By Daisy Bard
Aspirations, Poetry, Improv and Gus Guerrero
Last night, I was supposed to read some of my poems at a new writing night.
This was a terrifying prospect, since
- poetry has always been an extremely personal pursuit for me, and
- I’m not a natural performer.
But we have been advised to scare ourselves, and this was up there with the scariest things I could possibly be doing right now (without mentioning juggling this with 4 briefs, morning scamping, A-Z of propositions, adding a new campaign to my book every week, trying to learn Keynote and finding time to relax).* Who knows, perhaps if I’m brave enough, by this time next year I’ll have graduated to stand-up.
I was inspired to do this by a few improv sessions we’ve had during Town Hall at SCA. Splitting the room in two – copywriters versus art directors – Marc told us to run into the middle and riff on a theme. The challenges featured such classics as: ‘things you don’t want to hear from Marc,’ ‘ads that would be banned,’ and ‘last words from dead celebrities’. The results were mixed. Some of these were funny, some were more like brain farts. But that’s great, because the point wasn’t to come up with genius lines. It was to get out and confront the voices saying ‘this isn’t good enough’ by airing whatever’s upstairs. No judgment. No editing. I found this truly eye-opening and a strong exercise in thinking on your feet, which is important not just for the creative process but also for pitching.
SEGUE. Speaking of improv, we also had an excellent masterclass on the art of improv from Gus Guerrero, a Venezuelan creative based in Copenhagen who wowed us with his 150 collages, hilarious anecdotes and charismatic style. We were transfixed for the hour that he was presenting. His chief tenets are (read closely):
He expanded upon these a little, but really they’re self-explanatory. Look around you, notice how people walk, talk, breathe, what they say, what they don’t say. Let go of your preconceptions about what your piece of work should be, and thrive on your limitations and constraints. Use as much as you can around you. Go on walks, explore, drift off…and then return with as much vigour and inspiration as you can bring to the task at hand. But aside from all his excellent advice, I was amazed by the level of humour and magnetism he brought to his masterclass, in a language that wasn’t his mother tongue. One day I hope to be able to do that too.
So, humble aspirations this week.
*The Victoria Line decided to pass out completely so I couldn’t get there in time and an actor had to read my stuff out, and sure, I feel quite bitter and sad about it, but that’s not the POINT.