You can always Improv.

For the sim or the website
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:04 am

You can always Improv.

Post by Zayn » Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:53 pm

If Improv makes you groan, this is only going to get worse as I go on so you might want to get all your eye rolling out of the way early. This post is about Improv exercises, that's right homework for learning to think fast. Thinking fast and thinking in scene or in character is something roleplay has in common with improv, so the lessons that you might find for improv actors can have a lot of benefit for you as a roleplayer. Like anything this varies from person to person, everyone approaches roleplay in their own way and these exercises might be completely worthless to many of you, but they have helped me in the past and currently, so here we go.

First several solo exercises since these are the easiest to do. Later on I might add some group exercises that fit a text based roleplay environment. But for not these should get you thinking about what kinds of things qualify as exercises, and what they might be able to help you with.

1 The player plays all characters. The play typically starts with a character monologue and then goes into scenes alternated with more monologues.
One could summarize the `rules` as:
you play all the characters and their dialogue in the scenes
monologues are either internal (to the character) or to the audience, addresses as a group (a minister preaching to a church, a person introducing himself at a job interview).

2 Play a 3 line scene with 2 characters. Play both characters yourself. Repeat at high speed so you run through your `easy` characters fast.

3 Tell a story to a few chairs. Any story, and the story does not really matter. Then, as you go, start playing all the characters. Feel free to narrate in between.
Make your story such that it becomes easy to establish the character. Start with something like `Jodi didn`t really like leaving the house` -- which would point yourself to playing somebody with an outdoor phobia.

4 Start with a random noun. It should be a tangible, common thing like mug, clock, sword. Courage is too abstract, postitronic laser metric is too esoteric. This is a good resource if you work alone.
Write a normal statement about this thing. For instance, a mug: it’s a cheap ceramic mug from Crate and Barrel.
Write another normal statement about this thing. For instance, it’s full of lukewarm coffee.
Write an unusual thing about this thing. For instance, the porcelain is splashed with a spray of dried blood.

5 Pick a situation that would happen in life.
Identify five typical things thats would ordinarily happen in that situation.
Pick an unusual thing.
Apply that unusual thing to the list you generated in step 2.
Example: A lady goes to a gym to see a trainer.
Unusual thing: the trainer is the most pervy guy ever.

6 Set a clock for a minute. Start throwing out scene setups, do not worry if these feel right, or are even good. Don't think about the scenes, once you have one out move on to the next. Try to make up as many unique scenes as possible inside the minute.

7 The Gauntlet
Set a clock for 10 minutes(any amount of time will work). Start with a character monolog. After no more than 60 seconds, you should slip into a two character scene with that character. From there, keep "cutting to" or wiping to related scenes, flashbacks, flashforwards, or completely new scenes.

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 7234
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:02 pm

Re: You can always Improv.

Post by Chyleste » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:48 pm

This is great advice. I agree. I have described RP as cowriting an improvised play with other people. These exercises will really help you find a voice for your character too. Thank you so much.

User avatar
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:04 am

Re: You can always Improv.

Post by Zayn » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:51 am

Exactly! This type of exercise is easy to do, you can do it in your car, or waiting in line. you don't really even have to do any of it out loud, though sometimes it does help to differentiate voices in some exercises.

Doing things like this can help you find the edges, highs and lows of your character so that when you are in a scene you have a good firm idea of who they are and what they might do. Or in the case of the scene building exercises it can help you jump into a scene with others or start up something that has a lot more potential for exciting reactions than simply saying hello.

User avatar
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:37 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: You can always Improv.

Post by nightkindangel » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:43 pm

i have often explained that Roleplay is virtual theatre. Great tools. Thank you for posting it :D

Post Reply