“Discovery beats invention!” — Bart Van Loon, 2nd July 2015, Milan (IT)
Good improv happens when stories or scenes are discovered by the actors. Discovered, as opposed to invented or created.
Inventing or creating stuff is a cognitive process which happens in your head. You can do it by yourself or you can use some kind of muse (to which you don’t give anything back). It requires you to dig into your memories and experiences of other times and other places.
Improv on the other hand, is a group process involving giving and receiving. It requires you to be in the moment, to tap into the here and now only.
Even a good solo improviser will stay alert and get surprised by him- or herself. And the musician. And the audience. (also see: On solo scenes)
Don’t say: “I’m an improviser, I make things up”, since making up stuff is precisely what we should not be doing.