Yes, and …. Is the most important building block of improvisation

Yes, and .... Is the most important building block of improvisation_550
Photo Credit: MartaZ* via cc
Josh McHugh is an actor living and working in Los Angeles.

He writes a blog about “The trials, musings and shenanigans of a working actor…” – Josh McHugh, He Acts

His writing is thoughtful, insightful and we are delighted to be sharing it here on Actor Hub.

Yes, And . . .

The most important building block of improvisation is also perhaps the most powerful tool in my life and career.
I received my introduction to improvisation at IO West in Hollywood approximately a year ago. I was not a natural. It was easily the most challenging class I have ever taken as a performer. However, I would do it again in a heart beat.
It was there I learned my most important lesson as a professional trying to make it out here; “Yes, and…”

What is “Yes, And . . .” all about?

“Yes, and…” is the concept of building a scene organically through positive interaction. Simply put, say yes to everything your scene partner gives to you. In addition to saying yes, you offer them something in return. This keeps the scene going.
Negativity is the death of this art.
The scene can go nowhere if you deny what is given to you.
This simple concept has transformed my life in so many ways. It has given me incredible confidence as an actor. If you can survive a minute on stage with nothing but the clothes on your back and open ears, an audition room poses no real challenge, where everyone wants you to succeed.
“Yes, and…” has motivated my career.

An example of “Yes, And . . .” at work

A friend of mine reached out to me about a year ago. She was producing a web series and needed some more hands on set.
I thought about it, figured “what the hell”, and showed up.
Within a week I was running sound and setting up lights. A few weeks after that, I had a recurring role in a few episodes.
Before I knew it I was an associate producer.
Now I work on two different web series and I have a show family of beautiful, creative people that I hope to keep around me as long as they’ll have me.
“Yes” is a very powerful word. You never know where it will take you.
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