Missouri Thespian Conference was, as always, very rewarding. One of the perks of being an improv coach is getting to "Prov It Up" with hundreds of excited students. It's a privilege.

Steven Vance and I ran Improv Bootcamp, which uses pace as a tool for getting instincts and heart (or, as Steven likes to call it, Micro and Meta) to think in sync. So scenes were done a hyper-speed and in awkward, slow, pensive speed.

What did we learn?

1. Slow scenes are better when the relationships are about relating. Sounds simple, but if neither character is going to engage and attempt to make a true connection, the scene will just cycle. "I want you to do this." "I hate doing things." "But I want you to do this." "Nope...."

2. Speed often increases volume, but volume can distract from a scene. It's especially difficult when the room is full of 100 students. But the message is clear that when performers get too excited, they can become steam whistles. Steven had the idea of keeping the energy high, but volume low. It actually increased the intensity.

3. Humor can inhibit a comedic scene. We saw so much growth from students when they gave themselves permission to play it real instead of going for the laugh.

Thanks for all those who participated!