Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Importance of Getting Through The Holidays

Hey Everyone,

This is going to be mostly for people on house teams but it also works for people on indie teams as well.

December to January are the two months out of the year that can kill teams. It's true. Here are the reasons.

1) Less Rehearsals
2) Worse Shows (due to less rehearsals)
3) Stressful times outside of improv
4) Unable to Schedule anything.
5) People are on vacation

Think of any of those 5 things happening at any time of year. I've had teams that have imploded due to ONE of those items. The only reason why it kills teams is because team members assume that the reasons any of these items are happening is because "They aren't committed to the team".

When, in actuality, there are really good reasons. Now, if you have a person on a team that consistently doesn't come to rehearsals or leaves early or get's in late and has a schedule that forces everyone to resent them, then eventually you should probably just get rid of that person. However, in these months, EVERYONE is doing these things.

Here's the key to keeping things together.

1) Realize that it will happen.
2) Don't punish people for their schedules.
3) Have as much fun in shows as possible.
4) NEVER EVER assume something about your team due to a bad show during this time.

Bad shows happen all the time. They may happen multiple times in a row.  If you're doing a perfect show, then you are NOT learning. Learn from bad shows, don't beat yourself up.

Trying things that are new, fun and different during this time is great! You can always blame the oddness on attempts to better yourself.

Celebrate the times you have with these people. Use the time that they're away to miss them. The reunion of a team in the new year should be an exciting time.

Best of luck everyone. Love your team and never judge yourself!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Long Form Improv: The Unsung Hero that will Never Be Mainstream

There are two types of improv, Long Form and Short Form. You could say that Musical is another form, but you could do short form musical and long form musical as well.

Short form consists of informing the audience of the game, taking the suggestion and then playing the game on stage. Who's line it is anyway or Puppet Up are firm examples of short form. If you go on a cruise ship, you're likely to see short form improv.

But, why not long form?

Long form improv is probably the unsung hero of improv. If you're an improviser in New York, LA, or Chicago then Long Form may be your thing. You probably live and breathe it. You love TJ and Dave and you have favorite forms and a specific play style. But, outside of those three delightful cities, there's nothing. Very little long form.

I once took a 3 month break from improv and went back to the Bay Area in California. I knew there was improv there so I figured I'd be able to at least feed the dragon. Boy was I wrong! Very little classes. Maybe once or twice a week there would be an improv show. Short form, however, had a presence. Comedy sports and BATs improv were mainstays and nearby.

First off, I'm not saying long form is better than short form. Wait! I am saying long form is better than short form. However, Short form is more profitable, more suitable for an audience, more likely to get improvisers paid for improvising, and have produced equally amazing improvisers. So, though I love the payoff of a third beat, I've laughed the hardest within long form shows, I've fallen in love with entire shows, and I've been hooked to the heroin of class after class of Long Form, I'm still ridiculously scared to do short form and I say with Bias, I like long form better.

The fact is, long form will never be famous. There may be long form improvisers using their skills to improvise in film. There may be sketch teams that are steeped in long form training. There may be comedian and tv writers using the harold as a form of writing. But, the act of a few people jumping on a stage and improvising slowly and building up an inside joke will never be mainstream.

I'm kind of okay with that. It's the perfect underground band. You may like the slower, indie progressive sound of Magnet. The perfected, honed, studio sound of UCB. The metallic, clunking, primal sound of Annoyance. Or the experimental, raucous yet textured sound of the PIT. These institutions will always be longform at heart. They will never leave us for greener pastures, they will live and die in our arms. 

You can think of it as sad. You can get angry at a world that doesn't get it. Or you can be thankful that this still exists, solely on the basis that the STUDENT, the Classtaker, The Performer, The Teacher hold this art form up. One piece of that puzzle is removed, the whole foundation falls. Why do we do it? Because it's fucking fun. I've never had this much fun in my entire life.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Improv Makes Better People : Part 01 Stereotypes

Improv for the non-improviser or "normal" person is a daunting task. To a lot of people, Improv is scarier than stand up. At least in standup, you get to write it beforehand. However, once you get into improv, you figure out, it's not that bad. It has all the aspects of live theatre, the same adrenaline rush from a good standup show, and a supportive team to back you.

I have a theory. Improv makes you a better person. I'll try and blog about it over the next month or two. We'll see. I get distracted very easily.

Part 01: Stereotypes

At some point an improviser will improvise with every age, race, sex, religion, ability, whatever. Every stereotype you have gets challenged for a few reasons.

1) You're in a pressure situation in which possible EMBARRASSMENT is multiplied.

When you're onstage and in a class, you are performing in front of others. The pressure is on. Even people with tendencies to go into otherwise shady territory, they have to know that for the first time everyone's opinion counts. However, it's a supportive environment and a forgiving environment, so you can run the tightrope of taboo. This type of situation breeds more thoughtfulness to what you do and hopefully you come to a realization that you can do anything with anyone no matter who or what they are as long as its from a place of thoughtfulness, fun, or curiosity.

2) People have to ability to play anything or anyone.

You may find yourself playing reprehensible characters or people you have pre-conceived notions about. A good improviser finds the humanity in every questionable character or questionable character choice. A good support improviser may give reasons for conduct and choices that can explain and help the situation. You may find humor or joy in things and people you never thought possible. You also have to be open to everything your brain allows. Close mindedness hinders you.

3) The more you improvise, the more you play with everyone.

The joy of improv overtakes any and all misconception. This is a personal opinion of mine, but I've never found more joy than the joy of having a great funny show with people I love. Everything else in the world pales in comparison. And the people I love grows every day, they get younger, older, and vary infinitely.

4) Seasoned improvisers are more forgiving of younger improvisers.

This is a big one. I've been improvising for a few years now and whenever I see a new improviser try out insanely questionable stuff, I know it's an attempt to fit in. Whenever someone blurts out something racist (which I have done quite a few times), it's out of fear or confusion. Whenever I see people make those moves, I think, they're just a little scared or going a little too far. But, they did it. And it's scary up there. I'm sure they didn't mean it, it just happened.

Personally, I've been labeled "Jose" or "Ricardo" or told to go clean something. The reaction of everyone's face and audible sigh makes it fine. I have no ill will towards anyone who brain farts their way into a corner. Hopefully, they dig themselves out or give a reason why. Or even dig themselves in further til absurdity. There's no room for hatred on the improv stage or resentment, there is room for understanding and there is room for standing up for oneself. Usually that gets a huge laugh.

Either way, improv improves people. Whether it's putting a mirror up to who they are, or realizing how to accept or forgive
, or just plain DESTROYING any pre-concieved notions you have about age,race, creed, religion, or ability.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Justin D. Torres on the Magnet Podcast

Hey Everyone,

I was just interviewed by Louis Kornfeld on the Magnet Podcast. This is kind of huge for me, because Magnet has become a real improv home for me. Louis Kornfeld was the long time artistic director of the Theater and I've loved all of his classes.

A quick story about Louis. I apologize if I've told this on another blog.

For some reason, we had a class scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving, only 5 out of the 15 people were there and our instructor couldn't make it either. We ended up having Louis as a sub.  Before he started class, he said (I'm paraphrasing), "I want to thank all of you for coming tonight. This is why I do this. I could care less about holidays, this is where the real happiness is for me. I couldn't think of a place I'd rather be than here with you all. "

That's what I remember about Louis. Sitting in a class, the day before a holiday and thinking that this is what I love. There may be no money in improv, we're all paying to do it. But, there is something beautiful about it. I'd rather do improv than 99 percent of other things.

This interview meant a lot to me. Feel free to listen to it. click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Magnet Vs PIT Vs UCB (updated 2 years Later)

Hey Everyone,

This is the one post on my blog that gets the most replies so I figured I'd do an update on it.
Here is where I'm at with all three institutions

1) Magnet Theatre: Currently on a Magnet House Team (Heartbeat), a Magnet Musical House Team (Goats). So, I've finished both Musical and Regular improv programs.  I've been on a regular house team going on 2 years and a Musical house team on and off for 3 years, roughly. I also started performing with Premiere, the friday night musical slot.

2) PIT: I was on a musical PIT team for around a year, a long time ago. They since closed off auditions for musical teams. I think every musical team is going on 2 years with no auditions. I was also on a regular PIT team for one season earlier this year.

3) UCB: I have finished the UCB improv program, through ASH. I've auditioned for the teams twice.

This is coming from a performer at Magnet, so I am biased towards them.


NOTE: You have to finish all improv classes at UCB to audition for a house team.  The prereq's for UCB sketch and acting  are less stringent, check out their site for info.

Difficulty: Tough!! Though they are letting more and more people through to advanced, they are still teaching game and it's tough.  UCB teaches improv as if there is a right way and a wrong way. For more heady people or standups or writers, this is a good way to go. If you want to organically grow improv skills and play more and more, then this might not be a good fit, at least not yet.

Size: I have always been in a class that was sold out. Sometimes this works for people who just want to watch. If that's you, this is where to go. I like to play ALOT and if I'm sitting down for 1 hour of a 3 hour class on improv, I get depressed.

Type of People: For the most part, I've found that actors, writers, and comedians takes UCB. It's a pre-req for agents. There are lots of comedy writers that come out of UCB. If you're looking to make a career out of sketch, writing or comedy, then UCB is the way to go, but Improv should only be a part of your UCB curriculum, you want to take lots of sketch, lots of improv, and everything you can get your hands on. Even then, there is no guarantee of anything and you'll find more stories of people who have networked, interned, took tens of classes and never got anywhere.  You'll also find yourself in classes with very gung-ho people which could be annoying. Sometimes in classes, students seem to be vying for attention, whether it be through as many scenes as possible, provoking a conversation with the teacher mid class, or even outright flirtation whether it be on the teachers end or the students end. Networking is networking, the most successful people know how to do it.  I'm not that person, I just want to get better at improv.

Teachers: HIT or MISS. This is a constant thing about UCB, you either got good ones or bad ones. Of the few teachers I have taken, I had a 50% success rate, maybe a little less. Chelsea clarke is amazing and I'd love to work with gavin speiller, I had him for a sub for one day, he was great. The rest were okay, bordering on bad. Won't name names but sufficed to say, I was not enjoying improv. Sometimes the teacher teaches a class better than other classes. You might hear, "Oh they're better if they teach _____, they don't like teaching that class."

Recommendation: Don't expect UCB to give you anything. You have to work with as many people, network, love every moment. There are people on house teams who are amazing, there are people who have been there forever, there are people who are just beautiful, there are personalities that scream star. There is no way to tell if you're that person, but the best of the best usually make it. The only thing is, the UCB best of the best is out of THOUSANDS. Easier than the lotto.

Personally: I would still recommend people take UCB last. Specifically, improvisers who solely want to improvise. Writers, go for the gold, hit it up first.  If you are even REMOTELY sensitive to early criticism, or if you get inspired enough to recognize people making incorrect moves, it can seriously stunt your play. I am of the belief you can make a scene with anyone about anything, inside or out. I can see in UCB players eyes when they think you're wrong and it's sad and disheartening. Improv is supposed to be fun and bring people together, right?

Quick Example: During a class which was a Del Close Workshop, I tagged into a scene and mislabeled the gender of the person I spoke with. My partner literally froze, desperately searched her mind for an answer and went completely silent. The teacher said, "Okay, so you've been labeled a woman now, take a deep breath and just let it happen."  I got news for you all, this made me feel like an idiot. But, I got bigger news, this is a PROBLEM EVERYONE GETS INTO. Especially in a talky scene. If you have two chairs set up and nobody talked about gender and god forbid someone is the switched gender, people could be confused. If you have to tell advanced performers not to give up on a scene based on a mistake, then you are creating performers who give up or blow up at a mistake. This, I don't like. UCB for me is that hot girl in school. She'll get you all the popular stuff you kind of want, but you know you'll have to do a heck of a lot of negotiation to get it.

REWARDS: Comedy writer/actor/star
RISKS: Lots of Money, Lots of Time, Lots of Teams


NOTE:  Currently, PIT does cast people who have not gone through the PIT program, however, the performers I've met have been through other programs. This includes Musical and Regular. PIT house teams audition 2 times a year. PIT musical has not auditioned for 2 years so far. Check their site for details. 

Difficulty: Easy and Fun. They have a real follow the fun atmosphere. Follow the fear. There are 5 classes you have to take to be eligible for a team. There is an interesting philosophy conflict happening at pit. The classes tend to go FREE Form at the end where you can do whatever you want, making it a bit chaotic, but there are higher ups that are looking for a more realistic, non-game, but almost two-prov type slow prov. It's weird because you don't really know what people are looking for.

Size: Sometimes full, sometimes not. It's never been that much of a problem in my opinion.

Teachers: Pretty good. If we are talking Musical Improv, they used to have amazing teachers in Ashley ward and Desiree Nash. They were to die for. As for Regular Improv, it just depends. I can't make a judgement because the teachers I worked with aren't there any more. I have heard great things about the teachers that are there.

Recommendation: To the PERFORMERS, we're talking musicals, actors and writers. PIT is the place for people with IDEAS and a love of stage time! The recent unauthorized musicals have been an amazing mainstay at the pit. Constant comedic writing. I know performers who have done multiple musicals at the pit, they LOVE IT. PIT is for people who have ideas and want to do them. PIT is for people who want to work with people who put stuff up. Do you get paid? Not so much, will you perform? If you're good, you will. If you're good at networking, you can do so many shows at the pit. But, if you're looking just for improv, not musicals or one man shows or experimental improv genres, then PIT isn't quite what you'd want.

Personally: Pit rounded out my improv. It helped me work with more aggressive improvisers, more funny witty improvisers, and a different type of improviser. I would recommend it if you are going to go the gauntlet. Unfortunately, the fact that a PIT audition doesn't require PIT classes almost puts a damper on the classes themselves. If they are just looking for great improvisers, there are better classes you can take. If you had the choice between all classes in all NYC, you could make a mish mash of amazing teachers and learn improv that way. I enjoyed the few classes I took there. I also enjoyed the small stint as a performer, but there were some aspects once I was on a house team that I didn't like but that was probably because I had already been on house teams elsewhere to compare.


NOTE: Magnet requires a 6 class curriculum to graduate and you can only audition for house teams at that point. Magnet musical requires a 3 class curriculum to graduate and you can only audition after finishing.

Difficulty: Extremely easy. The earlier classes kind of get you into just having fun with improv, then they slightly hone it in to push in form. The later classes which are amazing, will try and hone the performer you are and you'll be with very experienced improvisers. The latter classes can be hard to get into but if you're taking a level 5 class, you're with people who solely want to perform on Megawatt. There's really no reason to do it otherwise. You're working with advanced players who just want to improvise.

Size: Not always full. Classes sizes stay medium size. I've never had a real talky professor, so even if it was a large class, everyone got up and did a lot of scenes.

Teachers: Amazing. I can personally recommend just about every professor. Favorites are Louis Kornfeld, Peter McNerney, Nick Kanellis, Hannah Chase, Rick Andrews, and Michael Lutton.

Recommendation: To the IMPROVISERS, if you just want to improvise or if you want to do musical improv go here.  I think for MUSICAL IMPROV, it's only the Magnet at this point. They have cornered the market for teachers, classes, and shows. They even have an musical improv festival every year. If you want to get on a team and perform, just statistically your chances are much better here than UCB. With PIT, it may be similar when it comes to regular improv. As for diversity, there is more diversity on teams at Magnet. This may sound weird, but I think there are lots of people who are given the chance at Magnet to be on teams that wouldn't have been on teams elsewhere. Slower, weirder players or just interesting people end up being on house teams at the magnet. There is also a real sense of community here, the reason for that on house teams is probably because of a rotating schedule where you'll see different teams at different hours.

The BIG SIB program is just amazing. If you finished regular or musical level 3, then you can big sib the earlier classes for free. You apply for it and if you get chosen you get a free class. Great right? So, you just got to do more improv for nothing. Love it.

Personally: HUGE FAN of Magnet. I have auditioned and not got in. I've got into teams then the team got cut. I've gotten on teams that got renewed then cut. I've been on teams that just keep getting renewed. I'm also on what would be considered a weekend team for musical improv. So, I've had to fight a bit for what I've got, but i've worked for it. There is a real love for improv itself there. There are a lot of opportunities to perform with improv and sketch. In my opinion, it's small enough to feel like a family and large enough to have some healthy competition.


If you're gung ho and got the money, do them ALL at once. You don't want to restart programs. That includes annoyance. You'll finish with a group of people from all institutions and you'll probably get on one of those teams.

If you're dipping your feet in, Magnet. You'll feel like you can do anything. Plus, there are people who come to magnet to get better at talking to people and come out of their shell. They love it, so it's a great starter.

If you've got stars in your eyes, UCB. I don't hear as many success stories or see as many writers come from elsewhere. But, it's gonna take time and money, and you need to be doing sketch as well.

If you've got an entrepreneurial creative spirit, PIT, if you've got stuff you want to do, then pitch it to pit. Does that mean you have to take classes, probably not, but PIT is great for getting people's ideas UP!

If you're an improviser who's drank the koolaid and wants to do it more and more, then Magnet is the way to go. Do PIT as a side bar and Annoyance as well. Have three auditions a year. Magnet has made me a happy person but I just want to do improv.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Surprise Yourself!

Hey all,

I've been offline for a bit, I've been performing with Goats! and Ladyhawk at the Magnet and Jean Pool just finished their run at the PIT.

If you have been doing improv for awhile and you maybe are doing the same characters over and over again, try this. Surprise yourself!!

A lot of those classes where a teacher gives you tools to use in scenes, they are all just forms to surprise yourself. If they say, focus on a body part, push a chair in a different direction, or just do something physical, chances are they are just trying to get you out of your head and surprise yourself.

If you're in your head, you know what your doing, kind of. You're clarifying, you're cataloging, your'e deducing, when chances are the ONE THING that got you in your head was the one thing you should have tried NOT to figure out.

That sounds really weird but think about it. You only go into your brain when you don't know something. Embrace it.

Here are some AWESOME tools that you can use right now that go one step BEYOND the tools you know. The option A will be the first thing you can do, the option B will be the thing that will SURPRISE YOU!

How do you surprise yourself in scenes?

A) Get Close to Your Scene partner
B) Get UNCOMFORTABLY UNEXPLAINABLY CLOSE TO YOUR SCENE PARTNER. Don't call it out until it becomes an issue.

A) Set the Chairs up in a weird spot.
B) Set the Chairs up in an UNEXPLAINABLY WEIRD SET UP. That means not just two, or maybe one, and DON'T MAKE IT AN ISSUE until it becomes one.

A) Do something you never see in scenes
B) Do something you never see in scenes TO YOUR SCENE PARTNER. I often find the never SEEN things done to the audience. That's great but it's still kind of security blankety, because it's just you, do it to your partner, right in their eyes. Sing, DANCE, make noises. Let their surprise or matching fuel it.

A) Be Silent
B) Be KNOWINGLY silent. Be still Be INTENSE.

A) Repeat what you Start with.
B) Repeat what you start with UNTIL the repetition has MEANING and use it. 3 Versions of "I had a good day" become funny when you have to say something like, "Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself I had a good day"

Surprise is what makes improv IMPROV. And here's the great part. You only need to do it for the initial part, maybe 10-20 seconds, then use that improv brain to chug it along.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Joe Bill Workshop: Efficient but a little Confusing (I'll explain)

For those who don't know, Joe Bill was one of the original Annoyance guys along with Napier. He's trained everywhere with everyone, he even talked about Del close. So, in the guru section, Joe bill is one. I even heard a person in the class say that he works miracles. No pressure, right?

Anyway, my initial interest in Joe Bill as a coach has been longstanding. I only have seen him perform once. It was at a Chica Go Go at the Pit. It was just an impromptu buy. There were TOP NOTCH improvisers from everywhere there but Joe stood out as one of the best. I still remember a particular scene where someone came out with like a sword and Joe just kept saying, "Hey kid, where you going with that stick" he just kept slightly adding onto that sentence for what must have been 2 minutes. I was laughing in hysterics. That's the type of odd amazing fun I'd love to do.

There were two main points in this class that I thought were mind blowing. Emotional listening and The concept of Getting out of your head.

Emotional listening. He had us think of an emotion, embody it and look in our partners eyes, TAKE IN THAT emotion and allow it to morph with the foundation of that initial emotion.

This was kind of amazing for me, personally, because coming in with an emotion seems a little forced. A sad guy gets a happy birthday, he's probably sad about the presents. But, imagine if you're a sad character, someone reacts with a happy "Happy Birthday", you're sadness CHANGES and it could be any direction. You could get happier and say, "You know, my girlfriend just broke up with me, but thank you so much, I really need this.", you could get sadder, "I feel so selfish, you took a day off for my birthday, who's taking care of the orphans.". You could get angry, "You think just because you bought me a cake it's gonna make it better. I really needed that job."

I tested this with my team Ladyhawk in rehearsal. I was initiated to with "That dog is way too big for our apartment.", and I came in with anger and like smarty-ness, but that line affected me and made me feel a little hurt and more angry.

"You think I can't take care of a dog. I'm just gonna let it shit everywhere",
"It's just too big for this apartment and I can't walk anywhere",
"We need to get a bigger apartment. We can't have a family in this apartment."
"Is this some way of getting me to get us to start a family?"
"Maybe? We keep talking about hearing the taps of little feet and dreaming about kids in a big yard playing with a great dane. And you insist on using a condom. "
"We can't afford it"

Scene. It was so simple to do, in retrospect. If I was just pissy, I might be standoffish and just shrug off the line but I allowed that first hit to affect as hard as possible. The why just came out in my brain after it was told that it was a small apartment.  Kind of crazy awesome right.

The Concept of Getting Out Of Your Head

This is a title I gave the exercise because it kind of came out of the woodworks. The exercise was two people would take a suggestion and just go off on it, talk talk talk. But, they wouldn't talk to each other they would just monologue, they would walk a few steps, pick up an object while talking and then turn to each other and continue monologing, no stopping.

Everyone was doing their thing, then when they would turn to each other, most of the time it wouldn't make sense but occasionally there would be a tie in and it would be awesome. The monologues would kind of connect in bits and pieces, later in the exercises people were connecting more and more and talking faster and faster.

At the end, Joe kind of explained it, but here's my take. When you are just monologing with no end in sight, just speaking, you aren't thinking. You can't be thinking. There is no wondering if this works or not. When you turn to the person, you aren't thinking and oddly enough the occasional tie in requires a very miniscule amount of thought.

The scenes were very good. I think the point is that you don't need to think at all to make a good scene. Try to just go from the inside. React how you would. Psycho analyze what's happening. Invent less. Speak, you can spew gibberish and it will be interesting as long as it doesn't give your brain a chance to judge it.

In short, get out of your head. You'll be fine. Try and get that line out quick over the other person and see how good it is.

Imagine thoughtless responses.

Dave can I see you in my office?
Fuck no, you're gonna try and fire me.

Awww you ran over my dog.
Is this gonna take long? I gotta get to work .

You owe me rent.
Checks on the table. Bitch!

Imagine Thoughtful (meaning nice) responses.
Dave can I see you in my office?
You sure as shit can, I finished work early and was looking for chat!

Awww you ran over my dog.
I am so sorry, I love dogs, this was not on purpose. Lemme get the shovel.

You owe me rent.
I do. Thank you for reminding me. Were you thinking about this all week? This is late.

Take the mans class.

Ground and Pound : Strategies for Better Scenework

Hey All,

I've recently been taking a Master class with Ed Herbstman at the Magnet Theater. From his teachings, I was able to glean a strategy that may work for you, because I've tested it to work for myself.

The first step is to be on GROUND CONTROL.  Pull down the initiation of your partner into the ground. Or start very grounded with some unimportant line. It is important though that if you are initiating, that the line have some kind of everyday premise. The key is that they all hint at something small.

Here's are examples:

"Your references check out, you're hired"
PARTNER HINT: You  got a job

"It's good to have you back in the office, Tom"
PARTNER HINT: I'm Tom and I was out of the office for some reason"

"I've been feeling a pain in my lower back"
PARTNER HINT: I'm someone who should care about the health of this person.

"We're out of eggs, I'll put some pancakes on"
PARTNER HINT: Probably mother or father, someone who usually cooks for you.

"I'll just take the bus to work today."
PARTNER HINT: Something is wrong with my car. Probably a person who has a vested interest in my working. Family possibly.

"I miss you, buddy"
PARTNER HINT: We're friends or were friends. I've been gone for some reason"

"Dad, thanks for coming to my recital"
PARTNER HINT: Father Son. Recital.

Just realistic examples of stuff. They give some info but aren't completely nothing. They have some kind of feel to them. Hints of stuff. Also notice that there is a lot of discovery possibilities for the reaction, a lot of holes that could be discovered by the partner organically.

What about GROUND CONTROL in response to initiation. First off, you HAVE TO YES AND HARD!! That is what Ed Herbstman always says. Yes AND IT.

***************Here is a masterful note that ed taught us******************************
YES AND doesn't have to mean everything they say is right. It just acknowledges it. YES AND could make someone wrong. Try it like this. You can either A) YES straight up or B)Examine what the line says about THAT PERSON and acknowledge it straight away.

Examples of weird initiations:

"Johnny is dead!"
A) Yes. He fought hard.
B)  *** what does this say about that person. 1) They knew Johnny, 2)They can assess death 3)They are surprised maybe (depending on delivery)"
Possible B Routes
B1) You knew Johnny? What was he like?
B2) Thanks doctor. I'll inform the patients family, great job, keep up the good work.
B3)  It was just one jump too many.

"I like Maroon 5"
A) Yes. We can contact their manager for your bar-mitzvah.
B) *** what does this say about that person 1) They assume you want to know about their likes 2)They know about pop music 3) They are responding.
B1) I like them too. Would you say you're more Madonna or Gaga?
B2) Ahh yes. Pop culture in this future time goes by color and number. Efficient.
B3) Here are all the color swatches for Maroon 5. It would work well for a summer wedding.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Audition Process (RELAX!)

Hey Everyone,

PIT auditions are coming up, and after that Magnet, and after that UCB. And we're all chomping at the bit and wondering how to be funny.

I'm no genius at auditioning, I've only done it a handful of times. I'm also no genius at getting on teams, I've only gotten through a handful of times.

Here's the one advice I have for everyone:


There are five theatre that have house teams. We're talking FIVE. One of which, doesn't even require graduation from a school! When you filter in musical improv, add in 2 extra programs.

1) Putting your eggs in one basket, if you have a house team as a goal, is probably a bad idea. Get into those other schools. Have FUN! I love classes.

2) Don't worry about the outcome. If you get in, great. If you don't, just wait all of six months. Seriously, it's less than a hockey season. You could do that in jail time.

3) Allow yourself 24 hours of grieving. If this is your first audition and you've been going to all the shows and jams, chatting up AD's and getting all networked up, then you've probably built it up a lot and if you don't get it, it's gonna hurt. That's NOT a bad thing, it just means you really care about it. If you need a month or two to get over it, take that time. Get out of the scene. Some people don't get in and you NEVER see them again. It's the people that come back who succeed eventually.

4) Don't think about it. Don't come in ready to be funny. Come in with simplicity. If this happens, so what, I'll deal with it. If we're dinosaurs and we get put in a church, make it happen. HAVE FUN!!

5) HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN, HAVE FUN!!!!  Literally think in your mind, I love you to every person on that stage. Be the ballsy guy to come up to each person give them a hug. Say, "I'm gonna hug you, is that okay?". If they're like NO, then try someone of the same sex. Come to think of it, do it with the same sex first, so they feel obligated to hug.

6) Let go of perfection.  This is serious. If you could redo and audition, how many times would it take to make you feel it was perfect by your standards. Chances are, lots. So, percentage wise, you're setting yourself up for failure every time. You're mantra should be this. "I'll do my best and my best is good enough"

Get out there auditioners. Once you get on a team, that's when the shit starts flying. SCHEDULES, MONEY, DRAMA, BAD SHOWS, PRESSURE,  I've got a whole new set of advice that you need to know about after. The audition is the easy part.