1.7 – Hey Everybody Games


How do you focus a Ten Person game?

Step right up. Step right up.
I want to ride the roller coaster.
You’re too short to ride this ride.
See the two-headed boy for two dollars.
I’m afraid of clowns.
I ate too much cotton candy.
Where can I buy beer?
I’m on mushrooms.
Don’t miss Smash Mouth at the amphitheater.
Hey, baby, want me to win that whale for you?
I’m pregnant.

We have ten different perspectives. We didn’t build with collective agreement to focus ten players into a One, Two or Three Person scene.

We have ten different perspectives on ten different things. While we’ve expanded the environment of a carnival, we didn’t heighten a collective idea through a united progression of a To The Ether game.

We have a couple different interactions based on questions and opposition. We have a lot of disparate elements sharing the same scenic space. To justify each character’s juxtaposition risks dragging the scene down with exposition and tearing it apart with split focus.

A collective direction was not established through the progression of initial moves, but our bed is made.

It’s time for the Hey Everybody rubric group game.

We didn’t establish a collective direction through the progression of initial moves. Maybe we were each too in our heads and not adequately focused outward in the spirit of Group Mind to serve our fellow players with immediate, enthusiastic agreement. Maybe that’s because we were all thrust on stage on top of one another and to “take care of ourselves” we each invested in individual self-contained emotional statements. Maybe we were all gathered around a central idea but felt we should bring unique characters to a shared space.

Hey Everybody game mechanics allow a group to build a focused direction out of disparate parts.
They are so named because, though they have wider applications, they are useful to a player in navigating a scene initiated with a rush of players to the stage.

For example…
“Hey, everybody, look at this.”
“Brainstorm time, people. What do we name our product?”
“Take a knee, team.”
“I think we all know what we’re doing here.”
“Step right up. Step right up.”

The potential for trouble in a “Hey Everybody” initiation is high. Players may rush out on stage to support the initiation with disparate reactions that then battle for dominance; chaos ensues and awkwardness follows. Or though players may rush out on stage to support the initiation, they await to take their cues from the initiator who becomes the facilitator in a stiff and slow series of interactions that typically revolves more around thinking than feeling.

Upon hearing a “Hey Everybody” initiation we want to focus on employing Hey Everybody game mechanics.

In a Hey Everybody game, the scenic game is the pattern of personal games and all games are heightened through that pattern’s evolving repetition.


How do find focus through the chaos? Through patterns.

Remember, if you’re ever lost in a scene, simply return to what’s already happened. Make “sense” of the scene through repetition. We might feel it makes “sense” to acknowledge the character standing beside us in the same scenic space, but, if there are ten players all seeking their own justification, we we inevitably split focus to our detriment. But remember, though the first time you do something, it might be weird, the second time you to it, it’s normal, and the third time you do it, it’s “right.”

Within To The Ether games, we explored how a group can restart a sequence when it’s clear the initial progression isn’t heightening. To establish a game built out of pattern layers, Player One need only restart the sequence through his personal filter to set up the second layer.

Hear me. Hear me. Step right up.
I want to ride the roller coaster!
Hear me: You’re too short.
Two heads, two dollars. One helluva freak.
Clowns freak me out.
I feel sick.
I’m too sober.
I can taste colors.
Smash Mouth. Remember Smash Mouth?
Pregnant? How did this happen?
I guess you have great aim.

The Set pass of the Hey Everybody game, like in any game, seeks to establish cohesion. Through repetition of the Offer sequence’s order, we set about establishing the scenic game as the pattern of contributions. When it’s their turn to participate in the scenic game, each individual seeks to heighten their personal game. While each individual personal game represents a vector off the collective arch of the scenic game’s pattern, commitment to an outward focus and agreement facilitates the intersections of the disparate vectors.

Establishing pacing is of utmost importance to a Hey Everybody game Set pass. Don’t let thinking about what to say delay, complicate or allow to reroute the cadence of the pattern unnecessarily. If nothing else, succeed in speaking in turn, even if it’s just to repeat what you just said. Remember, execution of a tight simple pattern in improvisational performance can evoke a bigger laugh from the audience than any individual joke.

While your initial contribution may have had nothing to do with anyone else’s contribution, moving forward seek to heighten your personal game in the context of the heightened personal games that came before it. Mirror language. Heighten emotions. Repeat details.

The more perspectives on stage the less focus any one personal game can take away from the scenic game. In a Hey Everybody game, your primary focus needs to be on the scenic game of the pattern of contributions over the heightening of your personal game.

Please, dear God, won’t someone step right up.
Am I short enough to do this?
Wha? Ugh [as he mimes being struck in the crotch in response to her head-butt]
He’ll take your breath away.
I do like vampires.
I want to throw up.
I want to throw up.
Cool! Check out my vomit.
No, no, not Splash Mouth. Smash Mouth.
I guess I won you a baby.
[Patting her stomach heavily] You won yourself a whale.

As each player contributes within his/her role in the scenic pattern, they seek to cement their individual personal games.

If a personal game’s pattern has been made clear enough and has been built up steadily enough, throwing that pattern on its head can be hilarious. Remember though, if you don’t achieve an edit when throwing a pattern on its head, you have to reinvest in that correlating leg of the pattern. So, especially when there are more perspectives sharing stage, be careful about flipping a pattern too early.

And it doesn’t have to end with three passes, especially if we’ve sought to intersect the vectors of our personal games, then we can enjoy heightening their joined trajectories.

If, instead being deep in our head while awaiting our turn, we are focused outward on our partners, we increase our chances of that improvisational performance magic that is Group Mind. Through the Hey Everybody game mechanics, what once seemed infinitely disparate becomes a collective progression.

But Hey Everyone game mechanics are not just for channeling chaos…

NEXT: Hey Everybody Gold

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