This video is of comedienne/writer/producer/brilliantina Tina Fey’s hour-long interview with Google’s awkward, SO not-quite-getting-it Eric Schmidt about her book Bossypants. The best bits for us are 4 1/2 minutes right up front, starting at about 3:30 when Fey talks about her rules for improv, and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels rules for hiring/collaborating. Although Fey is talking about comedy improv, we think her principles apply just fine to everyday life. As she says “improv [has] changed my professional life and my worldview.” Ours too. The rules in the video are a bit different than the ones in the book, and worth watching.
Here’s a condensed from Bossypants version of Fey’s Rules we found on Thinktopia:
Rule 1. The first rule of improvisation is to AGREE. Saying “no” grinds invention, innovation (and improv) to a screeching halt. Obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with what everyone says. But saying YES reminds you to respect what your partner has created and to start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.
Rule 2. The second rule of improve is to not only say YES, say YES, AND. In improv, you agree and then add something of your own. If your partner starts with, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say “Yeah…” the skit has stalled. But if you respond with, “What did you expect? We’re in hell!” things keep moving forward.
Rule 3. The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. Don’t respond with questions. Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. Speaking Valley Girl (ending every statement with a “?”) does not work, either. Instead of saying, “Where are we?” make a statement like “Here we are in Spain, Dracula.” This may be a terrible start, but it leads us to the best rule:
Rule 4. THERE ARE NO MISTAKES only OPPORTUNITIES. The next big laugh is just around the corner, as well as beautiful happy accidents. Many of the world’s great discoveries have been an accident. Bad glue created sticky notes (Post-It® Notes). A bad test for a medicine for hypertension created the right medicine for erectile dysfunction (Viagra®). (Insert joke here.)
…Later on in the interview she answered the tweeted question, What is your one word of advice for twenty somethings?:
“Trust your gut creatively and in any kind of workplace situation….”
You can download Tina Fey reading the audiobook version of Bossypants for free through Audible.com, if you sign up for a 14-day free trial.
via Open Culture