Act It Out

Act It Out

What is it?

In this simple improv game, the writer acts out a scene in moment-to-moment action. Generally, this game works best if it's a scene in which the character is either alone, or in which they can play through their physical action without having to speak with a non-existent scene partner.

How to Play:

Stand up and move around the space to loosen up. Consider doing a quick

to step into the character's shoes. Then act out the scene in moment-to-moment action.


In a one-on-one, in-person setting, you may want to use "freeze" to break the scene into beats so that you can coach your writer through the key moments. You can mirror their physical actions or poses so that they feel less like you're observing them and more that you're working together on the scene.

In some cases, they may be able to coach you about their character's personalities so that you can effectively play their scene partner. Often this is best when the scene isn't one that will be in the story, but rather one that helps them get to know their character better. For instance, how would their character behave if sent into the principal's office? If caught outside after curfew by a friend's parent? If meeting a swimming coach for the first time?


You can either step away from the cameras and use this game as a way to better understand the physicality of a scene. Alternately, it can be used to explore key dialogue, and as above, you can play a scene partner.


Facilitate the acting by having everyone step away from their camera, and then move as their character. Once you feel they're ready, ask them to play through a key scene. Facilitate it as a or coach them through beginning, middle, and end with countdowns from 5 or 10, depending on how long you think they can sustain their effective focus.


During in-person play, writers should work simultaneously. First, they can do their character layer, and then move into their scene. Use Slideshow or countdowns to facilitate the acting process, as described above for online group play.


Sometimes it helps to plan the scene first with .

Depending on your goals for the game, you might ask the writer to narrate as he/she acts, which helps them to start to put into words the action in which their character is engaged. You may choose to act without words first, and then to repeat the scene with narration before sitting down to capture the idea on the page.

Alternate Uses:

Plotting: Players can try a few different scene options before writing to get a better sense of what will work best.

Staging a Scene: Players can experiment with different staging options for their scene to decide what setting and what physical actions will best serve their intended tone and scene objective.