TIPS & TRICKS – Start in the MIDDLE

Published by ShawnKinley on

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START -in the middle

START - in the middle

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“…and that’s how I defeated the dragon and fell in love with your mother. Goodnight Jonah.”

Starting a scene with the middle or end of a conversation can be a fun gift for your partner. 

It’s not typical or easy for some people to do and that’s why scenes with two or more people often start like the people have no history together or they open with trite questions you might hear on a bad date. “What’s your favourite colour?, How was work? What are you cooking?”

Here’s are 3 tips that might throw you into a playful mid point in your scene…


Randomly pick a letter from the alphabet in your head and make the sound of it and then say that word. 

eg: I just picked T and said the word “…Tigers” as if I was answering a question that was asked before the audience became aware of the scene.

My partner continues the conversation as if we had been talking for the past 1/2 hour.

“Amazing! So you obviously escaped…But how?

Benefit – You easily begin the development of a character with just a word or two AND establish the beginnings of a relationship with your partner.
Danger – You might get stuck in gossip or banter about something that isn’t immediate. End the conversation about the topic and move on. It already served the purpose of helping with the character. You might return to the topic but for now, move forward.


What a great word.

For those of you brought up on “YES AND..” You can skip the Yes. Assume that it’s already occurred before the scene started. 

eg: “…and one final point, if you hire me I will bring all of my secrets from Hammersmith’s and Sons!”


Benefit – Tends towards growth and positivity to open the scene.
Danger – Can be a big tease for all of the hidden information that came before which means you will have to back-fill some information. (in the example above – are you Lawyers? architects?)


Ever pass someone on the street and hear a snippet of the conversation and want to turn back to find out more?  Yesterday, a man passed me in the mall and raised his voice, angry at the person on the other end of the phone conversation and said… “2 MILLION DOLLARS JUST THROWN AWAY IS NOT ACCEPTABLE”.

In a scene where you enter your shared apartment or are sitting at the bus stop, end a conversation on the phone to start your scene.

Technically, this is a less interactive mid scene start. You are dealing with an off stage character BUT, if you can reveal something about yourself, it will be useful in the upcoming interaction with the other person on stage.


  • “Yes Mom… Yes- I love you too. Yes, I will bring you the marijuana. Yes. OK bye.”
  • “OK Boss, he’ll be dead by morning. Just send me the picture.”
  • “I’ve arrived in 2024. I’ll wait at the location for ‘the moment’.”

And then… sit quietly. We all want to know more. BUT… that other person on stage needs to be affected  Making moral choices on the phone can throw everyone around you into action mode if they play the part of someone affected by what’s been said.

Benefit – A great way to engage the audience and partner.
Danger – often throws focus away from the onstage relationship. Move the scene towards direct interaction.


Easy Tips and simple Tricks can be dangerous for improvisers… They are no replacement for good technique and risk taking.  Use these little tricks ONLY WHEN THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY, MIND-BENDINGLY NECESSARY.


Go on, get out of here if you feel any sense that you are about to grab a couple of fancy little hacks to make an audience laugh at the expense of solid narrative.


You won’t listen t me anyway. BUT DON’T COME CRYING TO ME when your friends are saying “We saw you do that lame little trick in the scene with the robot baby… and the week before you did the same thing.  You really aren’t as fun to watch as the moth that flew into my room the other night.”

OK… agreed?  Agreed!


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