On 2008-04-12, Mo wrote:
I was in a comedy improv group for years. We had a really successful run and a faithful audience at our comedy nights, improv soaps and fundraisers. Our experience differs from the one you describe. Our process wasn't formalized at all, it was won in practice. We were a tight, creative group that had acted together before. Many, but not all of us had some training in Theatre. I don't think we ever sat down and even had a conversation about rules nevermind formalized the process we were using. Our system was entirely socially negotiated in the moment and over time.
If we had ever articulated it, our formula would have looked different too. While there obviously would have been some similarities, timing nature and method of escalation and resolution wouldn't have depended on our group but on reading the social cues of the audience.
Every group has their own thing that works for them I suspect.This is all to say that I don't think that an explicitly formalized system is by any means a universal requirement for every group out there, in improv or in RPG's. Some groups do just fine on their own.