Permission to Play

Last Friday I took part in an impromptu bit of fun which arose out a discussion in the Wellington Twitter community. Thanks to a tweet by @mikeforbes and the efforts of @spanishmanners, we christened our inaugural #formalfriday.

Formal Friday

With casual clothes the norm in so many many of our workplaces these days, the concept of a Casual Friday is increasingly irrelevant. Going to work wearing formal wear, however, has become both novel and fun. Especially when followed by drinks and dinner afterward to see what the others decided to wear.

As ‘adults’, most of us are simply too shy to appear silly in front of our peers. To dress up, to slide down banisters, or to randomly break into song. I for one (I’m sad to say) tend not to step out of line unless perhaps others are doing the same.

In an organized group, I’ll run around in circles, dance in the street, or even wear a suit to work. For some reason, however, I seem to need permission to play. If I feel like I’m not alone in it, if I feel that it’s a condoned activity, then I’m in.

It’s a start, I guess. At least I’m playing at all. I figure the best way forward is to simply ensure there are more group activities awaiting me in the coming weeks, months and years. In time, maybe I’ll find myself playing without even thinking about it.

So what’s next? Firstly I intend to organize some Cryptozoo runs here in Wellington. If you’d like to get involved, just let me know.

Secondly there’s a little something a bunch of us devised today – a multi-day group gaming, reading, watching and playing binge we’re calling #schoolholidays…

Provoked Creativity & Balderdash

Balderdash

Something that truly amazes me is what I am capable of when given a bit of provocation. I’d certainly never imagined that I might one day record my own dance videos, forecast a possible future for my family-to-be, or lead a sports team to global victory.

I will elaborate further on each of those things in the future, but today I would like to touch on a more common experience of Provoked Creativity. Yesterday we had a bunch of friends around to play Balderdash, a game where the aim is to get others to choose your invented definition/synopsis/organization/event as true for a series of words/movies/acronyms/dates.

We were constantly amazed at the clever, funny, brilliant and sometimes even believable options people kept coming up with – such as movie synopsises:

All In A Night’s Work:
Two grave diggers struggle to understand why every hole they dig uncovers a cache of whoopee cushions.

I’ve Got Your Number:
The twelve members of a hung jury become the murder victims of a maths professor in this Irish black comedy.

Yellow Cab Man:
1940’s educational film on tooth decay and drug use featuring Cab Calloway.

Surprise Package:
A young courier gets more than he bargained for when he discovers that a package he is delivering is in fact the body of his dead mother.

unusual word definitions:

Podobromhidrosis:
A condition which causes the sufferer to believe they are a dinosaur fossil.

and individuals of note:

John Spilsbury:
Dog trainer who rose to fame in the 1890s when he taught a terrier to fetch bananas for monkeys in the local zoo.

In fact, we discussed the idea that a 48 Hour Film Festival team would do well to play a few rounds using just the movie titles to kick off their scripting process. (Due to rating classification limitations, however, they would have to chuck out all the ideas beginning with “A 1970s adult feature in which…”.)

Anyway, what I’m trying to get at here is the magic of being in an environment where those around you are coming up with quirky, inventive ideas – where you’re given provocation after provocation to kick start your imagination – and where you are invited to exercise your creative muscles and contribute to something larger. The more time I spend in this kind of space, the more I want to continue doing so – and the more I want to help others do the same.

If you haven’t already, I’d reccomend picking up Balderdash for such an experience in a local group – and if you’d like to try it on a global scale, check out my previous post and activate your Dance Secret

Finally, thanks to all those who played with us yesterday and came up with the brilliant ideas featured above. =)

Have You Activated Your Dance Secret?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Over the past month I’ve had the pleasure of assisting with a most awesome project, and it’s high time I posted about it here.

Top Secret Dance Off is the creation of Jane McGonigal – a personal project with no funding, no sponsors, but all the right reasons:

“So we can dance together on the Internet.

Also, so we can have real life adventures with a soundtrack. So we can throw our bodies around more.
So we can make each other laugh. So we can convince each other to dance more than we thought possible.
At home. In public. Wherever.”

Suffice to say, the concept has taken off in a big way. Since the site’s launch at the very end of December, over 300 videos have been posted by dance enthusiasts from all across the globe.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, check out the Beginner’s Guide.

All you really need to do is watch some of the videos people have uploaded, find yourself a disguise, and start unleashing your inner dancer in front of a camera. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask me about them either her or on the site.

And yes, as well as working as a volunteer Community Moderator, I’ve also uploaded a video or two of my own.

Hope to see your Dance Quest #1 video sometime soon!