Improvisation shines in a lot of online content today. It has unquestionably impacted the way brands and influencers create content. Creators realize that there is a sea of content out there. Producing content that satisfies and entertains viewers is fundamental to staying fresh, relevant and ahead of the competition. The art of improv is helping online creators do just that. That’s why it’s important for today’s creators to learn how to improvise.

What exactly is improv?

When people think of improv, they visualize actors on a bare stage straining to come up with a compelling scenario. Or they imagine someone flexing their funny bone through improvised jokes and stories. Of course, this is still the case for comedy skits and theatrics, but, truthfully, improv has evolved. That’s thanks, in many ways, to the internet. As the internet advances, so does the art of improvisation in content creation. Improv online today has advanced to a new level of expression, creativity and ideas.

Today’s content creators are simply reimagining an old art form that traditionally involved actors performing without scripted preparation. Improv is a show, a performance of spontaneity and imagination. It’s actors using their ability to take bits and pieces of a story and put them together in a new sequence.

Who’s doing improv and what does this mean?

Stage comedians, musicians, actors and even movie performers have been using improv for decades — long before the internet boom. It has been a long-used tool for players in the entertainment showground. Artists continue to use improvisation in live or real-time venues where the characters, dialogue and plot of a scene or story are made up at the spur of the moment. Creative professionals continue to learn and discover that their improv skills enhance and enrich teamwork, collaboration, listening, communication and the ability to adapt and problem-solve. Many emerging and trained artists alike have seen positive transformations in their professional, personal and social lives just from mastering improv skills. Comedians have seen improv improve engagement with their audiences. Actors have seen improv boost their confidence and make them better public speakers and entertainers. One could only imagine the possibilities that improvisation offers the budding content creator to grow an audience. 

What are the benefits of improv?

Improv continues to advance the careers of entertainment and stage artists. It has also helped marketers and social media influencers engage audiences and consumers. Online, brands and advertisers are discovering the art of improv as a valuable form of branded content and a business tool. Livestreamers have realized they could demonstrate skits, bits and their talents through broadcasting content in a form that is more than advertising a show. Whether through IRL streaming or streaming in real-time, creators use platforms like YouTube and Twitch for vlogging their everyday lives in the unscripted and natural narrative. Viewers are immediately reacting to the spontaneity in positive feedback.

The more content creators experiment with improv, the more they discover what works and what doesn’t. And the more they grow, the more brands, marketers and new audiences have embraced their ingenuity and individuality. However, the true benefit that comes with improv is the invaluable gift of making new friends, enlisting new business, boosting your confidence, becoming more mindful, becoming more creative and taking more risks. 

What is good improv?

To know what works, you need to keep trying things out, taking risks and just getting out there and doing it. However, some methods are learned with improv, and others come naturally. Improvisation does not come out of thin air. You have to base it on something.

In music, for example, a musician plays by melody and by ear. Great improvisation doesn’t lie in just listening. It lies in removing doubt and fear and letting go. It’s learning to make decisions instantly and stay calm in a sudden and emotional situation. Improv trains you to think, perform and feel simultaneously.

Improv is listening and bringing people together. It’s empathy and connecting with your audience. Good improvisation involves “yes, and” -ing your audience. It doesn’t just mean winging it. Good improv knows when to deviate from the plan. They know when to stick to the script and when to improvise. It’s accepting failure to get better results. The bottom line is that good improvisation builds perceptual networks in the mind that of benefit at all times. 

The value of improv to today’s content creator

In improv, just like in life, we face challenges by supporting each other and building mutual respect. Showing empathy and listening is key to channeling messages through improvisation to your audience, whether on the stage or through vlogging or creative content. Bringing improv online broadens possibilities as more advertisers and brands find value in improv content like comedy, gaming, vlogs and other digital and social media forms. It gives you the advantage of gaining more prospects and engagement with your content. A simple thing to remember is that learning and growing from any endeavor — in creative content or the art of improving — is the best way to get better is to get out there and do it.

If you want to learn more about improv, check out a few tips from Videomaker on directing improv.