How Characters and Improv Can Influence Storytelling

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This Week’s Episode:

In today’s episode, I speak with Alan Irwin, and we talk about improv performance and how it relates to storytelling. We dive deep into characters, discover how else improv can influence and enhance our storytelling ability and learn how Alan prepared himself to give compelling technical talks. Along the way, we discuss some of the lessons I’ve picked up from him during my improv journey and we enjoy a squeaky bunny impression or two.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why it’s critical that you prepare, don’t plan
  • What learning about character can give you
  • How to use objects to tell interesting stories

Who is Alan?

Storytelling has played a role in both of Alan Irwin’s careers in different ways. He recently retired from a career spent in the infrared industry as a senior software engineer by day. However, he stumbled into improvisational comedy in his 30s and by night has performed it for over 30 years, while also spending most of that time teaching improv.

Improvisation has transformed Alan’s teaching of infrared technology. His secret weapon lies in his penchant for making complex subjects accessible and fun. It has served him well worldwide in speaking engagements on a wide range of other topics, from robotics to crisis intervention (including suicide prevention). He’s taken on the task of communicating very complex ideas to others in tech and his interests like geek culture and cheese making.

What is improv, really, and why is it a challenging yet rewarding form of storytelling? What elements of structure does Alan keep in mind when performing? How did he use characters to help speakers in his workshops stretch their limits? What was the most challenging thing for him to understand when speaking to others in his technical field? Listen to his thoughts on these and a host of other related topics, based on his decades of experience.

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Links & Resources

Ready to be unforgettable? Good.

FREE TRAINING: LEARN THE #1 MOST IMPORTANT TOOL THAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED

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Ready to be unforgettable? Good.

FREE TRAINING: LEARN THE #1 MOST IMPORTANT TOOL THAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED

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"Storytelling is an art form - and Kymberlee Weil is the master! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented creatives in the world, and Kymberlee is close to the top of that list. Her approach to storytelling is game changing."
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JULIAN REEVE
TEDx Speaker, Author,
Ex-Music Director of HAMILTON

"Kymberlee -- a veteran of the TED community -- helped me tremendously in the weeks leading up to my {TED} talk and afterwards. She is a true master of her trade and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from her."
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JUNA KOLLMEIER
Astrophysicist,
TED Speaker

"...Going into that red circle at TEDx...Kymberlee made that move effortless and exciting. As a former Green Beret, I have followed a lot of quality leaders and coaches, and I would follow Kymberlee anywhere… Especially into the red circle."
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LTC (Ret.) SCOTT MANN
Green Beret, Entrepreneur,
Trainer, TEDx Speaker

"Storytelling is an art form - and Kymberlee Weil is the master! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented creatives in the world, and Kymberlee is close to the top of that list. Her approach to storytelling is game changing."
Image

JULIAN REEVE
TEDx Speaker, Author, Ex-Music Director of HAMILTON

"Kymberlee -- a veteran of the TED community -- helped me tremendously in the weeks leading up to my {TED} talk and afterwards. She is a true master of her trade and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from her."
Image

JUNA KOLLMEIER
Astrophysicist, TED Speaker

"...Going into that red circle at TEDx...Kymberlee made that move effortless and exciting. As a former Green Beret, I have followed a lot of quality leaders and coaches, and I would follow Kymberlee anywhere… Especially into the red circle."
Image

LTC (Ret.) SCOTT MANN
Green Beret, Entrepreneur, Trainer, TEDx Speaker