Improv Training Resources
What are some important improv skills? Take a look at these AMAZING training videos to learn about the skills of:
•Making and Accepting Offers •Advancing the Scene •Listening
•Commitment •Stakes •Staging
FUN FACT: These are also the categories you will be judged on at tournaments! So..... important!
Want to sound like a real improviser? Make sure you're familliar with the following common terms and expressions:
Accepting: Embracing the offers made by other performers in order to advance the scene.
Advancing: The process of moving the scene forward.
Ask-For: A question asked of the audience in order to receive suggestions to improvise a scene.
Beat: A unit of action in a scene. A scene is made up of a series of beats.
Blocking: Rejecting the ideas or offers of another player. One of the most common problems experienced by new improvisers.
Breaking the Routine: Interrupting an action with another action in order to advance the scene.
Cancelling: Making a previous action irrelevant. Once an action has been cancelled, it’s as if it hadn’t
happened at all.
CIG : Canadian Improv Games.
Commenting: Stepping out of the reality of the scene by saying or doing something that refers to the fact that it’s a scene being played. Also refers to playing an emotion rather than feeling it.
Complimentary Offer: An offer that meshes well with what’s already gone before (and usually enhances it in some
Complimentary Character: A character added to a scene that creates a status shift, or a difference in perspective between characters.
Conflict: Many (but not all!) scenes are about a conflict of some sort. If there’s no conflict, the scene may still be truthful but somewhat dull.
Crossover (or Walk-through): The act of entering a scene, making a strong offer that advances the scene, and then exiting. Use sparingly.
Driving: Taking over a scene and not letting other performers influence its direction. Makes you an
Endowing: Assigning attributes to another performer’s character.
Extending: Taking an idea and letting it become the central theme of the scene.
Game: A combination of (normally predetermined) rules or conventions that are used as a framework within which to improvise.
Joining: Adding a character to a scene who is similar to one already present in the scene.
Justification: The act of making an offer make sense within the scene.
Mugging: Making silly faces instead of reacting truthfully. Generally frowned upon.
Marrying: The combination of two suggestions.
Narrative: The story told by a scene. Scenes should have a clear beginning, middle and end.
Objective: What a character wants to achieve in a scene.
Offer: Any dialogue or action that advances the scene. Offers should be accepted.
Official: A person chosen by a Tournament Director to act as a referee, timekeeper or linesperson at a Tournament.
Physicalization: Turning intent into action and movement.
Platform: The Who, What and Where of a scene. The success of a scene often depends on having a solid platform.
Raising the Stakes: Making the events of the scene have greater consequences for the characters. A technique for advancing.
Reincorporating: Revisiting an idea from earlier in the scene, or from a previous scene in the show, or even from a previous performance.
Setup (Plant, Pitch, Ask For): Explaining the handle of the scene to the audience before the scene starts. Also involves doing an ask-for. The performer who does the setup usually doesn’t start on stage in the scene.
Shelving: Acknowledging an offer but not doing anything with it.
Status: A character’s sense of self-worth and power within a scene. Many scenes are built around
status relationships. Physical environments and objects also have status.
Structure: The collection of ask-fors and restrictions used to create a platform from which to improvise. (See Game.)
Suggestions: The raw material provided by the audience from which the improvisers create.
Talking Heads: A scene that involves a lot of standing (or worse yet, sitting) around talking rather than engaging in physical action.
Waffling: Failing to make decisions. Talking about what you’re going to do instead of doing it.
Wimping: Accepting an offer but failing to act on it; refusing to advance the scene by not giving offers for Who, What and Where