I was excited that one of Bill Arnett’s workshops was on forms. One of my teams has been evolving our own form, and recently we’ve been trying to make it tighter.

Bill broke down a form into effectively two components: sources and sinks. A source generates ideas, and a sink draws inspiration from those ideas.

A source can be an opening, a group game, or even a scene. Bill showed us one form called Detours in which the source was simply the same scene replayed three times. In the Deconstruction, a scene also plays the role of a source.

It’s a bit harder to give an example of a sink. One might think of it as a scene, but that doesn’t always work. In the Harold, the first beat scenes function as both sources and sinks. In the Deconstruction, the final run of scenes is a great example of a sink in its purest form.

As great as the perspective was, we actually took a page from Bill’s Harold workshops in playing with our form today, and I’m excited about the results.

[I mentioned free range Harolds in an earlier version of this post but removed it because it didn’t fit.]

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5 Responses to Forms

  1. Frankie G. says:

    I don’t fully get “Free Range Harold” as a distinct form (though I’m also sure you weren’t intending to make any kind of bold declarations about it). To me it was just a different attitude toward the scenes in a Harold. Is that enough to split it up? Is that also the distinction between a source and a sink, what you do with it/how you think about it?

    • K says:

      I don’t view it as a separate form, either, but I agree the statement reads bolder than I intended. Yeah, I also just took it as a different way to split up scenes, and it probably doesn’t really fit into this post.

      In my mind, the source and sink idea is partly related to how a scene should be played. For instance, I view a sink as a scene with no responsibilities other than to be funny or at least fun to watch. A scene that carries some additional significance to a form probably needs specifics in order to provide fodder for the sinks, e.g. strong characters with a relationship who don’t know how to use pronouns.

  2. Pingback: Form Diagram | Improv from Below

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