BONUS TIP – if you’d like to turn on auto-captioning for any of your workshops, jams, or any other event on zoom, here’s how:
- Login on your web browser, and in the left-hand bar of zoom, go to settings:
- Slide on the closed captioning setting:
- Then, when you’re in a meeting, you can click on Live Transcript:
- And Enable Auto-Transcription:
- And automatic captions will be on! Your participants will be able to choose to have them on or off, so you don’t have to worry about them being distracting for those who don’t need them.
- It’s useful to remind participants to speak slowly and clearly, as auto-transcription isn’t infallible!
Making your spaces friendly to audio-only participants isn’t just about inclusion; it also adds so much to your scenes. In the first audio-only drop-in I ran, the participants spontaneously created an entire world through being off-screen; they were able to use different voices, sound effects, and audio-description to create a highly stylised audio-drama, set on a local radio station. A different part of your brain seems to light up when you remove visual cues, and it led to some hilarious scenes. But don’t just take it from me – this is what one of my participants had to say:
“Your workshop was excellent. Thank you so much for creating the perfect atmosphere for those big hitters to stride out. My brain hasn’t come alive like that, EVER in improv.”
enough of tips! here is a game you can try
One of the exercises I love doing the most with off-screen participants is “You sound…”. It’s a riff on the classic game “You look / you seem”: participants go into paired breakout rooms, player one starts the scene with a sentence, which the second player responds to with “You sound…[an emotional endowment]”. E.g.
“Wow, I didn’t expect there to be so much to do”
“You sound disappointed”
They then continue the scene from there, with player one accepting the emotional endowment.
This is a fun way to get your participants voice acting, listening to subtext, and making strong emotional offers. Wordy games like “I’m a Whisk”, Word at a time Stories, gibberish games, or translator are fun, and you can do longform work by using sound edits such as “Meanwhile” or “Cut to”. I’m in no way an expert on this though; I think the most important thing is to just play around and see what you can do!