The rhythm with which a game’s mechanic is played helps pace the scene and build it toward an edit.
The relationship between “When this happens” “this happens” is useful not only to focus improvisers’ choices but it also connects with the audience. In Short Form, where the mechanics of the “game” are told to the audience before the scene starts, the audience starts reacting to the “cause” and the expectation of the effect instead of just to the effect itself.
Short form improv games help us practice our patterns and pacing for long-form improv’s more organic games. Looking for a warm-up to practice pattern pacing? Try New Choice!
Performers are: David Adams, Guy Chapman, Patrice Deveaux, Micah Head, Alan Hopkinson, Nick Lawton, Megan Lemay, Jillian MacDougall, Tim Magier, Curtis Nunnally
NEW CHOICE – Players initiate and build scenes by expanding on / committing to emotional reactions. When the instructor says, “New Choice,” players must redo their last line of dialogue – heightening details, changing emotions, etc.
- Go bigger – A player does not HAVE to change his/her emotional perspective with each “New Choice.” S/he can choose the same choice but BIGGER and MORE DETAILED (ex: “I’m the coolest guy in school” – New Choice – “In all the universe I am the most Fonzy-esque dude that has ever existed”)
- Build – If given a quick succession of “New Choice” prompts, build a progression on top of your initial choice. (ex: “I’m the coolest guy in school” – New Choice – “In all the universe I am the most Fonzy-esque dude that has ever existed” – New Choice – “Nowhere anywhere is there anyone that is as rad, tubular or as otherwise bodacious as I!”)
- Flipping – We can always flip a game on its head (“I love you” / “I hate you”). But note that too much inconsistency can make the audience lose interest in our characters. Better to wait to flip a game until the expectation that it will be continued is established. (ex: “I’m the coolest guy in school” – New Choice – “In all the universe I am the most Fonzy-esque dude that has ever existed” – New Choice – “Nowhere anywhere is there anyone that is as rad, tubular or as otherwise bodacious as I!” – New Choice – “I’m the lamest.”)
- INSTRUCTOR NOTE: Be wary of directing too much with your calls for “New Choice.” Some like to call “New [specific action]” – while this can help focus a player on heightening on specific, if the Instructor is too specific – “New [sarcastic laugh]” – the improviser will be put in their head. Make them look good. And remember that your shouts of “New [choice]” need to pale in frequency to their dialogue.