Holly Mandel: Advanced Improv (Scenework, Character Development & Longform)

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Please note: this workshop is recommended for improvisers with at least one year of experience.

In this workshop, you will delve more deeply into scene work, using the tools of character- based improv: relying on the “WHO” of the scene first and foremost, fuelling the scene from your characters, and exploring situations from their point of view.

You will also explore various ways to create sustainable, improvisable characters using a variety of methods and instigators. The day will end with the “clap-in” format — a character- friendly style of longform popular at The Groundlings and Improvolution. The “clap-in” begins with starter scenes (usually three) and then, like a web or tree, scenes take ideas, characters, locations and themes further. The smallest idea or largest character can be inspiration for a scene, with nothing required to tie back in together.

Holly started her improvisation training with one of the premiere improv and sketch comedy schools in the United States, THE GROUNDLINGS in Los Angeles, working alongside some of the top names in comedy such as Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Will Forte, Kathy Griffin, Lisa Kudrow and SNL’s Mikey Day and Heidi Gardner.

After becoming a Main Company Member, she began teaching and directing, eventually becoming a Senior Instructor of the school and Main Company director. She created LA’s longest running longform show, THE CRAZY UNCLE JOE SHOW, still going strong after 16 years.

She then headed to New York City where she started her own improv school in 2002, Improvolution, bringing the character-based approach to thousands of students there.

She’s taught at UCLA, USC, and at Pace University in New York City, making her a professor of improv. She has worked at Walt Disney Studios in Feature Development, ABC Television, and Comedy Central as a writer/producer.


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