This Week’s Episode:
“Stop. Make it more interesting.” Those are the words I hear from my instructor Jennifer Bascom while pretending to sip tea on stage in a high stakes improv class in Los Angeles. With all eyes on me, that exercise marked a turning point in my skills as a performer. And...those simple words have gone on to have a huge impact on my storytelling craft. Jen knows the art of story. She has performed comedy and improv on stage and television, she’s a playwright, and you may have seen her in a Super Bowl commercial or two. In my time with her, I’ve learned skills that will stay with me forever and she has a lifetime’s worth of knowledge to share.
In this episode, she and I spill the tea on how improv really feels in the moment for performers, translating improv skills to the speaking circuit, and bringing concepts and teachings to life in a new way through storytelling. Not only do we share impactful improv stories, we also discuss the essential ingredients for great storytelling.
What you will learn in this episode:
- Why emotions can make you a better storyteller
- How to get people to connect with your stories
- What improv lesson best lends itself to effective storytelling
Who is Jen?
Jennifer Bascom is a performer, writer, and sought-after improv coach. From Los Angeles to Qatar, she has taught improv around the world working with business organizations, corporations, comedy festivals, and theater companies. But her extensive resume includes a feast of TV, commercial, stage, online, and written works.
On television, Jen has been on various programs like The Bachelor, Jimmy Kimmel, House Hunters Renovations, America’s Cutest Kids, True Beauty, and others. She’s appeared in commercials for the likes of Progressive Insurance, Fox Sports, and Healthy Choice, including Super Bowl ads for General Motors and Walmart. She also writes for and acts in the web series, RelationFix and The Greeting Card Critic.
On the stage, Jen toured with Second City Theatricals and performed on Comedy Central, at Disney’s Comedy Warehouse, SAK Comedy Lab, RI Shakespeare Company, and in the Our Life and Times Review show off-Broadway. She was part of the original cast for Presumed Murder and has participated in several workshop casts with Disney Imagineering.
In 2018, Jen received an invitation to give a TEDx talk, and the following year she became a published playwright. In a post-pandemic world, her all-female improvised Shakespeare show Shrew will hit the road. Right now, she’s writing a play for Lineage Theater Co., an original content video game with NBCU, and you can see her on U-Jokes with Jonathan Mangum and ComedySportzLA’s virtual stage.
Links & Resources
- Jen Bascom
- Listen to Jen’s TEDx talk: Sometimes, being right is just wrong.
- @storytellingschool on Instagram
- @storytellingSchool on Facebook
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JULIAN REEVESPEAKER, AUTHOR, FORMER MUSIC DIRECTOR OF HAMILTON
JUNA KOLLMEIERASTROPHYSICIST, TED SPEAKER
LTC (RET.) SCOTT MANNGREEN BERET, ENTREPRENEUR, STORYTELLER, TRAINER, COACH, AUTHOR