9 Tips for Better Bodystorming
Last weekend at Overlap09, the fourth Overlap, we did a Bodystorming exercise. Dave Gray, the organizer of Overlap09 asked me to talk about my work on Bodystorming. Dave Gray characterized Bodystorming perfectly as sketching not with a pencil and paper, but with our bodies. As the Bodystorm teams (of super thinkers/doers) went through the exercise I realized it would have been better to have had a list of tips that you can use for better bodystorming. Here is that list and some observations/learnings as well.
- Bodystorm groups over five people are fine, even up to 8 people worked well.
- Everyone needs to have a role, even if it is a prop.
- Freely use large cards that label who the different people are playing (Barista, CNN news feed, Dr).
- Use thought-bubble cards to show what an actor is thinking versus what they are saying. "Good morning to you, How can I help you?" while someone holds a thought-bubble card above their head that shows they are really thinking "A--hole."
- Have a narrator, or color commentator that explains things to the crowd. That keeps the meta-talk to a minimum.
- The narrator can pretend it is like watching TV and use a TV controller, to stop action, rewind, or fast forward.
- Your props can have feelings, thoughts, and they can talk.
- When your group is working through its presentation, try to approach it with the spirit of improv's "Yes, and . . . " rather than "No, but . . . "
- Bodystorm teams that did two skits showing a before and after were very effective.