We’re sitting at around 5 and a half months past the San Francisco Bay Area issuing a shelter-in-place order. Many Bay Area improv theatres have shifted their classes and shows online, as no shows are available to take place in person right now.
For myself, it has been a challenge to decide how to shift Improvative Productions as a business in this period of time. The bulk of our income came from videoing live performances, which obviously isn’t an option right now. I haven’t shifted to moving my improv shows online because I’ve been dealing with other issues that I’ve had to prioritize.
Income has become a major hurdle in my life, but I don’t want to give up on Improvative Productions entirely, so for this interim period during the pandemic, I decided to shift my improv mindset to improvising designs for t-shirts and accessories rather than online shows like the vast majority of other improvisers I know.
The graphic at the top of this page was the first design I made, inspired by my time working as a San Francisco tour guide. I released this at the very beginning of the pandemic, just after I was let go as a tour guide, when I was unsure how I was going to be able to continue to support myself financially. The letters of the word “IMPROV” represent different facets of the city of San Francisco – Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pride Flag, the statue of Alma De Bretteville in the middle of Union Square (the lady who coined the phrase “Sugar Daddy”), the Fisherman’s Wharf wheel, and a Sea Lion of Pier 39.
As the months have dragged on, and Congress has been unable to approve a second stimulus package to support extending federal unemployment benefits, I’ve hit another point where it’s become necessary to figure out how to balance different, minimal income streams. How do I find decent income streams whilst supporting my children distance learning and with minimal risk of catching the virus?
I have been trying to focus on different paths at the same time, all with limited or no success. So I figured it was worth me revisiting this t-shirt design path. Inspiration struck one night, and I came up with an idea for a series I’m calling “Yes Andimals.” When I was a kid and teenager, I’d mostly been inspired to draw Disney and Looney Tunes characters. I love the cartoon animal style, so I’ve decided to create my own.
The first in the series is a sarcastic elephant that came to me itself. The following characters in the series will be inspired by audience suggestions, just like performance improv.
If you’d like to support Improvative Productions in this new venture, you can do so by buying products from our online store, or sending in your suggestions for the Yes Andimal series by contacting us on social media (which you can find at the top and bottom of this page) or via this website. Maybe next time you’ll get to stake a claim on a Yes Andimal, like Geraldine and David’s inspired Flustered Aardvark.