Dads Who Improv: Tom Schmidlin

In celebration of Father’s Day on June 17, 2018, we want to highlight and celebrate our improv students, performers, volunteers and friends in our tight-knit community who are also dads. Get to know Tom Schmidlin, the inventive writer behind "Holiday at Hoppers."


How and when did you get involved with improv?

I had always admired from afar, but after hosting a stand-up comedy show for years that would often feature guest improvisers from OTRimprov, I formed a group called InquisInc. with some like-minded friends and we messed about with sketch, improv, screenwriting, and filmmaking. We lost our venue to sushification and decided to get more serious about making films. We all took a weekend-long sketch writing workshop with Kevin McDonald of "Kids In The Hall" fame and met a bunch of wonderful creative folks, many from Improv Cincinnati. Two of them, "Mighty" Mary O'Connell and "T-Riffic" Tone Branson, came and made an improvised video with us. More videos with various talented IC and OTRi folks followed ... plus a YouTube Channel! Successness! Somewhere in all of that, Edmund Osterman from InquisInc. and I started taking classes with IC. Now we are starting Level 4, so watch out...we can levitate when no one's looking. 

What is your favorite thing about improv?

The moment. Something completely surprising happens in it, because of what came just before it, and then it's gone, often forever. There is very little time to think, and therefore, to self-edit. I write a lot, scripts and prose and poetry and what not, and I self-edit obsessively, often as I type. Such as right now. So having the sometimes-terrifying-but-nearly-always-exhilarating feeling of a spontaneous moment that's just plain out of my control once it's happened is liberating. And usually about as much fun as anything gets to watch and to perform.

In what way have you used “Yes, and …” or other improv principles in your relationships with your children?

My two boys are eight and three, and they are currently knee-deep in that magical childish absurdity ... making silly noises, repeating a goofy phrase or voice over and over in different voices, singing ridiculous made-up songs ... basically cracking themselves up. I love joining in. Today, in the car, we were introducing ourselves over and over with "Hello, my name is (adjective, animal, and/or object) face." It's the best. Basically, it's an InquisInc. meeting with less jaded cynicism and somewhat less crying. 

Any interesting or fun fact you’d like to share?

I have an extremely patient and tolerant wife who graciously supports my involvement in all of this comedy whatsis by often spending weeknights and weekends wrangling our two beautiful monsters on her own. I'd like to take this opportunity to offer my endless thanks and love. Cute!