Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Improv STARS on Adam Carolla Podcast

Two great episodes of the Adam Carolla Podcast which feature some outstanding Improvisers and their stories about their improv training and background can be foundon itunes or Adam's website

Look for the July 24th 2009 episode to listen to Paul Scheer & Rob Huebel from Upright Citizenz Brigade and MTV's sketch comedy show Human Giant.
the July 28th 2009 episode to listen to Cheryl Hines, who plays Larry David's wife on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Her and Adam are both alumni of the Groundlings Improv Trainging and share their stories about their time there.

Disclaimer: ADULT CONTENT.

Too Many Performers on Stage?

Hey do you feel about too many performers on stage?
To me it's distracting. I recently saw an improv group where there were eighteen people on stage. You know, say fifteen people standing in a row along the back, while three people are doing their scene...then one will get tagged out, or all three rotate out to be replaced by another group, while the ones tagged out, go to the background line.
Maybe its the OCD in me, but I cant concentrate on the scene-Im always keeping track of who has gotten a "turn." No matter what is going on in the scenes, Im concentrating on the people in back. "When is HE going to tag in?" or "SHE keeps playing with her hair." "Why is HE swaying back and forth?"

Too many people for me equals too many distractions.

If your improv troupe is too big, why not break it off into two seperate groups or three seperate groups?

My preference for groups are five members or less.

My current favorite group THE LAST MEN on EARTH, are two members.

Also, whenever I see groups with so many members-I automatically think amatuer. true or not, I have to call it like i feel it.

I say, for your workshop class...having all those people on stage is fine...but for the performances and professional shows....keep your head count down.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Best Improv Deal in Las Vegas!

Every Monday night the Onyx theater hosts the S.E.T
it is an improvisational show with usually three different improv groups.
tickets are ONLY seven dollars!
It is 8 pm at the Onyx theatre
953 e. sahara ave. 89169

Friday, July 24, 2009

Paul Scheer & Rob Huebel appear on Adam Carolla Podcast.

Adam Carolla, who attended training at the Groundlings and other improv schools, probably most famous from the Man hosts his own podcast.
On the July 24th 2009 he has as guests, Paul Scheer & Rob Huebel from Upright Citizen Brigade, and MTV's Human Giant sketch comedy show.
ADVISORY NOTE***it is Adult Content.

Adam Carolla's Podcast is the most downloaded podcast in history, with no signs of slowing down.

You can download via iTunes, or directly from his webpage

The three begin the show by talking about improv and pull no punches :0

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Paying for Classes.

You should ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS be excercising your skills by getting as much stage time that you can.
There are FREE opportunities to do improv, and there are PAID opportunities to do improv.
As far as improv classes are concerned, most of the times the old addage that "you get what you pay for" seems to be true. Although I currently am pursuing a free opportunity as well as a paid one. In taking a FREE class you give up certain things that you dont have to give up with a paid class. For instance, in a free class I will have to be subjected to some pretty stanky level performers, and possibly some stanky level intstuctors. I dont have the right to say, " I dont like this or I dont like that...why is this person in the class etc." Its FREE!
If the instructor wants to lecture 90 percent of the class time and only allow you onstage for ten percent....its FREE.
On the opposite end, there are classes/schools that are WAAAAAY over priced!
In theory, I beleive that you should have to pay something. Even a low-budget "token" payment. You will value something more if you are paying for it, even if it is three dollars a class.
you will show up on time and regularly to make sure you get your money's worth (pre-paid).
You will respect your teacher/instructor more.
On the other hand, you could easily be suckered into paying way too much for a class that you could get the same value at one third the price. Easily.
That decision must be yours to make. What are you paying for, and what is it worth to you?
Are you paying for the right to put a prestigeous name on your acting resume?
Are you paying for the opportunity to someday be advanced into a widely respected improv troupe?
Are you paying for time with a "name" instructor who has a legendary reputation in Improv?
Well, maybe all these thing are worth it to you then, to spend the overpriced tuition.
If you just want to learn the craft and be surrounded by people who are very talented and inspiring, and "name-recognition" is not important to you....then I would suggest something IN-BETWEEN the free classes and the over-priced classes.

You want to be surrounded by people who are slightly above your level, so that you can be brought up to their level. However rewarding it may feel dont want to be the "star" of your class, or the most talented or skilled.
You shouldnt be with a class that is way above your level either. This might damage your ego to the point that you think you are worthless or un-talented.
Find a challenging class taught by a capable instructor that is affordable.
And by 2009 prices, I would say anywhere between 60-200 dollars a month.
(once a week classes at two hours).

If you can combine, like I do....going to a paid class and a free class...better for you still.
Consider Community Colleges, Recreation Centers, Meetup Groups etc. as low budget or even free options.

When deciding to bust out the wallet and pay for that high priced your research. How respected are they? Where is the instructor from? What is their curriculum like? Who are their graduates? How many students per class? How much stage time can you anticipate? What are the requirements for going up to the next level or making it to the mainstage performing group?
What are their payment plans and cancellation fees? Can you "Audit" a class or instructor to see if you like it before paying?
Check the internet...better business beauro....craigslist etc.
Word of mouth is probably the best and easiest if you have a lot of friends in the business or are pursuing the business. What do they think? What has their experiences been?

Good luck.

Amatuer Improvisors

Hey guys...when I go to see a show, nothing more prepares me for the suspicion that I might be seeing a sub-par level performer or group, than having members going back and forth on stage or peeking out from behind the curtains. Especially the guy who crosses the stage getting "jiggy" with the piped in pre-show music.

During a recent show, a particular cast member took the stage prior to the show about every five minutes while doing his best "hip-hop" moves. Fully in love and impressed with himself.
Great thing was? Once the show started, and on his very first improv, and attempt at a gag that fell flat....he shut down completely. The confidence "bitch-slapped" right off his formerly smug face...and he didnt join in any other improv game...only stood by impotently and watched his fellow players join in.

Lesson learned? Save all your showmanship and clowning ability for the show, and not dancing back and forth on the stage prior to the show.

Bad Audiences are Usually Affiliated with the Improv Groups/School/Performers

When I see an improv show in a small theater, I often am annoyed by members of the audience. And of the times that I have been annoyed, a full 100 percent of those people would be considered to be associated with the Improv Groups performing or the Improv School which runs the show.
This type of behavior includes, but is not limited to activities such as these: Taking to the stage prior to the show. (You are NOT one of the performers). Arriving late, standing up, going to the restroom etc. during a performance. Talking amoungst yourselves during a performance. and most annoyingly, forced laughing over loudly at everything the performing troupe does, in an attempt to endear you to the troupe or school leader-who will then allow you to "go up another level" or join the troupe.

Yes, its nice to know someone in the performance, or to aspire to join the "mainstage group".
But the rest of us in the audience want to enjoy the performers on stage, not to watch you starving for aknowledgement and working your bits at inappropriate times.

Wait for the show to end. Give a flipping standing ovation if you want, meet the performers/staff members in the green room or outside and then do all your gushing there.
If you really want to be on and play hard, develop your skill, and earn your spot.
Stop trying to perform from the audience.
Creative Commons License
the improv FROG podcast by Chili B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.