Archive for the ‘improv formats’ Category

Workshop Format

July 4, 2007

(Since I’m at school, and thus can’t work on my comic)

I  was talking with my good friend Jeff Clark about ways to run workshops without the need for a strong coach figure.  Here’s one of our ideas.  Jeff (in typical form) has entitled it ‘Nicetro’.

1.  All players announce what skill they would like to work on tonight (strong characters, accepting offers, narrative, starting scenes, etc) .  That is their workshop focus.

2.  Players are randomly called up to play a scene (kinda like Micetro).

2. (alternate) One player is called randomly.  They pick a game, other players jump up if it’s a game that works for their focus.

3. Scene.

4.  We ask each player ‘did you (do what you set out to do)?’

5.  repeat from step 2.


WikiHow Random page

June 20, 2007

A while ago, Erin Dean recommended setting my homepage to Wikihow’s random page.

I wouldn’t say I’ve learnt much from the experiment, but I am endlessly amused.

And every morning I think to myself ‘that would make a good askfor’.

I’ll do five random pages now
How to Dress for a Middle School Mixer: Girl
How to Watch the Neighbors’ Cat
How to Raise a Child
How to Make Bitten Nails Beautiful
How to Make Breakfast for Your Wife

Better than gynecologist, anyway.

The Da Vinci Fortress and Demons Code

April 13, 2007

I was reading Geoffrey Pullum’s wonderful articles about Dan Brown’s writing style on Language Log.

He has this rather excellent summary of the plot or all Dan Brown’s books

on the first page a renowned male expert at something dies a hideous death and straight away a renowned expert at something quite different gets a surprise call and has to take an unexpected plane flight and then face some 36 hours of astoundingly dangerous and exhausting adventures involving a good-looking (and of course expert) member of the opposite sex and when the two of them finally get access to a double bed she disrobes and tells him mischievously (almost minatorily) to prepare himself for strenuous sex.


So there you go. Just in case you’re ever called upon to produce a Dan Brown plot.

Let there be light

April 11, 2007

.300px-la_tour.jpgI would like to use light more in improv

There’s a tendancy, I think, to just settle for a flat wash. If you can see the actors then the lighting is ok.

But I think it’s wasteful to pass up any opportunity to shape a performance. I remember a great scene where we cut the lights and performed using flashlights (stolen from the ushers). I think the reason the scene (horror genre) remains etched in my mind is because the darkness heightened the reality of the experience ie. I kinda freaked out.

I’m always filled with joy when the lighting tech involves themselves in the performance; fading the lights down, adding colours or spots. (when lucky enough to actually be in a theatre with an actual lighting tech)

As I think about it, I’d love to do some improv using only candles for illumination.

I’ll get back to you on that one.


April 6, 2007

white board doodle

How about this for a show?The set is made entirely of whiteboads. Performers then draw a backdrop as the scene progresses. You could also use smaller white boards and draw props on them. Heck, you could hang whiteboards around performers necks and draw costumes on them.

Or, do the same thing but with big bits of paper. What you lose in eraseability you gain in rippability.
I watched an episode of that Drew Carey Green Screen show*, which I didn’t know existed. If you like, you can think of the whiteboard show as a low tech, real time equivalent to green screen.

*I remember seeing another group doing green screen improv many years ago, though I can’t find it now.

Pictured: Whiteboard doodle from last weeks improv workshop (detail).