When you enter a scene look at what your partner is doing and ask:
- What's my role in that activity?
- Are we heading for a goal or doing an ongoing task?
- What is going on with us while we do that activity?
We know from CROW that objective is an important part of a scene that needs to be established at the beginning. It can help define who you are, where you are and what's going on. Most of the time objective means "What does your character want?" and the best ones involve the other character "What does your character want from the other character(s)". Your objective playing poker might be that you want to intimidate the other guy into giving you the information but the improvisers can agree on the space object objective of playing cards together while they talk.
The dialogue should be about the characters, relationships, and story - how often do you talk about the dishes when you do the dishes at home, right?
I think there is also a 'space object' objective for the scene that comes in one of two flavors - a mutual goal to be accomplished or an ongoing task that is sustained. Both of these let everyone clearly know how to interact and you can keep that up for the whole scene.
Just like in our real lives, we engage in activities toward completing an action that is defined. It's an easy way to start a scene and everyone can get on the same page with trying to complete the activity by the end of the scene, but not earlier. Sure, sometimes you won't make it, but for the scene you are all on the same page playing your role in accomplishing the goal.
- Washing dishes
- Folding laundry
- Packing a suitcase
- Setting up camp
- Making the bed
We spend our lives talking to people while other things happen, sometimes for hours. These actions can happen for the whole scene and be the backdrop for everything that happens. But it keeps the characters in their world, and adds "life" to them.
- Playing cards
- Putting together a puzzle
- Knitting, sewing
- Peeling endless supplies of potatoes in the army