Hi, my name is Beth Anne and for my third blog entry I am going to tell you about Rob Wittig’s NetprovTV where the plots are made up and the characters don’t matter.
First, I should define netprov. In turn it is not a very difficult concept to grasp, for it is simply internet based and born improv.
As for every game there is a specific set of rules for NetprovTV. Every week Rob Wittig live tweeted through his Twitter account a new and very imaginary television show. Through using the hashtag system,Wittig’s being #netprovtv players from around the world can comment and converse about the show they are “watching.” Each show is thirty minutes in length and while that specific show ends at that time, those participating can converse after the show has ended. The only other rule is in the game specifically, corresponding with the theater principle of improv: always “yes and,” never “no, but.”
As you can see, the results are quite entertaining. While players are urged to use true-to-life scenarios, the surreal and the imaginative tends to come about rather quickly.
As far as the concept goes, Rob Wittig’s idea of bringing improv to the world wide web through Twitter is pretty ingenious. Electronic Literature at its core leads literature and it’s principles into the digital age, which netprov is a clear and excellent example of. The theater’s principle of improv has been around for centuries, it is even suggested that improvisation was around before the invention of writing, around the time where people spent time acting out their stories and using the spoken word. With the help of the internet, this principle/game/medium can reach thousands and even millions of people with the click of a button or two.
The principle of netprov is not just specific to Twitter though. Rob Wittig has created other games, some of which using the help of his students at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and his companion school’s students in Bergen, Norway.
The most successful of these games is set around the lives of Heidi and Spencer Pratt of MTV’s hit television show The Hills. Going by the name of SpiediShow, this particular game has reached the attention of MTV, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Tumblr, New York Magazine, US Magazine and even the subjects themselves.
Clearly using the internet as a medium for improv is a highly successful way to introduce people to new themes, ideas and each other.