successful scenework. That being said, it never hurts to hear them again, but I didn't find the exercises particularly useful. I think Napier's book, Improvise.: Scene from the Inside Out, is a much stronger book. It achieves the same goals but coming at the problem from a different perspective: focusing on the scene. I think I would have gotten more out of this book if it has included a more comprehensive set of exercises.

This is still a solid book for a first year improviser in a bigger city, and probably helpful for anyone who hasn't gone through a full curriculum of classes at an established theater.
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