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Virtual Improv Jam, July 9, Ground Rules

I started these Jams as a way to learn about managing and facilitating improv exercises for a remote audience. This was a selfish act, as on May 14th, I facilitated a Collaborative Improv workshop for the IA Conference

So when I started, I was worried. How do I translate in person exercises to the digital realm? I had to start somewhere. I chose the Jams.

What is a Jam you ask? An improv jam is basically a musical jam session, but for improv. Players assemble and just have fun for an hour or two. No shows, no formula, just some activities and exercises. And NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.

Wait, I keep missing these!

Previously, the Jams were held sudo-biweekly. With the workshop behind me, we now host the Second Thursday of each month. Our next session will is Thursday, August 13 at 8PM EDT. Register Here.

July 9, Jam Recap

We had 6 attendees and a mix of participants and active observers. More on that below. We played:

On Ground Rules

Jams are meant to be inclusive. Some folks have improv experience and some don’t. And of course we all come from different backgrounds and life experiences. I kickoff each jam with 5-minutes or less of what improv is and one of my ground rules for improv jams and improv workshops is “no swearing”.

A slide from my intro to improv, noting “no swearing”

Those of you who know me, know I am no prude and not adverse to swearing. Instead, this is to build an environment of trust and comfort. In the real world, this often relates to the “ye old timey bathing suit rule” which loosely translates to “players should not touch any part of the body covered by the bathing suit pictured above”*. In a virtual jam, this comfort extends to the language we use.

One participant asked “why no swearing”, expressing that they use it for emotional intensity in scenes. I’m not here to yuck anyone’s yum. Do what works for you. We aren’t going to stop a scene because someone dropped an F-Bomb. I am here to make a safe space though. And when we think about the privilege of swearing or not swearing, the baseline should be not swearing. Wether it’s personal, religious, or some other belief Jams are a place for everyone to be equals, and that starts by respecting the perspectives of everyone. So swear on your own time. Write me the email with all the explicatives you want. Let us try to keep them out of the Jam itself.

*Unless you have consent during practice from your teammate just avoid touching altogether.

Other Jams

One attendee shared the handy gCal below that they have been organizing. It is chock full of good stuff, Jams from around the world happening in all different time zones.

I have not had the opportunity to join another Jam just yet, but maybe I’ll see you there!

Want to Jam?

I plan to host a virtual Jam weekly as long as this social distancing is happening. To be the first to know, follow @Collab_Improv or @Dafark8 to see the announcements when registration goes live!

Our next session will be Thursday, August 13 at 8PM EDT. Register Here

If you are part of a team, contact me and we can discuss a 30-45 minute session for your team. I want to offer Improv Jams for free (as much as that is feasible).

Be safe. Practice self care. We are in this together. Reach out to friends and colleagues if you are struggling.

And please, wash your hands.

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