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  • Marina Mastros

First Blog Post!

Welcome to my improv brain trust.

Hello! My name is Marina and I've been an improvisor for over twenty years. I have all this knowledge (hopefully) and experience (definitely) bouncing around in my brain. So far, only my in-person students have gotten any use out of it. But I finally decided to store my mind's improv-related stuff in a place where anyone can use it - the internet! Learning improv? I got you. On an improv team? Even better. Teaching improv? Welcome aboard.

The idea is to make my blog as useful as possible, so you'll find some objective information as well as my personal perspective. I'll try to lay things out honestly and clearly, and hopefully, have fun in the process! If you're not enjoying improv, why do it? Okay, here's what you can expect to find in future posts:

How To's, Exercises, & Tips

I'll lay out improv exercises, explained clearly, so that you can try them with your teams or students of your own. I'll post tips I've gathered over the years for longform, short form, narrative, and musical improv, among others I'm sure. I would say that I specialize in both short and longform, and have been teaching them both for years. I completed the improv program at UCB here in LA (before there was a book). Since then I've developed my own theory about the "game" of the scene, and how best to play it, so look for those posts as well. I also performed short form professionally in San Diego for about a decade, and that sh*t stays in your bones.

Local Recommendations

Part of the reason I wanted to create a blog is because not everyone lives in LA, NYC, or Austin. There are thousands of people who perform in places that don't have a UCB, a Groundlings, or any other big-name theater. I want this blog to be a resource for performers in big cities and in places that aren't hubs of comedy...yet. If there's no comedy theater in your town at all, maybe you can start one!

I've been lucky enough to teach and perform in many different cities like Chicago, Phoenix, and NYC among others, so I'll pass on the places that I personally recommend. That could mean specific theaters, classes, teachers, shows, or anything else improv-related. After all, it never feels good to spend money on something that didn't end up being worth it. So I'll do my best to be transparent. If I don't have experience somewhere, I'll get recommendations from people I trust to let you know what's worth checking out. The pandemic stopped us from getting out there, but now we can start exploring again!

Real Life

Since it's hard to make any kind of decent or consistent income as an improvisor (yes I spell it with an "o," get off me) the only reason to keep doing it is that you enjoy it. After twenty years, I still love it. I love it for many reasons. It's given me some of my best friends. It's given me some of my first jobs. Let's be honest, it's given me attention and stage time. But I also truly believe it's made me a better person. And if done the right way, it can make anyone else a better person too. We can discuss secular morality later, but at times, this blog won't always be entirely about improv. I think that's healthy!

My first improv teaching job. The squiggles had a point and no, I don't remember it. I'm sure it was genius.

Whether you use Good Improv (yes I named my blog, get off me) as a practical resource or a source of inspiration, I hope it helps you enjoy being an improvisor. May we all stay brilliant and weird.


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