Got Your Back


Interviews and conversations




October 2016
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We sat down for a chat with Amy Jordan of the New Movement Theater in Austin, TX. 
Amy can be found teaching, directing, writing, performing, and generally doing it all at numerous venues in Austin. We covered a lot of ground in this interview from specifics about her teaching philosophy to asking her to reflect back to when we were improv students, and what questions we had at that time...
Also remember to check out our Comedy Nerd-out featuring 13 speeches from some great local comedy minds. 
Featured song in this episode Carbonation By Enon
Direct download: Amy_Jordan-_Ep_47_GOT_YOUR_BACK-1.mp3
Category:Interviews and conversations -- posted at: 10:55pm CDT

In the midst of a summer project KC and I sat down for a quick episode about what's been on my mind this week. Namely, bios and bailing.

As the artistic director of ColdTowne I am blessed with the task of reviewing submissions for stage time, and I wanted to share some opinions about the tendencies I've noticed. 
We also take a few minutes in this episode to talk about bailing in improv. Worse than a mere lack of commitment, giving up entirely is not at all uncommon in improv...and so we had a brief conversation about bailing and where the impulse comes from.
We're excited to tease some big news in this episode as well, but that will have to wait until it is ready to give you the full scoop. So for now, a vague reference is all we can offer.
Have a good summer, and get those backs.
This episode's featured music is Lipstick Tree by Tipsy.
Direct download: Bios__Bailing_-EP_46_GOT_YOUR_BACK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25pm CDT

Every summer improvisers from around the world spread their wings and flock to the many summer intensives offered by theaters like IO, UCB, and Second City.

This summer a dozen improvisers from Austin are all headed to the Annoyance Theater's week long summer intensive in Chicago, IL. 

We sat down with Brian May, Matt Needles, Cortnie Jones, Lance Nealy, Frank Netscher, and Got Your Back's own KC Harvey-Taylor to talk about the upcoming trip. We cover what they're excited about, what they're nervous about, what they think they could use work on as improvisers, and we even were able to convince them to make some wild predictions about what might happen along the way. 

The episode was fun, silly, honest and revealing. 

If you would support this group they are hosting a fundraiser party where your donations will help cover their travel expenses. In exchange you can enjoy a live surf rock band, and enter to win some amazing prizes in a raffle (including headshots or a voice over demo reel):

Featured song in this episode by Snarky Puppy

Direct download: PUP_-EP_44_GOT_YOUR_BACK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39pm CDT

For as long as I've been involved with improv in Austin I've known Valerie Ward. She's a talented teacher of many levels and ages at the Hideout where she also can be found being a talented director, performer, and (as is a theme for our show) an all around wonderful person. 

We talked with Valerie about the variety of things she's involved with, from being co-owner of the delicious (and highly recommended) vegan ice cream parlor, Sweet Ritual, to touring the world with her long running troupe P-graph. We also discuss her experience improvising for 42 consecutive hours in the Hideout's improv marathon, as well as the upcoming murder ballad inspired show she'll be directer there, A Deed So Dark. 

Through all this we were able to cover a number of facets of Valerie's improv philosophy, and we can't thank her enough for taking time to be on our show.

Her group P-graph can be seen performing every Friday at 10pm at the Hideout Theatre.

The featured song this episode is Two Dolphins by The Sea and Cake.

Direct download: Valerie_Ward-EP_44_GOT_YOUR_BACK.mp3
Category:Interviews and conversations -- posted at: 8:01pm CDT

The sass is on full blast in this episode of Got Your Back podcast! 

I (Cody) asked KC if he'd like to do an episode called "you aren't listening" after becoming frustrated with some common patterns I've noticed in the improv I've been watching recently.

So, we sat down for what was intended to be a short discussion on not listening...and it turned into one of our longer episodes.

From not listening on-stage, to not listening off-stage, to not listening after the show at the bar/yogurt shop we covered the gamut of how this common problem manifest itself and how that effects a group/show/performer.

Then we gave our advice and opinions on some possible solutions and exercises. 

Many thanks are due to KC (as always) for keeping the episode positive and on track while I used the show as a platform to publicly grieve about some peeves. 

The featured song this episode is "It's Up to You" By KVHW.

Listen to this episode:
here on itunes
here for direct download & android
or streaming below

Direct download: Maybe_You_Arent_Listening-_EP_43-GYB.mp3
Category:Shorts -- posted at: 9:18pm CDT

In this live episode we invited fellow ColdTowne instructor, Will Cleveland, to discuss the matter of improvising from your head vs improvising from your heart.
We talk about the pros and cons of each play style as well as what we feel the balance between the two might look like. 
Then we end the show by taking a few questions from the audience.
Join us on June 7th at 7pm at ColdTowne Theater for our next live show!
Featured Song from the Menahan Street Band
Direct download: Head_v_Heart_w_Will_Cleavland-EP_42_GOT_YOUR_BACK.mp3
Category:Interviews and conversations -- posted at: 10:08pm CDT

A mainstay of the Austin improv community and a true hero of mine, Jericho Thorp, joins us in this episode.

Jericho is a member of Midnight Society who perform weekly improv shows on Saturdays at 10pm at ColdTowne Theater. Midnight Society is one of the longest running groups in Austin (the second student group created out of ColdTowne conservatory). They're masters of improv, sketch on stage and on screen, commercials for this podcasts, and seemingly anything else that comes their way. 

I find Jericho to be a tremendous actor whose commitment and ability to believably portray characters both big and small is inspiring. He always seems to be having a good time, and his skill and energy often reminds me of why I love doing improv. 

In this episode we talked with Jericho about character, commitment, and much much more.  Then to top it all off we played a great game that KC created where we improvise short scenes, and then talk about the process and why we made certain choices.

Midnight Society can be found on the web here:
This episodes featured song is "Smiling Like A Buddha" by Railroad Earth.
Also Don't forget to subcribe to and rate/review our sister podcast Victrola!

Direct download: Jericho_Thorp-EP_31_GOT_YOUR_BACK.mp3
Category:Interviews and conversations -- posted at: 9:24pm CDT

This episode covers in detail the process of creating and putting on an improv show. From conception to closing night, KC and I did our best to describe the process. 

If you're thinking about putting on an improv show, or any kind of show, our opinion is that you should go for it! 

Particularly if you're new to the process or new to a city you might not know the ins and outs of exactly how show comes together or how they wind up on stage.  Don't worry though. The process isn't so complicated once you break it, come's time to have that talk about where improv shows come from.

Direct download: How_To_Create_And_Put_Up_An_Improv_Show-EP_40.mp3
Category:Shorts -- posted at: 12:32pm CDT

In this episode of Got Your Back podcast we broke down an elegant yet complex piece of improv wisdom, "eat the whole pizza".
We had a lot to say about the benefits of reacting to the last thing said, and really trying to "use the whole buffalo".
In part our theory is simple; if you react to what is already going on (ideally the last thing that was said or done) then you won't have to work to invent something to do next.
One thing we didn't talk about on the recording is how this reminds me of a Jason Shotts lesson I heard of second hand.
Someone would say an opening line and then as a class they would ask 3 questions about that line:
- What was just said?
- What did they really mean? (subtext)
- What else can we infer from that line?
If improvisers really took the time to use each line (or offer to include information added through physicality) they might realize the abundance of information in each move...and perhaps slow down some to use more of what is already there.
I feel that in the classes I teach that this is the concept I end up covering more than any other.
Often times an offer will be made by someone, but will get no reaction at all from the group.
I had someone in a recent class say they felt like "nothing was going on" in a scene. I felt though, there were all kinds of things happening, and offers being made. I agreed however that no one was really reacting to and using the information in those offers. Digging in to them to do more of what was explicit, implicit, and was just sort of unused offer after unused offer. A "denial of omission" as Bill Arnett might say.
Again, I agree with that student that even though there were things were happening that the group didn't seem to make an attempt to get any of those things going. Which seemed to indicate that people were more in a mental space of "what's next? What's next?" instead of reacting to the last thing.
The conversation in this episode goes deeper and deeper into this metaphor of "eating the whole pizza". Bon appétit.
Also pease download, subscribe and listen to our sister podcast:
Victrola! Sketch Comedy Podcast)
Produced and created by Micheal Jastroch. It features many of the great comedians and preformers we've interviewed on GYB podcast.
Find it here:!-sketch-comedy-podcast/id981910129?mt=2
Direct download: The_Whole_Pizza-_A_GYB_Short_-EP_39.mp3
Category:Shorts -- posted at: 10:22am CDT

Listen to this episode for a detailed breakdown of why each of these books made our list of recommended reading for improvisers.

Aerodynamics of Yes - by Christian Capozzoli

Art by Committee: A guide to Advanced Improvisation - by Charna Halpern

Bill Arnett's Improv Blog - blog by Bill Arnett

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art - by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Guru: My Days with Del Close - by Jeff Griggs

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai - by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre - by Keith Johnstone

Impro for Storytellers - by Keith Johnstone

Improv Nonsense - blog by Will Hines

Improv Octopus - blog by Alex Berg

Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ and Dave Book - by Tj Jagodowski, David Pasquesi, & Amy Sedaris

Improvise: Scene From The Inside Out - by Mick Napier

Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser - by Jimmy Carrane & Liz Allen

Jill Bernard's Small Cute Book of Improv - by Jill Bernard

Long-Form Improvisation & The Art of Zen: A Manual For Advanced Performers - by Jason Chin

The Inner Game Of Tennis - by W. Timothy Gallwey

Truth in Comedy: The Manual for Improvisation - by Charna Halpern, Del Close & Kim Howard Johnson

Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual - by Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts & Matt Besser

Zen in the Art of Archery - by Eugen Herrigel

Direct download: Books_Two_Ways-_A_GYB_Short_-EP_38.mp3
Category:Shorts -- posted at: 9:30pm CDT