New Improv Techniques (new to me anyway)

by EvanJPalmer

John Belushi as Bumble Bee at Skating Rink

At  improv class yesterday Marko gave us some excellent pointers.

Namely:

  • Tilting/panning
  • Raising the stakes
  • “This is the day…”

These are awesome methods to use in a scene (improvised or in writing) to help progression and to make it interesting.

Each of these techniques can be used when a scene is in limbo, for example, a couple is sitting around talking about the weather.

Here’s a brief description of each:

  • Tilting/panning
    In this technique, the improvisers will be in a rut and one person will “tilt” the scene by pulling something interesting in, like announcing he/she wants a divorce, or is getting ill. Ideally this should be somewhat related to what’s going on in the scene at the moment.
  • Raising the stakes 
    Not dissimilar to tilting/panning, raising the stakes is where the improviser will exaggerate a reaction to progress the scene.
  • “This is the day…”
    If stuck for a tilt/pan/way to raise the stakes, an improvisers can think to himself “Today is the the day <blank>” to help the scene progress.


I think I got these right – add a comment if I didn’t!

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