Zoom In On Hey Everybody


“Hey, Everybody,” we say as our initiation in some form. Maybe it’s “Team, take a knee,” “Soldiers. Attention!,” or the Zhubin Parang special, “People, people, [important person] is ready for your questions.”

The potential for trouble in a “Hey Everybody, get out here” initiation is high. Players may rush out on stage to support the initiation with disparate reactions that then battle for dominance; chaos ensues and awkwardness follows. Or, though players may rush out on stage to support the initiation, they await to take their cues from the initiator who becomes the facilitator in a stiff and slow series of interactions that typically revolves more around thinking and problem solving than feeling.  Hey Everybody game mechanics allow a group to quickly build a focused direction out of disparate parts.

The Keys to success following a “Hey Everybody” initiation are:

  1. Create Chaos – If EVERYBODY is supposed to be on stage, then nothing’s worth than watching the bold choice to enter followed by the tepid choice to patiently wait one’s turn to make their own choice. Get out there and FEEL! You can agree with someone else, you can build a progression off of someone’s contribution, you can emotionally react to someone’s contribution or you can be totally different than anyone who came before you. What matters is that you choose your perspective quickly and succinctly.
  2. Track and seek to repeat the Sequence – As we’re cultivating chaos, the hope is that the initial contributions of players come in quick succession. If we can repeat that sequence – whatever it was – in restarting, then disparate parts are held together.
  3. Heighten the Silo of the first choice you made – Like with the Invocation of the second pass of a To The Ether, when it’s your turn again you can do the group a solid by filtering your contribution through whatever it was you said the first time.

Knowing we can reinvest in the initial sequence and turn our initial contributions into personal siloes worth heightening, we can – and should – feel confident cultivating chaos with disparate contributions in our response to that “Hey Everybody” initiation.

Teaching Hey Everybody games it’s valuable to get a set number of students on stage and designate one student as the initiator who will tell everybody else who they are and why they’re there. But it’s crucial that A) other players feel free to contribute outside the bounds of the initiating “Hey Everybody” statement, and B) that the initiating player finds their own emotional-perspective Silo, allowing them to step away from having to facilitate everyone else’s contributions.

The initiator needn’t be a facilitator of a cohesive discussion. The sequence and siloes are there to help us focus, not to confine us. Balancing adherence to structure and openness to “the moment” allows for scenes like this one –

We learn, too, that the Hey Everybody mechanics are not only applicable to a scene initiated by a demand of others’ inclusion but that they can also be leveraged in any scene initiated around a type of character (“I love being a troll!”) or a location (“Public transit is the best!”).

What matters is a flood of characters entering stage with speed not conducive to a clean progression like in a One Person or To The Ether game. While joining characters can choose to agree or otherwise react to others’ contributions, the chaos of the initial “Hey, Everybody, get out here,” dictate takes precedent over a thoughtful build. We join first, make choices second, and only worry about making “sense” of it through repetition of the Sequence and heightening of individual Siloes.

We WANT Chaos!!!

And don’t forget the Invocation’s rules of cause and effect…

This example features both a nice heightening of unrelated siloes and a cause-and-effect dynamic.

And if you want to continue this virtual journey through my first Virtual Patterns & Games class, here are the other links:


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