Two more improv activities (the Hero's Journey)


Along with 50 storyboards, our latest book, The Storyboard Challenge, includes 40 cuttable cards with story title prompts that you can use for some fun improv activities.

What is improv? It’s an activity in which you or a group create some kind of performance without a script or planning. It’s done completely on the fly and is an incredibly effective – and fun – way to develop your ability to think on your feet.

Below you’ll find two variations of the suggested improv activities that appear in our book. These are more advanced than the ones suggested in the book.

The activities below are both related to the Hero’s Journey and require participants to apply the Hero’s Journey throughout their improv. You can find background on our Creating Stories: The Hero's Journey page.

 What you’ll need:

  • You need to refer to the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey (link just above). You can do this by either looking at our page on a device, printing it out, or create a cheat sheet.
  • The Storyboard Challenge, which includes 40 cuttable cards with story titles for this activity. (Or you can simply make up titles/cards on your own.


If you’re stuck on how to start a story, a trick is to first think of your character, then begin with the words “One day...” For example: One day, Giggles the Ghost was floating around like everything was normal...


Here’s what to do:

1. The Hero’s Journey - One-minute stories (advanced)

> Cut out the cards and place them in a stack, bowl, container.

> Draw a card. Take a moment to fill out the title in your mind (if it’s a fill in the blank), and to think about a character to start the story.

> Set your timer for 60 or 90 seconds (whichever you prefer), then start it.

> Try to cram all 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey into your one-minute story.

> Do this activity for fun, or come up with your own contest/challenge.


2. The Hero’s Journey - And then what happened? (advanced)

> Cut out the cards and place them in a stack, bowl, container, etc.

> Whoever draws the card completes the title if it’s a fill in the blank. Then that person will kick the story off with the first thing that happens in the story, starting with the first stage of the Hero’s Journey (The Ordinary World).

> The next person adds to the story, using the next stage of the Hero’s Journey, and so on. Keep going until you arrive at the 12th stage and conclude the plot.

> Remember: each turn the participant is moving the plot forward. To do this, imagine you’re answering the question “and then what happened?”

Good luck and have fun with it!