I am not an actor, so most of the characters I create come from me, and I love that! It makes it pretty easy to know how to create better and more rounded characters: I just need to learn more about everything!

Some days ago someone asked for non-Improv resources that will improve your Improv game; and I got SO inspired that I decided to compile some of them and added my personal ones!

So here I leave you 5 resources that some improvisers find helpful!

36 Questions

I have done this exercise with friends and partners, and it is such a simple way to kick-start a connection. Going through the questions, it is clear that they create a spark between two characters fast.

This tip will be against the “avoid questions” motto many teachers repeat, but you are bringing a clear brick by asking any of the questions: you really care about your scene partner and you will create or foster their connection.

And that will always make the scene better!

Books about life, and the universe, and human history

I can’t bring accents nor pop culture references to my theatre (as I am an expat and I barely speak English); but I can bring plenty of trivia and real-world references.

When I was a teenager, I used to spend my afternoons clicking random page in Wikipedia to discover new interesting topics I might want to learn. It helped me to feel comfortable talking about a big range of topics, which turns out to be very helpful in Improv.

Being specific and being able to list details and nuances from a topic will enhance your shows. Even if a very small portion of the audience is able to fully enjoy the reference, you can count that they will have a blast.

Some of my best memories involve making jokes that only a handful of people could understand, but they felt SO included because of it!

Funny/ironic news

There are many sites like that (The Onion is probably the biggest one), and all of them can serve as a hilarious starting point for a scene or a set.

I love using Improv as a world-building tool for all those what if questions. What if Improv was forced as a grade 5 subject, what if humans learnt how to fly, what if UK left EU… see? They all are hilarious premises!

You can even use a similar tool to ask for suggestions that will inspire your show: “What is an Ironic news header that you wouldn’t be surprised to see on an actual newspaper?”. There is so much to explore with just that! Extra points if you don’t even mention the actual news, just how it might affect our world.

Board games

I love board games, and I have already talked in length about them; one can’t help himself!

Many board games are amazing to build and create silly situations, and I find it SO inspiring! I can’t help but think of playing lines from a pocket with Cards Against Humanity cards!

Spending time with your ensemble will always improve your game on stage. And games are such a fun way to discover more facets of them!

Ted Talks

Ok, I have to admit that I am obsessed with Ted Talks. For a long period, I used to watch two a day during my lunch break, and I can’t get enough.

I don’t know if it is the appeal of being biteable sizes of science, how emotional they are or the format; but I have learnt SO MUCH from them! Many times it is just a sneak peek that will make me curious and want to dig deeper on the matter, but Ted talk is how I found Esther Perel and Alain de Botton, for instance!

It serves a similar purpose than reading about life, the universe and everything else; it leaves you with some bits of knowledge and hopefully the spark of inspiration that will make you explore a new subject on stage!

Many times our character should be an expert on a subject and, even if we are not expected to actually know everything about it when I can relate it to a Ted talk that piqued interest on me… it will hopefully spark interest in the audience and my scene partners as well!!

What about you?

But tell me, which are the resources that inspired you? Have you had any revelation moment reading an article or watching something on youtube? Please, share! I would love to hear about it!

You can find me on the social media down below; I try to be quite active on Facebook and Instagram! If you would like to follow my journey you can subscribe to my mailing list and get notified when a new post come; it is just down here. As I said, I am planning to write in length about this! We have just started!