What made TV popular throughout the late 20th century was the fact that it was produced and edited visual entertainment.
Editing allowed the perfect story to be told. Directors, editors, cinematographers…they all improved in their craft and over a few decades were able to master the art of film and TV production.
Here we are in 2016 where live streaming seems to be gaining a foothold in the visual entertainment market. But the big question is…
How can we bridge the power of edited FILM/TV with the engagement and interactivity of live streaming?
The to this question comes in two words: Produced Improvisation.
Produced Improvisation was a term I coined in 2015. It means that you prepare yourself for opportunities of improvisation.
The meaning of the word improvisation often implies that the situation will be completely impromptu…or unrehearsed.
With produced improvisation it still can be but there is just a little bit of preparation added to the mix.
One of the most common forms of produced improvisation is the sub alert dance.
What I mean by this is when streamers get a new subscriber (adding $2.5/month in revenue to the stream recurring) they often have a per-set saying, dance or reaction. Lots of streamers already do this.
This would lean much more to the produced side rather than the improvised side. The only thing improvised about it, is that it happens seemlying random to the live streamer, They can't really predict when it will come. But when it does they are ready – ready to entertain.
That's the goal of produced improvisation – to add entertainment value and production quality.
One of my favorite streamers using P.I. to great effect is Castro. He plays Fifa which involves pack openings to collect cards. When he gets a great card he will often run into a wall and take down his greenscreen stand. Not the safest of P.I. but effective – he grew his stream to 5-digit viewers in a year with this move.
Castro using Produced Improvisation - Audio NSFW (Swearing)
Sure, there is always instances of crazy randomness that produce incredibly candid highlights or hilarity, but adding in some produced improvisation is key.
How to use Produced Improvisation Effectively
Typically there will be a trigger. Someone says, does or asks something. Or something in the game happens.
It's a bit like a drinking game, when X happens take a shot. Instead of drinking shots of alcohol you add in something unique, branded and original.
Although over time is will lose its originality it will gain popularity and goodwill by adding a branding to your show.
You don't even have to follow it every single time, it's just an option if you are feeling light in the content/funny department. It gives you something to fall back on if necessary.
Start brainstorming both opportunities to put this in play as well as what the content could actually be.
Try to find something with a nice frequency – maybe 2-3 times per show? To be effective it has to happen with some regularity.
That's why we have seen it popup in donation and subscriber alerts. Streamers don't want to come up with something new every time so they start using something every time, plus it really is a great opportunity for branding.
I know some streamers who have such funny produced improvisation on subs/donos that people will spend money just to watch it again.
As time goes on, gauge the reaction and determine if its time to come up with some new material. But don't forget you are always getting new viewers who may never have seen it and thus would appreciate it.
That's all I have to say about P.I., it's really just a matter of acknowledging that it's effective and they trying to build it into your live stream production.
Which is also important, just because you are live doesn't mean you have to be unrehearsed completely. You can still be interactive and engaging with a lot of preparation.
What would happen if you just came up with a list of 10 produced improvisation opportunities and left them on a sticky on your monitor? I don't think it would hurt at all.
If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment!