News Reel… endowment warm-up

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USSR 1730…

Vladimir Toma invents a heating device…

“Yah, so, this I call…vodka…”

The difference between one actor delivering all three of those lines and three improvisers delivering one of those lines apiece is huge in terms of audience reaction. When the audience sees that a player is accepting a choice given to them – as opposed to making their own choice in a vacuum – the audience will reward the attempt above the delivery. Forcing another improviser to own an endowment (aka pimping) can leverage improv as improv does best by emphasizing collaboration and minimizing the pressure on an individual to be clever. 

It’s wonderfully counter intuitive. If I “pimp” another player into reciting the poem they just wrote, that other player may feel a lot of pressure to provide a clever/funny response. But, with the audience knowing the situation has been forced on the player, whatever the player commits to will be accepted. Improvisers need to feel that being forced into a corner is  not confining, it’s freeing.

And, accepting a bizarre reality is more affecting than creating a bizarre reality.

This warm up exercise will make a team more comfortable forcing a situation on one another and more empowered being forced into an endowment.  Continue reading

Macaroni Lovers Anonymous Hey Everybody group game

Don’t solve problems in improv. If there’s a fire on stage we want to throw gas on it, not water.

A lot of group games start with problem statements. “We need to…” “Let’s figure out…” “Brainstorm time!” The problem with problems is that when we’re focused on working up a solution we too often deprioritize emotional in-the-moment reactions which in improv are always more powerful that clever dialogue.

Hey Everybody mechanics keep us focused on heightening patterns of emotional behavior, helping us to exacerbate problems instead of alleviating them. 

Want proof? Watch this.


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Character & Relationship Trump Plot in this video example from Jive Turkey

Jive Turkey is Chris Ulrich and Joe Randazzo. They’ve been working on a two-man format where all the worlds connect.

There’s certainly a through-line of a plot here – finding one character’s spouse, trying to have a threesome with said spouses, etc. – but what I like here is that the worlds are more connected by emotional characters and their words than by the plot.

Buh-duh, buh, buh, buh,…”…enjoy it!

 

Trusting and Committing – a 2 person scene video example

Boldly  choose.  Boldly commit.  Accept everything your scene partner says and does. Accepting doesn’t mean you have to like it, but you have to allow it to happen – and to repeat.

Commit. Push forward. And you’ll find yourself on the other end.

Stopping forward momentum to discuss, argue or otherwise conflict will kill you as all your scene’s (and the audience’s) focus is on “what do we not understand.” 

Commit. Believe and see. And you’ll kill it (rather than the other way around).


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Exercises for Active Emotions

Don’t be the improver who initiates a scene by running to center stage and delivering a premise.

Don’t be an improviser in a scene where two players stand shoulder-to-shoulder, cheating-out, and talking about something not in-the-moment.

Don’t be a point in the arch of a group game where improvisers stand in a semi-circle and discuss a topic.

See your environment. Endow. And have an emotional stake in the details.

That’s the core of Improv As Improv Does Best.

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