Games and Improv, Ways these techniques can be used in film and videogames.


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This presentation was used in a Performance in Film and Videogames class at the University of Calgary

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  • It takes no more 'talent' to break such routines than it does to writethem down, and breaking them is a pleasure once the concept isunderstood; for example:• You read a book that describes someone who is in exactly yoursituation. Then it tells you about a murderer who is breaking into ahouse, and you hear a crash of glass from downstairs.• You are looking at the fire when you notice a love letter burning in theflames.• You are calling the dog and something gigantic crashes towards youthrough the forest.• You are mowing the grass and you accidentally sever a snake thatgasps that it has a message for you.• You are throwing stones into a lake and one stays in the air. It startsfloating upwards and so do you.Any routine can be broken in many ways. For example:• You're reading a book when you find the lost will hidden between thepages.• You're reading a book when you discover that your wife hasunderlined all the passages about hating men.
  • Games and Improv, Ways these techniques can be used in film and videogames.

    1. 1. Games and Improv Keith Johnstone and Augusto Boal Ways these techniques can be used in film and videogames.
    2. 2. The Philosophical Premise “Improvisation is intuition in action ... A rapid fire of Choice, Choice, Choice, Choice.” [ Nachmanovich, ] Stephen Free Play, 1990 Spontaneity
    3. 3. Keith Johnstone (b. 1933) • “You can't learn anything without failing.” • “Don't do your best. Trying to do your best is trying to be better than you are.” • “Release, receive, return; Make and accept offers; Get into trouble.” Games and Improv
    4. 4. Secret language of improv • Disrupt the routine – Action begins with disruption of routine* • Make and accept offers. Embrace the fantasy. • Say “Yes, And” – ‘Yes And’ moves scenes forward instead of shutting down with “No” or “Yes, But.” • Be in the Now – Concentrate on the Relationships – stay present in the scene. Really listen and let go of baggage. • Make the other person look good –Make them look good, and you will too! Games and Improv
    5. 5. Story Story DIE Four people line up and narrate a story together. An emcee points from person to person, cutting off the words of one and forcing the next to pick up where the story was left off. When someone stumbles, repeats a word, or hesitates, the audience yells "DIE!" When only one person remains, they choose deaths for each of the defeated actors, who then perform short scenes where they die according to their defined destiny. Samples of Improv Games
    6. 6. The Blob This exercise is also known as "Speaking in One Voice." Two or more players link arms around each other's waists or shoulders, moving and speaking in unison as a single person (the Blob), either to the another Blob or in response to questions from the audience. Blob members neither to lead nor follow but to speak simultaneously while maintaining eye contact with one another. SNL Sketch Samples of Improv Games
    7. 7. Augusto Boal (b. 1931 - 2009) Forum Theatre is a dynamic place of interactivity through direct action and social change where the actors are the authors and spectators become “spect-actors.” In both creative process and in performance, it’s about Games. Games and Improv
    8. 8. The actor’s work must involve: • Sensitizing the instrument of expression; the body. Goal is to freely manifest emotions through the body. • Can use Muscular, Sensory, Memory, Imagination, and Emotional exercises. • The actors creation is interrelationships with other actors. • Verbs, not adjectives. To act is to produce an action and every action produces a reaction – conflict. Structure of the Actor’s Work. From Games for Actors and NonActors
    9. 9. Dialectic Structure of Actor’s Interpretation: • Dialectic is: “Discourse between people holding different points of view who wish to establish the truth guided by reasoned arguments.” • Fundamental for the actor is not the “being” of the character but the “will.” Not “Who is this?” but rather “What does he or she want?” • The essence of theatricality is the conflict of wills. Structure of the Actor’s Work. From Games for Actors and NonActors
    10. 10. Examples of Boal’s Games – In Creative Process
    11. 11. Examples of Boal’s Games – In Performance Mode Forum Theatre (Uses games in creation mode). • Actors perform a short play about a social issue (to climax). • A Joker explains rules of the game and starts the play again. • This time any spectator can yell “Stop” when they perceive a better course of action for a character. Becomes a spect-actor. • That person improvises within the scene to try out a different set of consequences. • Boal refers to this as a “Rehearsal for Reality.”
    12. 12. Actors Who have cut loose with ad-libs and improv: Jim Carry/Jeff Daniels Dumb and Dumber Dustin Hoffman Midnight Cowboy Robert de Niro Taxi Driver Malcolm McDowell Clockwork Orange Improv in Film and Videogames
    13. 13. Bibliography • Boal, Augusto. 2006. The Aesthetics of the Oppressed. Tr. Adrian Jackson. London: Routledge. ---. 1992. Games for Actors and Non-actors. Routledge: London. ---. 1979. Theatre of the Oppressed. Tr. Adrian Jackson. Routledge: London. • Johnstone, Keith. 1999. Impro for Storytellers. London: Faber and Faber. An earlier version of this book was published by Loose Moose Theatre Company, Canada, as Don’t Be Prepared, in 1994. • Johnstone, Keith. 1981 Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre. New York: Routledge. • Nachmanovitch, Stephen. 1990. Free Play: The Power of Improvisation in Life and the Arts. Los Angeles: Tarcher. Games and Improv