TikTok! Yes, I did it.

No, I didn’t dance. It’s not gonna be a lie if I say „some of you asked about it”, and I KNOW you are curious about this tool, as we improvisers and comedians are curious by nature. So I checked that for you, and I must admit that I found it surpisingly interesting, and I don’t mean that algorythm finally got that I’m interested only in comedy, not guys rubbing their hands, nor girls trying to seduce me, nor celebrities dancing. Give me comedians and funny animals.

I know 95% of you are not there, and you may feel “too old”, or that “there are only kids dancing, not our target”. So I will share my observations after month or two of using it a bit. I have 50 followers and 200 views ans 12 likes per clip, and if you think it’s lame, well it’s the same reach and I get with my posts on my fanpage on FB with 1300 fans, so I think I can say, I’m more succesful on Tiktok than FB.

And my thesis here is that this seems perfect social medium for improvisers to experiment in the times of online improv.

First thing is, from cultural point of view, young generation knows no world without internet and it will keep going. That’s why all these teenagers have more confidence dancing on tiktok than I have recording birthday wishes for a friend, and they record videos of themselves talking with more confidence than I talk on video chat with my mom. Oh and it’s NOT just kids there, I can see comedians having thousands of followers, and there IS a target for comedy in general. A lot of people who were not professional comedians, but just started filming funny videos of themselves, or playing the same character which they made up have half a million followers now. But again, about teenagers, they will possibly take improv classes in highschool and become your target real soon, and naturally they will use medium like Tiktok to expand that and adapt to online world, and then yes, we will feel old for not even trying.

Why I think Tiktok can be good for improvisers:

  •  As I observe, it a specific medium in context of “being original”. It’s more about “being obvious”, and adapting trends to yourself – for example you use a sound from a different video with one click and you do your version of the character with that sound, or you get creative and use that sound in different context. And in general, if someone makes a fun video, it’s the opposite from, for example stand-up culture, where stealing a joke is a death penalty – here, when people start to replicate your video, and you become a trend, it’s a highest of compliments. It’s a pure Remix culture.
  • It grows on challenges. Tons. To do something, to react to something, to use specific filter, character, sound, editing.
  • It’s super easy to cooperate with other users, and it’s for example very popular to record a video of just you, but playing a half of a duo, like talking to someone and pausing for the answer, acting like you’re playing with somene, or like singing one voice of a duet, and then someone else (or 1000 people) record a duo, so split-screen, playing your partner. Or other version, „reaction” to someone’s video.
  • It’s very simple to operate, just a bit of getting used to. Basically you choose the background sound if you want something more than your voice, you click record and stop as many times as you need, if you want to have some edited material, not one shot, you can add filters or speed up, or slow-mo, and you’re good to go. And after you download it, you have material for your other social media too.

So, to use that in some examples, improvisers could: 

  • Record videos to promote shows, obviously.
  • Record videos as characters for duos and invite other improvisers to record the second character in duo mode – look how many brilliant duos could happen starting with just one short (15-60sec) video. Look for ways to use it, what if you use „reaction”, and you record yourself as a little voice in a head of the first person, who was playing some character?
  • Improvise songs also with the duo mode – first person records a beat, and next one sings to it, and you can make combos, using as a base something already combined (ex. you sing a second voice to someone singing as a duo to the first one, beatboxing).
  • Create a series of videos as one character, even make seasons of videos of one character, (Sacha Baron Cohen style), and then change.
  • Play scenes solo, but with many characters, by just pausing and changing where you sit or wear, and you have a scene with a full cast.
  • Basically use the rules of lead, by recording a video for others to react to, follow by recording a duo, reaction video to someone’s, or follow the follower by using combos, or play the Game by rising the stakes with combos, or by using the same sound, or structure that someone else made, and tag them to keep the game going.
  • Challenge other improvisers, just record you saying what the challenge is and tag them, or for example record yourself as a character (for example some villain), and invite some people to record how would they react as their character in this situation.

Ok people. I think you get my point. Now you can get yourself Tiktok, find me there @rozalska.improv and tell me how would YOU use that tool for your improv fun?

Because, I forgot to say, it is fun.

But could be more fun with more friends. Come on!