World Hopping exercise

I love World Building in improvisation. With World Building in mind we can bring focus to our Organic Formats.

The first scene of a show starts in a train; the rest of the show exists in that same train.

The first scene of a show starts with Little League players. The next scene focuses on the parents in the stands. The next scene focuses on the players’ siblings hanging out in the parking lot.

The first scene of a show introduces a reality wherein people shield their improper thoughts from heaven with an umbrella.  The next scene shows angels using the same umbrellas to shield them from God’s view.  And later we see God himself hiding his own self-doubt under an umbrella.

In our efforts to build worlds though we mustn’t lose sight of Improv As Improv Does Best, which relies at its core on heightening established Personal and Scenic Games. So how’s about we build worlds around our patterns of emotional behavior?

Here is a series of exercises I ran to that purpose… Continue reading

Forging an Organic Format: part TWO

The first time it’s random. 

The second time it’s purposeful.

The third time it’s expected.

This progression informs how we build collaboratively in improv, be it in service of a pattern of emotional behavior, a relationship dynamic, a group game, or forging an organic format.

What is necessary to elevate a random occurence into a shared experience?  It requires that second move – the choice to make the first move matter.

Derek Sivers gets it.

Continue reading

BBQ Blowout an organic game

The Johnsons hosted a BBQ and everyone came.  But they spaced out their arrival to allow time to heighten the sequence between new entries.  Check it out.

To clarify: That last line out of Jonathan is “I brought the hounds of hell.”

The Johnsons are: Scott Beckett, Shawn Hambright, Townsend Hart, John Hilowitz, Joe Mack, Jonathan Nelson, Jessi Schmale, Lauren Serpa and Alan Vollmer. Continue reading

Spider Furniture tertiary move example video

I get excited every time Alan Volmer and Jonathan Nelson start a scene together.  They’re able to create rich character with rich worlds expressed through rich reactions on a dime.

This scene begins beautifully, with Alan establishing some physical business and Jonathan establishing a Personal Game for himself.

When Alan references his prediliction for spider furniture (you’re just going to have to watch the clip), the resultant game threatens to take over all that’s been established.  But the strength of Alan and Jonathan’s characters prevails and Townsend and John’s heightening and support of the tertiary game makes this an enjoyable scene to watch from start to finish.

The Johnsons are: John Hilowitz, Jonathan Nelson, Townsend Hart and Alan Volmer.

Pattern Save Example #1 – Lap Organic Game

There are no mistakes in patterns. If a progression builds A, B, C and Z, “Z” is not a mistake, it’s just something to be acknowledged and made part of the pattern. If A, B, C, and Z, then D, E, F and Y.

There are no mistakes in patterns. The clearer and cleaner a pattern builds, the faster it will heighten and the harder it’ll hit for the purpose of editing.

There are no mistakes in patterns.  Whatever happens, don’t give up on the pattern.  Follow whatever happens.

Watch the Organic Game from the Johnsons below. See how the pattern doesn’t build cleanly in a progression to a crescendo within the addition of the first four players on stage. Watch as Player Five enters stage with the proceeding pattern in mind and, rather than abandoning what’s happened, follows his predecessors with a move that secures a solid edit with the audience.