Saturday, July 3, 2010
Alright, today was the big audition to get into the professional classes at the Groundlings school. There are probably 4-5 improv schools worth joining here in LA and to me the Groundlings seem to be the best fit. They more than the others focus on short-form character driven comedy, which is an easy fit for me based on my experience with Improv Anonymous at UNH. They are incredibly cutthroat and difficult to be successful, but no one said this would be easy.
Anyway the audition only had about 9 people attend and I don't want to come off sounding like a prick, but I would say I was at least in the top 2. Everyone else wasn't terrible but it was clear that I had more experience doing improv than most of the other people there. It's also funny to see how many "professional" actors show up with their headshots and everything else. I don't begrudge them the opportunity to work on a new school to add to their repertoire, but improv is much different than normal acting roles. Too often I get the feeling that people are trying out for Groundlings or Second City to just become famous and then they can move on to "real" roles. Not to sound preachy, but for me, improv is it. This is what I drove out west to do and I want to learn and perform with the best. I would love at one point to make money doing what I love, but at some point you need to put the delusions of grandeur aside and enjoy the scene. I will say that I enjoy that at every major troupe they do have classes that are not audition based, so if you are looking to work on skills you do not need to beat out competition or any of that, you can simply pay and sit down for a few lessons, in fact I think Groundlings is one of the few that has auditions mandatory. It's telling however that the Groundlings brochure specifically states that there is no correlation between success there and being called up to do SNL or anything else, like most things it takes a mix of talent and hard work.
Sorry for the diatribe. Anywho, I think I did about as well as I could in the audition, I just have to wait until Monday or Tuesday to find out if I've been accepted into their professional classes. A good sign was that as I was leaving the audition instructor asked where I'd taken improv classes from. Of course I haven't taken any classes, I'm lucky enough to have years of onstage experience actually doing improv which is a huge plus considering you can work for years in some troupes just to get onstage. Then the instructor and I went to a nearby comic book store and perused some comics, so that was cool too.
Then I drove to Pasadena to perform at an open mic held once a month at the Ice House, a fairly well-known comedy club that has the unfortunate distinction of being located outside the city of Los Angeles. The open mic is actually sort of a try-out to get put on stage with a bunch of other comics in a showcase, you can actually get paid and get about a 10 minute set. My set was not very good, the lights were really bright, I lost track of my jokes, I forgot the sequences, it just wasn't good. Well anyway the guy brings me up afterwards and tells me as much but says that he was impressed by how confident I was on stage, so he wanted me to come back for the showcase on the 15 of August. Woo! Which explains why frat guys get laid all the time; it doesn't matter if you're a terrific jerk, as long as you own that fact and don't apologize for it, people will be impressed.