Improspectives

Improv skills lead to success

When Not to Improvise

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One of my go-to statements about improv is:

Improvisation is like car racing. It’s only a good idea if everyone is doing it and you’re all going in the same direction.

We as improvisers should remember that assuming others will adapt to us can greatly complicate our business relationships. As a case in point, I just finished recording a course for lynda.com. I record most of my courses from home, so I’m teamed with a producer assigned to remote authors. I’d deviated from the original table of contents, but hadn’t updated the Excel worksheet for my producer. What I assumed would happen is that he’d see that my recordings didn’t match the original structure, change the file himself, and fill in his notes.

What went wrong? His workflow is to review the files when I’m done recording, which means he’s not adapting as I go. As soon as his notes didn’t match with the original TOC, he had to come to me to find out what had changed. I submitted the accurate TOC based on my actual recordings, but now he has to go back through his work, determine which notes apply to which movie, and update his the spreadsheet for the video editors.

If I’d taken a few seconds to update the TOC worksheet as I moved along, I’d have saved my producer an hour of tedious, detailed work reconfiguring his notes. Sorry, Ian.

Written by curtisfrye

July 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm

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