Welcome to the Online Wildcard or Distance Tournament!

This webpage will walk you through everything you need to know for the season including deadlines, timelines,  guidelines for submission and tips!

OWC and Distance Tournament

Both of these programs will run side by side. Distance Tournament teams will compete separately from Online Wildcard Teams.

Please read this document completely as some rules apply to BOTH tournaments and some apply to one or the other.


Online Wildcard

If you are already registered for an in-person regional tournament at one of our regional tournaments and want an extra chance to compete at Nationals you are enrolled in the Online Wildcard!


​​For an additional $129+HST, schools may register one of their competitive teams for the Online Wildcard Tournament. This is an extra chance to attend Nationals as a competing team. Teams in the online Wildcard will submit video footage for judgement by Friday February 2nd and winners will be announced by Monday February 12th. The Online Wildcard is separate from the Distance Tournament. The full details of the Online Wildcard will be given as teams register.

The Online Wildcard Tournament Includes

  • A Midseason Evaluation
  • Entrance into the OWC Tournament
  • A chance to compete at the National Tournament in March.

Junior Teams are NOT eligible for the Online Wildcard.


Distance Tournament

This program is designed for schools who fall outside of the geographic regions listed above. This may include areas that have traditionally been involved in regional tournaments or it may include teams completely outside of the scope of regional programming. For the purposes of this year “falling outside of the geographic region” will mean anyone who has longer than a 3-hour one-way travel time to attend a regional tournament. This program is also built on the understanding that if a school qualifies for the National Festival they will be allowed to travel to Ottawa, Ontario March 27-31, 2024.


Please note that Junior Teams are welcome to register in the Distance Tournament but will be considered Non-Competitive. They will receive feedback and workshops but will not be entered in the competition.


Registration for the Distance Tournament this year is based on a per/team payment system. The cost to register will be $250+tax per team. Your school may register as many teams as they like – junior or senior. Teams can be ADDED anytime before the registration deadline of December 1st, 2023.


Teams that CAN participate in regional programming will be encouraged to do so. (ie. if you are a school in Halifax, you will be entered into the Nova Scotia regional tournament, and may not opt into the distance program)


The Distance Tournament Includes:

  • A consultation call with Program Manager Spencer Dunn to discuss options and opportunities for the year.
  • 2 free workshops. The students will meet in person and a Zoom call will be set up with a CIG trainer for two free 1-hour workshops.
  • 1 mid-season evaluation. Teams may submit 8 minutes of footage for feedback from CIG adjudicators.
  • Participation in the “Distance Region” Tournament which will take place in February of 2023.
  • Possible participation in distance finals, the national tournament, and national finals (dependant on ranking)

Mid-Season Evaluations

Every team in both the OWC and the Distance Tournament is allowed to submit 8 minutes of footage (6 minutes for junior teams) for evaluation. Teams do not need to perform CIG events but are encouraged to do so. (See technical points below for information on how to submit)

These scenes will be adjudicated by CIG trainers and feedback will be given within 10 days of submission.

The deadline for midseason evaluations is December 22, 2023 but we encourage teams to submit earlier to avoid the bottleneck that happens during spring break.

Competitive Submissions

Competitive submissions are due on February 9th. Both tournaments will submit 4 scenes as per the instructions below and the official CIG rulebook. On February 16th the Top 5 Teams will be announced. These top 5 teams will be then judged by a second round of judges who will determine a winner of each tournament to be announced on Monday February 19th, 2023. Both winning teams will be competing at the National Tournament (March 27th-30th, 2023)

Mid Season Evaluations:

You may perform up to TWO scenes for submission for evaluation. If you wish to participate in midseason evaluations you may submit a video that includes your team performing two scenes for an adjudication. You may record using a phone, a camera, or any video taking device. The most important thing is that we can see and hear you. 

Here are a few more rules about the midseason evals:

  1. Mid-season submissions do not need to be filmed in front of a live audience, rehearsal footage is acceptable.
  2. Mid-season submissions do not need to be filmed back-to-back in a single video, they can be two separate videos.
  3. You are not required to submit mid-season videos to participate in the competitive portion of the tournament.
  4. You MUST submit your video link before December 22nd, 2023 in order to receive feedback.
  5. To submit your video. Simply upload it to Youtube (and list it as private if you don’t want others to be able to see it) and send it to spencer@improv.ca with a link to the video! Or upload the file as a Google File and send the link (make sure it’s available for everyone with the link to view!)

Competitive Submissions:

The following applies to both the OWC and Distance Tournaments. Please read this carefully or you may be subject to disqualification.

  1. Your submission must be filmed and recorded in front of a live audience (even if it is just a group of friends or classmates!) A good audience serves as a source of energy for your players! Our only requirement is that there is ONE non-CIG affiliated person in the room to watch. This could be another teacher, a drama class, or a parent. The more people in the room while you record though, the better!
  2. Your Canadian Improv Games presentation needs a host (referee) and a timekeeper. You may use one person to play both roles and this person may be a coach or a teacher.
  3. Your host is responsible for collecting suggestions from the audience and ensuring that the show keeps moving in a timely manner.
  4. The entire recording should take no more than 30 minutes.
  5. Your time keeper is responsible for calling out time calls at 1minute remaining and 30 seconds remaining as well as ensuring that the scene ends at the 4 minute mark (although, teams are not required to use all 4 minutes).
  6. You MUST submit your “ask-fors” more than one week before you film and you must inform the National Office when you are planning on recording your submission. A Google Doc will be sent to you at the time of your recording with your suggestions for your scenes. You will be given 3 suggestions to choose from. The Referee or host will choose one of these suggestions and the FIRST time the team hears it is when they enter their huddle to discuss for 15 seconds. Choose the one suggestion that you feel will give your team the best scene. You will only be given one suggestion for the Theme event.
  7. Your performance does not need to be in a big auditorium! Any room that fits your team, a coach, and your audience is great!
  8. If you do decide to use an auditorium, you can charge admission for this show if you like – proceeds could go to the improv program at your school!
  9. The entire video entry (which will include all 4 events) must be shot using one continuous camera angle, which includes event introductions, the gathering of suggestions, huddles and full scenes.  In other words, keep the camera in the same spot and position throughout the entire filming! This means that if you are filming two teams at the same event, each team must perform their events back to back before the other team performs – they can not alternate events.
  10. If using in-camera sound, make sure the camera (or microphone, if using a separate microphone) is close enough to the performance that voices can be heard clearly.  So, if in a large auditorium, don’t have the camera way at the back and zoomed in, have the camera as close to the action as possible, but in a spot where you can see the whole stage, for the best sound possible.
  11. We understand that improv on video can pale in comparison to seeing it live.  All we ask is that we can clearly see and hear the action.
  12. Feel free to recruit others to help out with the video production!  Many schools have an A/V team capable of shooting and editing video.  Ask your students if they know anyone who can help out on the technical side of things.
  13. When processing your video submission keep in mind that the finished product should be no longer than 30 minutes.  We recommend, when exporting your final video, to select a “medium” quality, giving you a file size of about 300MB.
  14. The submitted video can begin at the introduction of the first event.
  15. Upload your submission to YouTube (keep it unlisted if you don’t want it publicly viewable) and send us the link.
  16. All the CIG rules apply: play four out of the five events (Theme and Life are mandatory), four minute time limit for all scenes, eight players maximum per team and no player substitutions between scenes, etc. For more information or clarification on the rules of the Canadian Improv Games, please consult the rulebook, your Coaches Manual or email us at operations@improv.ca