Art by Committee: A Guide to Advanced Improvisation
Book and DVD. A guide to advanced improvisation. This sequel to the best-selling improv book Truth in Comedy is designed to help improv performers move up to the more advanced levels of improvisation. Accompanying the book is a DVD featuring performers in action demonstrating the instructions and ideas covered in the book. The DVD includes performances by four popular improv groups: Upright Citizens Brigade, Beer Shark Mice, Armando Diaz Theatrical Experience, The Reckoning and assorted short clips with Peter Hulne. Also on the DVD are interviews with many celebrity improv artists including: Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Stephnie Weir, Tim Meadows, Andy Dick and Adam McKay.
Redundant and unnecessary
By Tim Rosenstein - January 4, 2007
"Truth in Comedy" is a decent little book that lays out well the philosophy of Improv and the Harold structure. "Art by Committee" reiterates some of what's in Truth, very slightly expands on some of the concepts, but mostly it's just chatter about IO, improv, and Del Close. There's a whole lot of former students talking about how great improv is. There's a whole lot of vague ruminations on how great improv is. And there's a whole lot of pretty pointless... addenduming (if that's a word). The book is like one big addendum to Truth in Comedy, one big "what I was saying is..." and "oh yeah, I forgot to mention this (insignificant thing related to something from Truth)". All of this is stuff you'll hear from your teachers at any decent improv class (minus the personal stories, of course). Plus, it's just not that well written. It's poorly organized and poorly conceived and the writing style is far too conversational. But given that not much is being said and really, it's all just fluff... read more
By K. D. Jones "dajonzboy" - April 30, 2010
I bought this by mistake... that is, I expected it to live up to its subtitle: "A Guide to Advanced Improvisation." It is not.
This book is really just a collection of self-congratulatory anecdotes and recollections of Del Close. Seriously... interesting stories but ultimately lacking instruction. Halpern continues shouting her own praise as co-founded of IO in Chicago, birthplace to many improv greats. She's a great businesswoman.
Finally got her first book, "Truth in Comedy," which is substantially better. Almost a textbook on the subject, it contains plenty of lessons, games, informative anecdotes. (It was written by THREE authors.)
Buy the latter, skip the former.
Good book, excellent DVD
By Shaky - October 29, 2006
There is some good info in this book. The best part of the book is that Halpern references examples from the included DVD to illustrate some of her points. These examples come in the early chapters and are by far the strongest part of the book.
In fact, the DVD itself is worth the price of the book with full performances by "Beer Shark Mice" and the "Reckoning" as well as performance snippets of ASSCAT and an Armando (with Joe Bill as the Armando). There are also interviews with various well known improvisers such as Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, etc.
Halpern's writing is weak because - even though she makes good points - she never takes you through the whole thing so that you can get it. A book that would lay out specific issues in teaching long form improv and then useful exercises and teaching points would make for a more useful book. It seems like she is either describing the final result (what makes up a Harold, for example) or making a small teaching point (how to... read more
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