Tuesday, January 26, 2010

IMPROV = LIFE

So today didn't start out great. Actually, it's been several days of not-good. But sometimes, when you get to the end of your rope, and you're just hanging there, you can look around. And if you CAN, you can see. Or you can hear. Or something you already knew can come back to the surface...

My friend Teresa just called to tell me about this great Improv Class that her kids are taking downtown. She said the teacher just had so much great positive energy she wanted to tell me some of the stuff she heard. Teresa said, "She's talking about IMPROV, but I think it's way more than that."

Instead, look what the Improv Teacher says...

....Say Yes to everything and then just add on to it.

....It's all about failure. It's gonna happen. It's what you do with it that makes it good. So laugh it off and turn it into something good.

...Keep moving. Keep moving. Keep moving forward.
No stopping and dwelling.
You throw stuff out and keep moving on.

....There are no Buts in Improv


Indeed. Life really is made up of Improv. One Improv act after another. The audience always thinks there are no rules. But there are. Because GOOD Improv follows a few basic steps. Just a few. I can handle a FEW rules.

I think I'm about to improve my Improv act. ;)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Katie and College

For years, Katie has vacillated about what she wants to do for college. Or if she even wants to go.  She liked the idea of Conservatories. And really liked the idea of living in New York.  She would read the bios on the playbills, see where the actors studied, and explore their option online.

Katie is still 18 but has spent most of her teen years pursuing acting, dance and voice. She has coaches and teachers and an agent. She drives all over Central Texas honing her craft. So we were in no big rush to "do college." She just didn't feel like it was a good fit.

She hadn't studied traditional subjects, so she felt like she'd be pretty far behind, if she tried to test for college placement. But last year, she started looking at other universities, like NYU or Carnegie Melon.  Since neither of these options are inexpensive, we decided she might want to take community college to knock out the basics and then she could just take the upper level courses at the university that fits her.  After all, who needs Carnegie Melon's College Algebra? or NYU's U.S. History?  Unsure of what plan to pursue, she thought it would be wise to keep all doors open. So she took the College Placement Test for community college.

The Compass Test, as it is called, has 3 sections: Reading, Writing, Math. She started with the Essay. She had to write a persuasive essay about whether freshmen college students should live in the dorm or be allowed to live off campus. Weird topic, right? But it just so happened her brother had JUST started college and had the exact dilemma when he found that all the dorms were full! So, she passed the essay with flying colors.  She didn't pass the questions section for writing, however. Nor did she pass all of the parts of the Reading section. And she didn't pass any of the Math - but we didn't expect much differently in this area. Actually, by the time she got to the math, she kind of blew it off expecting she'd need developmental classes for it anyway.

So, a less than stellar performance on the Compass. However, she was glad that her online writing had given her enough practice to do well on the essay portion.

Time passed. She worked on more shows, took more lessons. She back-burnered the whole "college thing." But this year, over Christmas, she decided she wanted to look at it again. It turns out, she was dreading the whole re-test option. When we saw a counselor at the school, she said Katie could retest, or she could just accept what she tested at and take Developmental courses. This option really made Katie happy.

The Developmental courses are each broken down into 3 parts. For instance, Fundamentals Reading, Dev.Reading I and Dev Reading II. She would need all three parts of the Math. But she would only need the last section of Reading and 2 of the 3 for Writing. If she completes the Reading soon, she can take other classes while continuing to work her way through the Math courses.  So she signed up for Developmental Reading and Writing. (By the time we got there, most of the developmental classes were full.) She will only need one more Writing after this, and her 3 Developmental Math courses.

I think it's interesting that you can complete all of the high school reading, math and writing in 3 semesters at Community College. It seems like a much better use of time. At least it has been for Katie and Michael.

So, Spring 2010, Katie is enrolled in College. She starts mid-February.
She's excited.