Shortform as Speed Chess?

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Shortform as Speed Chess?

Postby Spots » March 6th, 2012, 5:22 am

I would also venture to say that proper shortform should be played the same way you would play a narrative, but faster... Kind of like speed chess...



Chuy, can we discuss this claim? What makes the faster style the most proper? I admit that I would play more shortform if the tendency were to slow down and let scenes breathe.
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Postby happywaffle » March 6th, 2012, 10:24 am

Speed chess mighta been the wrong analogy. The story progresses much more quickly *relative* to a longform show, but I also love the shortform scenes the best when there's silence, emotional intensity, character development, etc.
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Postby Jon Bolden » March 6th, 2012, 10:37 am

Hmmm, I feel like short-form games/setups are often an opportunity to focus on the relationships onstage and not plot/narrative/story since it's not going to continue by design. And even the "restrictions" or "rules" are a gift to take your mind off of one or more aspects of improv and just explore relationship & character.

I don't know if Chuy is meaning to say "play it faster" but you focus only on what's happening in that moment. Not that you shouldn't do long-form (I hate that word) this way but often people can't help but look ahead.

Am I making any sense?
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Postby Spots » March 6th, 2012, 12:11 pm

Jon: I think I understand. But because I haven't participated in formats where stories are consciously being plotted ahead, I guess this distinction falls short on me. I'll just chalk it up to folks having different definitions of short-form & long-form. The one that caught my eye and I hold onto is simply:

"Short-form is finding the scene in the game. Long-form is finding the game in the scene."

Because I'm particularly "gamey" as an improviser this definition makes so much sense. I don't enjoy short-form because I like to plot games not scenes. I see how certain types of either form would benefit from this or that style. Speed up or slow down. But while using the above definition, I can't make any sense of how one or the other is inherently fast or slow.
Last edited by Spots on March 6th, 2012, 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jon Bolden » March 6th, 2012, 12:15 pm

Spots wrote:"Short-form is finding the scene in the game. Long-form is finding the game in the scene.


Oh! I do like this. It's memorable and useful.
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Postby Spots » March 6th, 2012, 12:31 pm

And it still applies to narrative right? Someone begins a scene and the other person will search for a game, or discover how this scene is relevant to the last scene or overall plot.
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Postby jillybee72 » March 6th, 2012, 1:07 pm

Pondorous short form is one of life's more painful experiences. It's an exchange of energy; quick, pithy, exciting, fun, fast.
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Postby Spots » March 6th, 2012, 1:23 pm

Jill: But even as you say that I'm imagining "Good Bad Worst Advice" and how it could be hampered by plowing through it without building fun tension. Or any panel game, or that family dinner table one, or family portrait, or any shortform game that more resembles a scene.

Sure there are lots of short-form games where your brain benefits from this inner monologue, "Just speak! say the first thing at the top of your head! jump into the scene even though that guy hasn't said a line yet! yes and! yes and! yes and! we are all mops now! Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!"

But there are just as many games that play more fun the more tension you invest into them.
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Postby Chuy! » March 6th, 2012, 1:29 pm

I don't know a speed chess player, but don't you think that they are thinking 13 moves ahead? I will say this again: IF YOU ARE NOT PLAYING BY THE BASICS IN EITHER FORM, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. And by wrong I mean you will probably fail more often than not. Sure failing can be fun, but in the end do you think an audience really wants to see you fail over and over again? You are still supposed to be an entertainer. If you don't like making people happy, stop. Selfish improv pisses me off. Go play in your living room for your cat and dog and allow actors who want to cultivate a relationship with a fanbase the stagetime.

That is going to be read as angry, but I'm not. I will not cite examples because that would be mean-spirited. Anyway, short or long, play the same... Basics, basics, basics.
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Postby Spots » March 6th, 2012, 1:34 pm

It doesn't read as angry. It reads as passionate. But examples really would help to gain perspective in this instance.
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Postby Chuy! » March 6th, 2012, 1:40 pm

No. That part about selfish improv was off topic. The ramblings of an old man... The real message is that long and short are the same and should be played as such...
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Postby Spots » March 6th, 2012, 1:42 pm

I agree!
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » March 6th, 2012, 2:05 pm

Chuy! wrote:I don't know a speed chess player, but don't you think that they are thinking 13 moves ahead? I will say this again: IF YOU ARE NOT PLAYING BY THE BASICS IN EITHER FORM, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. And by wrong I mean you will probably fail more often than not. Sure failing can be fun, but in the end do you think an audience really wants to see you fail over and over again? You are still supposed to be an entertainer. If you don't like making people happy, stop. Selfish improv pisses me off. Go play in your living room for your cat and dog and allow actors who want to cultivate a relationship with a fanbase the stagetime.


sigh...i WOULD, but you fuckers keep asking me to come back and play! stop sending me mixed signals! :P
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Postby Chuy! » March 6th, 2012, 2:15 pm

I'm such a FB whore. I really wish we could "like" comments on here...
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Postby jillybee72 » March 7th, 2012, 10:46 am

Spots wrote:But there are just as many games that play more fun the more tension you invest into them.


Internal pacing is one thing. External pacing and starting pacing is what I care about.

Don't let your show drag.

Don't roll up into your scenes.
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