Week 13 – Working with actors

Apr 10 – 16

This has been another crazy week. We finally got our actors and started rehearsing with them, though it has been pretty difficult finding a free slot in their busy schedules. Here are some of the changes we’re making / insights we got from working with them:

  1. Having almost the entire experience scripted isn’t going to work.
    It doesn’t feel natural to them / allow their voice to come through, plus it requires a lot more memorizing. The actors were a lot more comfortable to improv the majority of the experience given an in depth character backstory, and only have the crucial key facts part scripted.
  2. The actors don’t want the team to tell them the new questions via a wireless earpiece.
    Having to act, talk and listen at the same time requires too much multitasking. The actors said this would be too distracting and they may miss the question the first time we said it. We also did consider using a teleprompter, but the actors were concerned that it might be too far / difficult to glance at and read quickly.

    In the end, we settled for sending it to a web page loaded on their mobile phones, which would be on the table and have their screens set to never turn off. This was a perfect solution as it mirrored the audience’s mobile phones very nicely, and did not look out of place as seeing mobile phones on the table is common place in this day and age.

  3. The actors cannot be expected to know which question maps to which key fact.
    Having to improv the questions already require a fair amount of effort / quick thinking on their part, and it would be unrealistic to make them memorize the question mapping or try to direct the questions to hit the key facts. They suggested a tagging system instead, in which the team, who is more familiar with the gameplay, would decide the question mapping, then tag it with the relevant achievement and the actors would act out the relevant scene.

We have an upcoming playtest with the actors on Sunday, which is quite scary to think about as that will only be the second time rehearsing with the actors. Also, with the CMU Spring Carnival this weekend, we’re not sure how much we can accomplish, so we’ll see how this goes!