Charlie Todd, creator of the hilarious and unpredictable Improv Everywhere, and director Matt Adams stop by the Samsung Blogger Lounge to talk about the SXSW premiere of their documentary, We Cause Scenes, and the evolution of the viral Internet sensation.
"I just started showing up at Improv Everywhere events and I just started filming them and I quickly found myself to be the primary filmmaker behind the group," Adams says. About five years ago, he realized that the story was massive enough for a documentary, so he started recording footage. Now, here we are today with the final product.
"It's really a story of the Internet and it's a story of YouTube," Todd says, considering how many sites have hosted Improv Everywhere. "Improv Everywhere was first geocities.com/improveverywhere." Even then, the website was mostly text with some animated .gif visuals! Remember that blast from the past?
Backed by Kickstarter, Adams originally planned to release the film online but as he started meeting more people from the group, he grasped what the movie would really be about, which was the evolution of the group and the creative transitions from text to photo to HD video.
"Improv Everywhere started, as the film shows, with just me trying to express myself as a 22-year-old kid playing a prank in a bar or subway car, really because I had no other outlet for expression," Todd says. "But it's grown into this thing that I certainly never expected."
For instance, the famous No Pants Subway Ride grew from six guys dropping trou in New York to an international transportation rebellion.
So, how does Todd get these crazy ideas? "I think it's just going through your daily life and looking at every public space and everything you encounter as potential for comedy and as potential for a stage."
"Go create," Todd advises. "It's so exciting that we live in this era now where the gatekeepers aren't as relevant anymore and there's nothing to stop you from going out and creating exactly what you want to create."
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