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Objective:  To practice creating strong, engaging scene initiations using a bowling pin scoring system as a metaphor for evaluating the quality of initiations.

Step 1:  Review the bowling pin diagram.  Each pin has been associated with one or more of the Initiating Guidelines.  When you initiate, if your initiation meets the expectations of that guideline, the associated pin will be considered knocked down.  Each associated expectation of each pin is enumerated below for clarity:

  1. Say who you are.

  2. Say where you are.

  3. Say what you are doing.

  4. Be clear, not coy.

  5. Make statements; don't ask questions.

  6. Like & know each other.

  7. No problems, accusations or complicated scenarios.

  8. No teacher, transaction or first day scenes.

  9. Yes And...

  10. Be cool about the suggestion

Step 2: Use a random word generator or any other source of inspiration to generate ten random words or phrases.


Step 3: Write down ten scene initiations, one for each random word or phrase. Be as creative as possible while aiming to incorporate as many of the assigned bowling pin qualities in each initiation.


Step 4: Once you've written all ten initiations, review them and compare them to the bowling pin image. For each initiation, count the number of pins (qualities) you've hit. Assign a score for each initiation based on the number of pins hit. Some possible outcomes:

  • Gutter ball: No pins hit; the initiation lacks clear elements.

  • Spare: Some pins hit, but there's room for improvement.

  • Strike: All pins hit; a strong and engaging initiation.


Step 5: Identify any initiations that weren't strikes and add a second line of dialogue from your character's point of view to strengthen the initiation. Focus on incorporating the missing qualities to turn them into strikes.


Step 6: Reflect on your progress and identify patterns in your initiations. Are there specific qualities you consistently hit or miss? Use this information to improve your future initiations and become a stronger improviser.


This game is a fun and engaging way to practice and evaluate your scene initiations, helping you develop well-rounded and captivating scenes. Enjoy playing and improving your improv skills!

Bowling For
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