My New Favorite Improv Warm Up Game

Improv warm ups are one of my favorite parts of rehearsal time. It marks the official beginning of rehearsal and gets us tuned in to each other and our energy up. Also, they’re really fun, even the really scary ones.

A couple of years ago at Improvaganza, I took an awesome improv workshop with Douglas Willott from Seattle’s FunbucketOne of the first things he made us do was organically create our own improv warm-up. I don’t remember exactly what we came up with, but I do know it inspired me to start making up my own warm-ups. We make everything else up, why not our warm ups? It was something I had never thought of before.

I love coming up with new improv warm ups for Think Fast!. Often, during our pre-rehearsal chat sessions, I will call out whatever we were talking about or a line that someone just said.  We’ll use that as the title of our new improv warm up. then figure out the rules as we go along. Some warm ups, like Bark, Bark, Ruff, are games we already play but with all the terminology changed to dog sounds. Others, like Age and Height or Where did You Go to College? are totally new and have made their way into regular rotation. There is one of our original improv warm ups that has become my favorite thing.

schwarzenegger photo

“Your mission is to kill or capture a wendigo.”

Photo by The National Guard

30 Seconds of Arnold Schwarzenegger Talking ’bout Cryptids began as 30 Seconds of Arnold Schwarzenegger Talking About Zombies, but despite what all of my life experience has taught me, people eventually get tired of talking about zombies.

Fact: Everyone in the world does an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression

Fact: Less than 5% of them are any good.

How to play 30 Seconds of Arnold Schwarzenegger Talking ’bout Cryptids:

  1. Form a circle
  2. Select an imaginary creature to talk about (e.g. sasquatches, skunk-apes, or abominable snowmen)
  3. Put 30 seconds on the clock
  4. Everyone do an impression of Arnold talking about that cryptid, all at the same time
  5. Stop

I love this warm up. It’s a good vocal warm up. It’s silly and helps fight the beast of self-consciousness. If I had to do a 30 second Arnold monologue about bigfoots while everyone stared at me, it would be terrifying. There is a lot of power in a group of people doing something silly together. Having everyone do it all at once gets us to stop thinking about the stupid accent and just do it and that’s a great mindset to start improvising with.

What’s your favorite improv warm up? Comment below.

Thanks for reading!

-DKJ