Matt Higgins: The Improvisor
When I'm improvising, something happens. I get into some kind of zone. I hit flow. Characters emerge. The invisible becomes visible. Viola Spolin once said "You, the unique, invisible, unknown, must emerge, be seen, and connect. Play and dig out the real, basic, unique you." That's what I do, and then it all goes off into the ether. It's fleeting, beautiful, and a bit sad. But with this film project, we'll capture it!
Matt Higgins: The Improvisor is a film that will document the deep dive into the lower depths of my mind.
Performed by Matt Higgins. Directed by Josh Liveright. Music by Nick Balaban, and Ron McBee. Cinematography by Quenell Jones. Set Design by John McDermott. Costume Design by Jessica Leslie. Produced by Matt Higgins and Josh Liveright.
Director's Statement from Josh Liveright
"I’ve known Matt Higgins for a relatively short time in relation to the history of the universe. Six years or so, maybe. Yet, what I know about him transcends time because he’s always present, right there, right now. Both in our friendship and in his craft. Improvisation is the art of being absolutely present and open to a sea of possibility. Yes and… To me that’s a form of shamanism. Matt Higgins is clown shaman. He spreads joy. Causes transformation. Mines deep for gold. With a sense of humor and an acute sense and awareness of his audience. So, why make a film of Matt’s performance? How do you capture that presence, that aliveness? I have no idea! Well I have a few ideas, true, because this is an exploration. A deep dive into the unknown. An improv concert film? Why not! I feel there’s a good chance we’re gonna find something exciting down there in the caverns of Matt’s deeper mind. There’s so much richness. So much joy. So much to share. We need clowns right now. We need joy. And we need fools. "If any man among you seems wise in the ways of this world, let him become a fool, that he may be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. He will entrap the wise men in the web of their own deceit." ~I Corinthians I have some cool ideas about how to make this film that are kind of a secret right now but here’s what I can say, I plan to capture every nuance, every bead of sweat, every sublime moment that emerges from this grand experiment, and share it with you. You’ll get Matt Higgins on a silver platter, served up hot and fresh! It will be delicious."
Josh Liveright, Victor Verhaeghe, and I launched a short film project called "What if Love". These short films, made with director of photography Quenell Jones, have played festivals in New York City, Los Angles, and Tokyo. August 8th and 9th 2018 the “What If” shorts will be screened in Nagasaki, Japan. August 9, 1945 was the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. This screening will be free, and will take place in the Peace Memorial building of Nagasaki.
I perform regularly with Centralia, a bold improv group who blow the doors off of what’s “legal” in spontaneous performance.
Sometimes I perform with my wife Tracie Higgins.
Nick Balaban made music for lots of children's tv, including Blue's Clues, Blue's Room, Word World, Bubble Guppies, PBS Kids, and Peg + Cat. Recorded and/or gigged with: Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle, Macy Gray, The Persuasions, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Phoebe Snow, Toni Braxton, Randy Travis, David Murray, John Boutté, India.Arie, Percy Sledge, Culture, Duduka da Fonseca, Romero Lubambo, Speedball Baby, Bashiri Johnson, Fred Hopkins, Sugar Minott, John Zorn's Cobra, Alton Ellis, Barrington Levy, Davis Rogan, Charlie Giordano, Leroy Sibbles, Nell Carter, Bern Nix, G.R.A.S.S., Souljahs, Jim Nolet, Jon-Erik Kellso, Dan Levinson, Mike Clark, The Strangelys, J. Walter Hawkes, Shelly Thunder, Bradley Jones, Gary Knox & the Streethearts, Ed Pettersen, etc. Currently playing with Rho & The Nomads, Centralia, Touque, Kevin Batchelor, The Grateful Dread, Entrain, and playing solo shows in and around NYC.
Ron McBee loves percussion. He has been performing, touring and studying for over 20 years. He is at home with most any musical style, however, his focus has been on the percussion traditions of the African diaspora, for which Ron’s depth of knowledge moves fluidly from hambone, spoons and washboard playing, to drumming styles of the Caribbean and South America. Ron has toured with several popular artist including The Sun Ra Arkestra and Hasan Hakmoun. A prolific composer for theatre and dance, Ron has composed and arranged the music for “Harriet’s Return” and the percussion arrangements for the New York, London and Los Angeles productions of “The Colored Museum”. He, along with Hasan Bakr and Victor Y. See Yuen, are founders of Heritage O.P.
Quenell Jones is our Director of Photography. Q has shot several projects for Josh Liveright including "American Falls" and the "What If Love" series of short films. Quenell has also photographed the underground classic "Public Discourse" a film about the birth of Street Art, the internationally acclaimed film featured on ESPN, "Joe Frazier: When the Smoke Clears", as well as, "My Brooklyn" a feature documentary examining the social impact of gentrification that was featured on PBS and "Hustler's Convention" a film that explores the origins of rap featuring the grandfather of rap Jalal Mansur Nuriddin.
Jessica Leslie is our Costume Designer. Jessica graduated from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University with a Costume Design Degree. She went on to work with major networks and production houses on projects like Still Alice, Fish in the Dark (Broadway), and Mozart in the Jungle. Career highlights include assistant costume designing Megan Leavey with Kate Mara, the third season of Mr. Robot, the fourth season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and costume designing Montana, a short film.
John McDermott is our Production Designer. John has designed scenery for more than 200 plays and one birthday party and is an assistant professor at Adelphi University.
This is the culmination of where I'm at right now. Improvisation is a very big part of who I am, my identity. I feel it's absolutely necessary for me to document it. This film will be riveting, wildly funny, and inspire play.
I guess I've saved my appeal for last. I need five grand to make this film happen. Please pledge and be part a of this! There are some amazing rewards but the best reward is I get to make this film!
All your contributions are 100 percent tax-deductible thanks to our 501(c)3 producing partner, Zena Group Theater, Inc.
Love and gratitude, Matt
Risks and challenges
This is a completely new kind of project for me. I'm sure there will be challenges along the way, but we are going to give it everything we have. We are going to make the best film we can make, and share it with the world!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)