Ever wonder how Green Light Improv came to be? Why improv? What do we even do here?
This post will answer all of these questions & more.
My name is Nathan Minns, the founder of Green Light Improv. As a professional speaker and trainer, I use the principles of improv comedy to help people embrace new ideas, new experiences, and new connections.
For those who aren’t familiar, improv comedy typically involves five to six actors getting on stage, asking for a single word from the audience, and using that word to inspire a variety of scenes, usually lasting anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes. These are scenes that have never been done before and only exist in the current moment with you, the improviser, and your audience.
Now, I realize that for many of us, that sounds absolutely terrifying. And I understand that because I’ve been there.
In 2016, I saw my very first improv show performed by two different improv groups. Immediately, I knew improv was something I wanted to do myself. I was drawn to the speed of their reactions. I loved how they were acting as one unit and creating something from nothing with their friends on stage.
It was something I knew I wanted to be a part of. I went out only a couple weeks later and auditioned for both groups and it was incredible. Despite my enthusiasm and what I thought was a stellar performance, later that night, I got a call from the two improv groups. It turned out that I was the only person in that room that thought I did well.
So I didn’t get into either improv group but I still knew this was something I wanted to do.
Undeterred, I asked myself how I could improve my skills in improv comedy, and so I started taking classes—lots of them. In fact, the vast majority of the people in those improv groups had never taken a full, paid improv class at that point.
With my new training, I auditioned again. And again. And again. In total, I auditioned seven times before I got into an improv group.
Those seven auditions taught me a couple of things.
Firstly, I learned that improv is a learnable skill. Many people watch improvisers on stage and think, “I could never do that,” but that’s simply not true. Companies all around the world exist solely to teach people how to do improv. They exist because you can learn to be a more adaptable communicator.
I didn’t get into those improv groups during the first six auditions because I wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t good enough and I couldn’t perform at their level but through practice, and through training, I was able to hit the level that these improv groups needed for me to be able to perform with them.
Secondly, as I improved on stage, I improved off stage as well. As I became a better improviser, I became a better communicator, a better entrepreneur, and a better team member. This wasn’t just my experience, either. My fellow improvisers reported the same thing, and there are countless studies that back up these claims.
These revelations led me to create Green Light Improv. We use improv comedy principles to help people embrace new ideas, new experiences, and new connections. Our programs may center around welcoming new hires, welcoming students to campus, conducting general communication training, or developing innovation training for students or teams.
In 2019, I started the company and was able to quit my full-time job in July of 2022 to work full-time as a professional speaker and trainer.
Rest assured, I’m not going to just throw you on stage and say, “Your word is potato, go ahead.” That’s not fun, and it’s not even that entertaining to watch. In our workshops, everything is customized for beginners.
So, how does a workshop typically work? Usually, I speak for the first 10 minutes, and then we spend half our time in partners and half in groups of about four to six. We move around, meet new people, and work together.
What sets our programs apart is our structure: we explain an exercise, do the exercise, and then have a debrief. In the debrief, we tie the fun and engaging activities back to their practical benefits, such as improved communication, open-mindedness, and teamwork.
That’s the whole mission at Green Light Improv. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together. Let’s make something happen. Let’s go!