Matt Besser visited EndGames for an interactive lecture on the style of improv taught at UCB. I would summarize the challenge that Besser gave us as follows: give the elevator pitch of the scene through your initiation line.
We tried it out based on the stories of audience members, in which we’d have to offer up a premise through our initiation and then have others reverse engineer it based on that line. While I think I’ve summarized Besser’s challenge, I had a lot more difficulty summarizing an idea into that elevator pitch initiation. This is a skill I feel would help me out a lot in sketch writing and is substantively different from the organic approach to scene work that I’m accustomed to, so it was excellent food for thought.
The lecture also included a component during which a few of us went on stage to do an opening based on a version of the pattern game. While I was a bit confused as to what Besser was expecting at first, it was cool to get direct feedback from him, and it gave me a better perspective into his ideal.