We were able to put together a playtest this past week putting our production kits developed after we went on indefinite quarantine into test. We received lots of very helpful feedback from all the faculty who participated and are very grateful!
What was originally playtest day has transitioned into more remote playtests. As a result, we decided to test the production kits we built, as well as games that we think would work well with improv through communication tools such as Zoom and Skype.
We mostly aimed to test the toolkit that was presented in last week’s blog, as well as if improvisers will be comfortable with our Skype setup. We decided that we are going to try play three games, scene replay, the good, bad & ugly advice, as well as story conductor. We invited Parker and Sam to help playtest with us; in one point or another, Namrakant and I (Karen) also joined in. The playtest was setup and hosted from my end. We also decided that we will have the improvisers see what is going on in the twitch feed of themselves through a screenshare on Skype, as well as the chat.
As a result, we had around 18 people that were able to join us, which was a fairly good turnout! Our audiences were very avid commentors and they made some really funny suggestions from time to time, so we never ran out of materials and used them to the best of our avail for the scenes. If you want to rewatch the video, you could find it here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/585134992
We received lots of very helpful comments from everyone – a shoutout to all that helped! There are quite a few different categories of comments, but some falls into the same category:
- In a scene with Parker and Sam, they established “eye contact” through Skype with each other, which wasn’t something that we thought of but apparently really worked according to the audiences
- Show should be set up sort of differently; it was difficult to do scene work right out of the bat at the beginning of the show
- Audiences wished that we had more engaging visual elements as well as sound effects
- Would be helpful in providing instructions on how to set up a twitch account
- We could possibly share more of our setup with the audience.
- Seeing the chat from the actor’s view was nice, because they were able to feed from the audience and have some buffer time to think of their next steps. This wasn’t clear to the audience though.
These are quite helpful feedback, and we will keep revamping what we have!
We will also try to schedule a meeting with Show & Tell again (they put on an awesome show on Friday and we wanted to chat with them about their experiences). We will work from our suggestions, primarily adding more sound effects and visual effects.
We also thought that this playtest went well enough for us to get the professional actors back on board to do this again! So, we will work full speed towards that next week. We will be putting on a playtest with the professional actors on Friday, tentatively at 6:45PM. Please tune in if you can!