Improv Thoughts #8 - Object Work
Learn how to do object work. It's mime. Learn how to set your hand on a table or a bar counter or against a window and remember it. Practice in the shower. Practice on the bus. It's not that hard and a tiny bit goes a long way. It's incredibly helpful for setting up a scene.
If you can walk into a scene and set your hand down on a bar with any amount of skill you've already created a world that the audience can see. If you can stare out a window longingly while pressing your hand against it you don't even need to speak for the audience to feel the emotion. All it takes is practice.
Call yourself out on it. If you are holding something in a scene and you forget and are using both hands to do something else call yourself out once you're done. "Oops I dropped my briefcase." You will break the suspension of disbelief and it will take the audience out of the moment and your teammates don't like it which are all the reasons you won't make that mistake next time. Well maybe eventually you won't make that mistake. Publicly shame yourself. Plus if you call yourself out on dropping things at least it's a interesting character trait.
Improv Thoughts #7 - Crossing Your Arms
Don't cross your arms on the sidelines. Once in a while try and laugh at your teammates. Even if they are not that funny. They laugh at you sometimes and you're not that funny.
If you don't look like you are enjoying the show on the sidelines than why should anyone who paid to be here enjoy it? Laugh a little. You might think it's distracting but Jimmy Fallon did it all through the early 2000's and NBC gave him a hour to do it every night on TV!
Improv Thoughts #6 - Stop Sweeping
Don't sweep edit. Just start a new scene by walking to the front of the stage while talking after a laugh line from the previous scene. Sweep edits are weird and the only people who know what they mean are standing on stage with you or sitting in the back hoping the lights get pulled soon so they can perform and go home early.
If you force yourself to start a new scene by taking attention from the old scene you force yourself to start with a line. Start talking as soon as you timidly come off that wall and by the time you are at the front of the stage the performers behind you will have left that person on your team who doesn't like to start scenes will have already come out to join you.
You don't need to sweep.