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TRAINING VIDEOS

New to improv or looking to brush up on your skills? Check out the videos below!

Also, there is a lot more where this came from on the CIG Youtube Channel… check it out! More stuff added all the time.

MAKING OFFERS

This video introduces the building blocks of improvisation: Making Offers.

When making offers well, players should be presenting new information to a scene, and showing spontaneity by reducing hesitation. They should be creating opportunities for the other players to reveal character, forward the game or use the suggestion. They should employ the skill of endowment, making choices about the other characters and environment, as well as using specificity an detail to enrich the scene.

OFFERS
Any dialogue or action that advances the scene. New information. Offers should be accepted.

IMPULSES
The influence of a particular feeling, mental state, your gut. A sudden, involuntary inclination prompting action. It’s where your offers come from.

PLATFORM
The “where” and “who” of a scene. The information upon which everything else is built.

ACCEPTING OFFERS

If offers are the building blocks of improvisation, accepting is how we put them to use.
It seems simple, but it takes some work to get into the habit of consistently saying yes to new information. Teams that accept offers well do not just say, “Yes,” they say “Yes and…” expanding on the original offer and contributing to the scene. They are affected by the offers made by their teammates and act on the opportunities that are set up in the scene. Good accepting also means heightening offers and making them more important. Justification can also be used to put offers into the proper context of the scene.

OFFERS
Any dialogue or action that advances the scene. New information. Offers should be accepted.

BLOCKING
Denying an offer by saying no, or contradicting it. Rejecting the ideas of another player. Blocking can be a symptom of a player trying to dictate the outcome of a scene on their own.

SPECIFICITY
Added details to an existing offer. Being specific or making specific choices.

HEIGHTENING
Adding significance to an offer often accomplished by adding detail, emotion or context.

WIMPING
Accepting an offer but not adding anything new. Wimping often leads to questions regarding what the scene is about.

WAFFLING
Failing to make decisions or not taking action. Talking about what you’re going to do instead of doing it. Often accompanies Wimping.

JUSTIFICATION
The act of making an offer make sense within the context of a scene.

REINCORPORATION
Revisiting an idea from earlier in the scene, or from a previous scene in the show, or even from a previous performance.

SHELVING
Shelving is what we call neglecting offers made earlier in a scene. When an offer is figuratively put on a shelf, and forgotten.

ORGANIC
Characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from what has come earlier in the scene.

ADVANCING

Are your scenes not going anywhere? Are your characters not evolving? A little bit of advancing should take care of that.

Teams that advance well know when it’s time for the circumstances of the scene to change. The players take action to forward the narrative, they allow ideas to be expanded upon when appropriate, allow the scene to evolve based on what has happened before and are mindful of pacing so the scene reaches a successful conclusion. If watching this video in a group, use it as a jumping-off point for discussion.

BEATS
Beats are divisions in a scene by subject/topic/emotion/intention. It’s the smallest unit of action with a beginning, a middle, and an end. In theatre, sometimes pauses are also referred to as “beats”.

WAFFLING
Failing to make decisions or not taking action. Talking about what you’re going to do instead of doing it. Often accompanies Wimping.

GOSSIPING
Another word for Waffling, specifically referring to talking about what’s going on instead of doing anything to move the scene forward.

PACING
The rate of performance. Speed is not the only factor of pacing; equally important are intensity, clarity, and frequency of new offers.

EXPANDING
Adding detail or context to an offer, moment or beat. If you’re not advancing, hopefully you’re expanding.

LISTENING

It’s what makes your team act like a team: Listening.

Even though listening is usually regarded as a passive act, there are many ways to actively demonstrate listening in improvisation. Players should be focused on the action of the scene and/or present in the moment. Teams will be able to share and pass focus effectively throughout the scene. Players will demonstrate that they can pick up on subtle offers such as background details or silent actions, and they will reincorporate ideas from earlier in the scene. Good listening can also be demonstrated by showing moments of synchronicity and connection between the players.

PHYSICALITY
In improvisation, physicality refers to the use of the body and action to convey information above that which is spoken.

GROUP MIND
This refers to the coordination or synchronization of a group which can give the appearance of all players having the same thoughts or ideas simultaneously, as if they were all of one mind.

REINCORPORATION
Revisiting an idea from earlier in the scene, or from a previous scene in the show, or even from a previous performance.

COMMITMENT

If you want to audience to buy into what you’re doing, you need to buy into it yourself.

Players show commitment to a scene by remaining present and connected to the scene, they make confident choices and have a strong stage presence. Good commitment also means supporting the choices made by the other players on your team and playing with a level of intensity that can vary based on the content of your scene.

If watching this video as a group, use this content as a starting point for discussion.

BEING IN THE MOMENT
Being present in the world created on stage, invested in the action.

PHYSICALIZING
Physically embodying something. Turning intent into action and movement.

STAKES

Make your audience care about what’s going on by making things important with STAKES.

Players create stakes in a scene by displaying specific character motivations and an importance for the narrative to move forward and find its conclusion. To fully explore stakes, there should be clear needs stated by the characters, with positive or negative consequences for the protagonist and other characters. There should be consequences for the narrative and world of the scene. Those needs and consequences should come from an organic place, they should be supported by information we already know about the characters and scene, usually established in the platform.

NARRATIVE
The story told by a scene. Scenes should have a clear beginning, middle and end.

ORGANIC
Characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from what has come earlier in the scene.

PLATFORM
The “where” and “who” of a scene. The information upon which everything else is built.

GLOBAL STAKES
Stakes pertaining to all characters or the whole world of a scene.

STAGING

It’s how your scene looks and feels: Staging

Players effectively stage a scene firstly by making sure everyone is seen and heard. Good staging makes use of the stage space creatively and engagingly. Players will make deliberate choices when moving on stage and create environments through physicalization, mime and/or soundscapes.