Improv is a skill we use every single day, it is a facet of how we deal with the unknown, and its development has incalculable benefits to our lives. Whilst at The Entertainment Technology Center the following exercises I found most useful:
I Own This Place
In this exercise we would receive a card from a pack of playing cards which would assign us a number. Based on that number we would adopt a status between extreme high and low.
Learning the concept of high, and low status as well as their traits has allowed me to reflect on myself. Not only do I better recognize status traits in others, but I intend to use this knowledge. I aim to exhibit higher status, and avoid lower status traits as I feel they are essential for many things including leadership positions which is what I aim for in my career.
Different Language Conversation
This exercise involved sitting in a semi-circle, and talking to each other in different languages.
My take away was a reinforcement of how paying attention despite not understanding is important. In and out of the industry we will have conversations where we don’t understand the ‘lingo’ of the speaker, such as when listening to highly technical speakers. Listening intently in those cases improves the conversation by respecting the speaker, and allows for a smoother transition to a language one does understand.
Red Light Green Light
Red Light Green Light is an exercise where a single player stands on one side of a room, and a multitude of players stand on the other. The multitude try to sneak up on the one player who is facing away from them, yet who can turn around at any time, and send them back to the start, effectively acting as a ‘judge’.
This exercise has a lot of similarities to game design. For one its structure has a clear start, middle, end, and objective. What I considered most was how the experience was effected when the judge made arguably ‘unfair’ judgements.
These moments were important in terms of experience design as they negatively affected the entire experience. As game designers we must carefully consider the experience of our guests, and sometimes even allow them to win when they perhaps didn’t, in order to create net happiness.
This game involved one person speaking in a foreign language trying to sell a chair whilst the other person translated for them.
I had two takeaways from this exercise. The first was the importance of physical actions when lacking language, and related to this was making your partner look good. It was important to interpret the physical language of your partner in case you didn’t understand, and that a clear misinterpretation for comic effect can make your partner look bad.