Lately, I started watching the films of Buster Keaton. They’re truly amazing.
In every film, he finds himself in trouble. In every film, he gets himself out of trouble. What’s incredible is that the prop/landscape/obstacle that gets him in trouble is often the same thing that gets him out of trouble.
As improvisers, we can create anything. Often, we create too much. Invent an elaborate room with too much furniture and you won’t be able to keep track of it all. Start telling a back-story about several characters that aren’t in your scene and everything becomes confusing.
I hereby institute The Buster Keaton Rule: If you invent it, you must use it. Bonus points if you use it to exhaustion.
In Keaton’s movie “The Navigator,” his freight ship runs aground within sight of a cannibal island. The cannibals see the ship and try to board.
If this were an…
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