Among improvisers who are starting out like me I seem to hear a lot of discussion about the rules of improv and the scene.
I know I've been the one to think, "The team keeps doing this or that thing we're not supposed to do and that's why we're not a stronger team."
Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong.
Teams are good for several reasons, but the least is their focus on the rules. There's a beloved group out of NYC that absolutely does not follow the rules, but the are beloved. So why are they so popular if they break so many rules?
There are several reasons an improv team is fun to watch and none of them have to do with the rules of doing improv.
4 Characteristics of the Best Improv Teams
Chemistry A team of good friends have a chemistry that far surpasses ability. Don't get me wrong, ability matters, too. But my favorite shows of any team has a lot to do with their chemistry. Without chemistry your ability will be a little dampened simply because with chemistry and camaraderie comes trust. When you trust the people on your team you take bigger risks on stage. You're going to do bigger and better things together on stage because you know you have each others backs to go out and do anything. A team that's going all out together? Now that's gonna be a fun team!
Respect for One Another If you feel like your team is filled with people who are only trying to do their own thing then you need to ask your coach about it. It probably should be addressed in front of the whole team. A team that respects one another is a team that will work to make each other look good on stage. Hopefully your coach can do what it takes to put some respek on your team.
Lively A team that hits the stage with excitement and energy is a fun team to watch. I don't mean they have to be bursting at the seams or that they have to make loud horn noises like they're a dj on a morning radio show. I'm talking about the energy that comes from being excited and happy to be on stage. If you step on stage the same way you step into a line at the coffee shop then you're not excited to be up there. There's no life to you, which, for me, usually leads to a lifeless performance.
Fun A team that is trying to have fun together is a team that will have fun. That team will also be a lot of fun to watch. I would like to stress that they're trying to have fun together to mean that each person can't only being trying to make themselves, the individual, laugh. I mean a group of people actively trying to have fun with one another and the people watching. Along with that, and more importantly, they are performing in the spirit of fun. They're not trying to hurt anyone, they just want everyone to have a good time.
None of these have anything to do with rules. They have to do with being a unit. Each person on a team can't only think of their individual performance. A team has to be a single unit. A team has to be a group of people who come together to become something greater than the sum of all of their parts.
Want your team to be great? Be Voltron.