Friday (5/13/11) 3:26pm - ... wherein Peter gets ready to narrate Pick Your Own Path.
Tonight I'm narrating the Pick Your Own Path show at the Hideout. I've actually done this once before, but I figured I'd write down some of the host info, both to refresh my own memory, and to have a handy online document for other people who host the show.
The typical audience prompt we're starting with is an adjective-noun pair ("The Pleasant Dolphin"), which we then turn into a title ("The Island of the Pleasant Dolphins") and we're off.
The lead is typically a plucky middle-school-aged kid. In the books, the protagonist is not named (often, the gender isn't even identified), but we have had a lot of trouble pulling this off.
Most important thing: how to get audience choices. Here's the classic setup: "And so, you are presented with a choice: you can either heed the old man's advice and hide, or attack the lizard with your slingshot. To heed the old man's advice and hide from the gila monster, clap now and turn to page fifty. <pause for claps> To take your trusty slingshot and confront the giant lizard, clap now and turn to page fifty-one. <pause for claps> Now is not the time for hesitation, so without a moment's pause you run out into the street and draw your weapon." Some salient points here:
Most of the time, you'll want to 'prime the pump' by listing the options before giving the audience a chance to vote. This way, the audience will know what all the options are, and can therefore make an informed choice.
The order is important: "To <x>, clap now and turn to page <y>."
If you are presenting more than two choices (rare case), put that info at the top: "... you are presented with three choices."
And let the audience know which option they chose.
Note that the cast can 'pimp' one of these choices: "Well, guess I have a choice, then!"
At some point, try to get a TPK -- "Taunting the moon robot was not a good idea, it turns out, as it blasts all of you to death with its laser eyes."
Then, simply back up to the previous audience-choice, and pick the alternate route: "Valuing safety over bravery, you tiptoe past the moon robot and approach the ventilation shaft."
It's completely okay for the story to go all over the place. It's also in keeping with the source material. It's also more-or-less inevitable. It's also fun.
PYOP runs about forty minutes. Usually the ending has you back in your original circumstances, having vanquished the big bad/collected the magic whatsit/saved the princess/etc.
Something that makes presenting the choices easier, that I do about 2/3rds of the time is to go over the options twice... Prime the pump as it were:
And so, you are presented with a choice. You can either heed the old man's advice and hide, or attack the lizard with your slingshot.
"To heed the old man's advice and hide from the gila monster, clap now and turn to page fifty. To take your trusty slingshot and confront the giant lizard, clap now and turn to page fifty-one. Now is not the time for hesitation, so without a moment's pause you run out into the street and draw your weapon."
Otherwise, the audience isn't quite sure what the options are before they have to start voting.