Episode 145

How Your Reactions Influence the Stories You Tell

I’m in Los Angeles at the beginning of my Improv exploration. During an advanced class I’m taking, I go out on stage to do my scene.

As I’m sitting there, painting my nails in this scene, my scene partner comes in and starts suddenly lighting fireworks and firecrackers all around me. I go on painting my nails, not reacting to the situation.

The instructor stops the scene right there and says, “Kymberlee, react.” 

I’m thinking, “What do you mean? I’m focused. I’m painting my nails.”

She responds, “I need you to react with the fireworks going on around you. What’s your point of view on that? Do you care? Do you not care? Even if you don’t, we need you to react in some way.”

Lightbulb moment. 

So often, we as storytellers and speakers are so focused on getting to the end of the story or the speech. We’re trying to make sure we deliver every line and paragraph correctly that we forget to react and respond to what just happened. And oftentimes, that reaction might just be internal. 

My guest today, Niccole Thurman, lives a life reacting as an actress, writer, and Improv performer. In this episode of the Storytelling School Podcast, you’ll hear about how she does it and answers questions like:

What’s the difference in choosing how you react within a role or character in life (or through Improv) versus a scripted version? What different facets can flow into creating a variety of characters? And what can you do when you’re having trouble adapting to a role or character?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to best get into the head of a character you’re creating (or co-creating)
  • How to deal with rejection as a storyteller (or in life generally)
  • What story element truly makes comedy work and go viral

Who is Niccole Thurman?

Niccole Thurman is a Los Angeles-based actress and WGA award-winning writer. She is the voice of Jabberjaw, Squiddly Diddly and Dee Dee Sykes in the HBOMax series Jellystone. Her past work includes voiceovers and appearances on: Grace and Frankie and Desperados (Netflix); Kenan , Indebted, and Superstore (NBC); A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO); and Shrill (Hulu). She was also a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper.

As a writer Niccole has worked on the ESPYs, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards (hosted By Jimmy Kimmel), Sherman’s Showcase (AMC), Baking It (Peacock), Haute Dog (HBO Max), Phoebe Robinson’s show Everything is Trash (Freeform), and Robert Smigel’s Let’s Be Real (Fox).

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