Major concepts to make improv easier to help develop creativity and nurture the right side of the brain
1) Always start the scene in the middle. “Dad, I smashed the car.” (That is starting in the middle).
2) No questions. “How are you” or “Did you see that?” are bad because they put the burden back on the other person in the scene.
3) Yes and. This is the key concept. Always agree in the scene and forward it by giving "gifts". It can be humorous or businesslike but it is about agreement and being supportive and positive. Serious example: “Tina is retiring next week” (this is a gift). Other person might say: “She has been with the company 49 years". (Agreed and gave another gift)
Here are the EXERCISES specifically designed to help with creativity.
1,2,3…clap, wiggle, wave
- (2 people) Each person takes a turn at saying a number and you repeat this process of 1,2,3 for a minute. Then you go to the right side of the brain when you start to introduce the movements in place of the numbers. For example, instead of saying 1…you now clap and just say 2 and 3. Etc.
Write the alphabet (1 person exercise)
Write the alphabet backwards with your non-dominant hand to form massive neural connections to the right side of the brain.
Using your non-dominant hand write the alphabet from right to left backwards as if it was a mirror image. When you are finished flip the paper over and hold it up to a light to see if you wrote all 26 letters correctly.
Write the alphabet with both hands at the same time
Write the alphabet using both hands at the same time. Start in the middle of the page and write each letter of the alphabet. When you are finished flip the paper over and hold it up to a light to see if you wrote all 26 letters correctly.
(2 people) Each person says a line of dialogue that begins with the next letter of the alphabet. Once you go through all 26 letters you are done. Give yourself a situation to start each time you play. This game teaches you to think very quickly on your feet, it teaches you to adapt to unexpected circumstances, and it teaches you to listen to your partner. If you can eventually do this game in under 2 minutes, you are set.
For example: Say two people at a wedding
Amy and Steve met on a blind date and now they are getting married.
Believe me, they are perfect for each other. They both love the Red Sox.
Can you calculate how much money they spent to get Carl Yastrzemski to officiate this wedding?
4 people get into the taxi (one at a time) and each person has a unique accent. As each person gets in the car, the previous people already sitting down will adopt the newest person’s accent. In other words when the second person gets in the cab, the driver will adopt the second person’s accent. When the third person gets in the cab, everyone will adopt the accent of that person. This game teaching the principle of agreement and enhances listening skills
(2 people). In this quick game, two people start an imaginary scene until someone from the back line yells freeze. The person who said to freeze must tag someone out and assume that person's exact position and then start a scene that is totally different. This game allows both sides of the brain to work at the exact same time and help with presentation skills and becoming comfortable moving and possibly doing a demonstration while giving a speech. It is the BEST game to learn to free your mind.
For example (Paul and Tim are in a scene about getting eye contacts and Tim rolls on the ground and Nyki yells freeze and tags Tim out)
(Nyki get on the ground in the same position that Tim had and starts the scene)
Nyki could say: "Hello, that was an earthquake Donald, you better get down."
Active and engaged listening
( 2 person game) In this exercise, the two people take turns at saying a line of dialogue and after each sentence is spoken, the next sentence should use a salient word from the previous sentence in their sentence and continue this pattern to show active listening and total engagement.
For example: Say two people are discussing the shortfall in the quarterly budget
We only lost 2 million dollars last quarter and we projected 6 million in the red
I knew a 6 million dollar deficit would get us called into the office. I am so happy I'm going to call my wife.
Your wife has to be one of the most supportive people on the planet. Dude, you are so lucky to have her.
(2 or 3 person game). In the game, 2 or 3 people go up and answer questions one word at a time as an all-knowing oracle. When you have answered the question to YOUR satisfaction…you bow. You might decide to only answer with a one word answer or the Oracle can make the sentence longer. It is up to the team playing the game. This game teaches you to let loose of your preconceived ideas and just be in the moment. It heightens a person’s listening skills too.
3 Headed Singer
(3 person game) Get any slow moving melody as background music. Each person SINGS one word at a time and the group tells a story about some object they love. This game teaches you to listen to your teammates and go with the flow.
(2 people) One person only speaks gibberish ( a nonsensical language) and the other person totally understands it and can have a conversation with their partner. It is important NOT to interpret the gibberish language (never say, "So you want me to put up the blinds, etc). You simply want to watch the tone and body language of your partner and make bold decisions based on their demeanor. This game teaches the importance of body language and being able to read a room.