String of Pearls

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The String of Pearls is a story structure taught as an improv concept, utilized most often in shortform scenes. It is taught as a road map for scenes.

Description

Improvisers are taught to add the following information to their scenes, in order:

  • "Who"
    • The characters of the scene, including their physical, vocal, and emotional attributes. Their relationship and respective statuses should also be established.
  • "What"
    • The event, interaction, or occurrence that provides the basic "plot" of the scene.
  • "Where"
    • The setting of the scene. Time of day, location, weather, etc.
  • "Conflict"
    • An argument, dispute, or impasse that the characters encounter.
  • "Resolution"
    • A solution to the conflict, ideally rooted in the previously-established context of the scene (i.e. Character A has established that she has been doing pushups every day for the last few weeks, so she can out-muscle the person trying to rob their store.)
  • "Tag"
    • Sometimes referred to as a "button," a tag is the closing line of the scene.

See also