My Longform Traps

With three years under our belt, I want to share three pitfalls I have encountered from producing/performing an improvised show based on a known piece of fiction.

(The solution is likely vigilant communication but sometimes the focus on avoiding one pitfall leads to forgetting the others.)

Death By Reference
Sometimes you overstuff the audience with facts, metaphors, and similes. Sometimes the audience feels starved for references to the source material. Add to that the mythos that you have built in your show. A new audience member or even a seasoned regular may not know/ may have forgotten that your character had a different facial appliance in season one, and likely wouldn’t care.

pitfall: feast or famine

The ___ Matters Most
Sometimes seeking to keep control by exclaiming this is “the way we do it” or “my character would never…” deadens the fun. Sometimes the fun doesn’t matter more than the emotional truth, and vice versa. The hardest one for us to get over is real science versus Star Trek science. What might be true in our universe may not be true there but inventing laws is a set unto itself.

pitfall: matter matters

The Audience Remembers When You Forgot Their Offer
There is a difference between using the offer as a reference and exploring from there, and changing their offer late in the set and not being called on it.

pitfall: forgotten offers
What are some pitfalls you’ve experienced or seen?