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About Improv Blog and Resources

Improv Pop Video Game

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

This is a real belter of a game that gets everyone buzzing like they're at a party!

Early on in lockdown, I'd been listening to Walk Like and Egyptian, by the Bangles, whilst going through Zoom video controls, before one of our intro to online improv classes. The tool to turn on or off non-video participants seemed useful to me, and it was during class, when we were playing with props and costumes, it came to me. I said, "hey - this might fail!' but the students were happy to experiment. We loved how much fun it was to play, and how the recording came out.

Once it's recorded, the finished result is your own improvised pop video!

How to Play

To prepare, the host picks an up-beat pop song. I play them from Spotify - open in another window (Walk Like and Egyptian, Blockbuster and Song 2 are some of our favourites to play).


  • Ensure, everyone has Gallery Mode selected.

  • In video settings, have everyone, including the host, select to 'show non video participants'.

  • Have everyone, excluding the host, mute their microphones. The host must not mute.

  • When everyone is ready, have them turn off their videos. Pick one player to keep theirs on to start the game, or the host can keep theirs on.

  • The host selects 'share screen' - 'advanced' - 'Music or Computer Screen Only'. Play the music and turn up the volume.

  • N.B. The way you see the game played, is not how the recording ends up - that's the magic bit. You'll see blank windows while videos are off during the game, they disappear in the recording.

Explaining the game:

I tell them we're going to light up the gallery and make it dance with energy and colour. I ask everyone to grab bits of headwear, random props and objects in readiness.

This game is about the element of surprise. Some like to dance, but there's no need. How we use 'the frame' is the most important thing. Come close-up to camera, move way, peep in, put an object in the foreground, read a book, show your legs.... just surprise us each time!

  • We start the music with one player's camera switched on (this can be the host if you're joining in.)

  • As soon as another turns their camera on, the first turns theirs off.

  • If several turn their cameras on at the same time, that's fine. Keep them on until someone new arrives.

  • When the music is coming to an end, everyone should fill the gallery with their cameras on.

As a training skill for 'improv on camera', getting students used to the camera, being unafraid of it, using it as their 'stage' and as a 'tool' they are in control of, is so important. In addition, we love to use real props and costumes in our online classes. This is a difference to our real world classes and our theatre or comedy shows, which are typically made with no, or minimal props - using mime to create our environment and characters instead. But on camera, and with so many household bits and bobs to hand, it's a whole new ball game. Using props and costumes to create characters and environments is so helpful on camera. I've found students making really bold choices when they do.

Watch the video to see how the game can come out. We edited this one to top and tail it, and to include the first three classes we played it at, but the rhythm and how the camera snaps happened naturally in Zoom.


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