Improv On Our Own

New Members

First of all, don't be afraid.

Improv can be scary, and we've all been there, and we haven't forgotten.

If you have no experience with improv, don't worry! We're a very forgiving group and will happily show you the ropes - we do not expect people to know anything about improv.

The two most important rules of Improv On Our Own are:

  • Don't try to be funny.
  • Don't try to be clever.

See? That should be easy.

Here are some tips to helping the scene:

  1. Accept offers!

    If one of your fellow actors says that you're a tentacled alien who works at McDonald's, then accept that offer and commit to being a tentacled alien who works at McDonald's, even if you (think you) had a better idea!

    We have a notion in improv called "Yes And!"

    It means you should accept offers ("Yes") and then build on them ("And!"). It's a great way to start any sentence, in improv or in life.

  2. Take action, have objectives

    Small talk isn't exciting in real life, and it isn't exciting in improv either. Take action. Give your character an objective, and then pursue that objective. Be in the scene with whomever you're in the scene with, don't get distracted or talk about someone who isn't in the scene or talk about doing something, just do it!

  3. Establish CROW

    CROW is an acronym for:
      Character (i.e. cowboy, angry old man, ...)
      Relationship (i.e. lovers, parent/child, ...)
      Objective (i.e. find the gold, fall in love, ..)
      Where (i.e. grocery store, bowling alley, Africa, ..)

    It is a rule of thumb for the main building blocks of a scene. If you have CROW, then you've probably got an interesting scene to work with, so it's a good idea to try to establish crow.

    Often times when we have a game that needs to start a scene from nothing, the actors can ask for a piece of CROW to get rolling, such as "May we have a location?"

    The audience members will then yell out locations - and the actors should pick one, quickly, and start the scene.

    Do not wait for the best suggestion to come! It's often a good practice to take the first or second suggestion you hear.

    Also note that it's CROW, not CROWF. So again, don't worry about being Funny.

  4. Make your fellow actors look good Perhaps this should be rule one. Your job is not to make yourself look good, it's to make the other actors in the scene look good. In the end, this makes everyone (including you) look better.

  5. Don't worry about making mistakes

    There are no mistakes in improv!

    No really, there are no mistakes! Remember, your other actors should be accepting your offers and trying to make you look good, so you have nothing to worry about. Sometimes the best scenes come from the silliest "mistakes."