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What are we looking for?

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

Three of us from Front Porch Improv (John, Bess and me--Bri!) travelled to Cincinnati to attend the Improv Leadership Summit created by Jon and Colin of Improv Cincinnati. There were 180 improv leaders, theater owners, and artistic directors from all over North America who sat down and talked about what it takes to run a modern improv theater. It was intense and wonderful. We had sessions on marketing, casting. mentorship, safety, show formats, how to run a theater bar, and loads more.


Inspired by the summit I'm making it my personal goal to blog more and share more of my thoughts and information about what goes on at FPI.


I often get asked about our casting process for our shows. Improv is a craft and an art. We take it pretty seriously (we love improv so.fucking.much) and being an actor doesn't necessarily translate into great improv sets (but sometimes it does).


John Brennan and I are the producers of the Friday and Saturday 8pm shows. For these shows the casting is currently invite-only based on work we see during jams, shows, classes, and past artistic collaborations. For casting being skilled at improv is vital to us and we need to be aligned in both tone and style. Just like every great singer is not a fit for every band, not every great improviser is right for our show. We are selective.


We currently have four Mainstage Performers (alphabetically): Steven Meyer, Matt Nickley, Bess Ratsimbaharison, and Megan Turner. We have 10-15 Supporting Players who work with us. Brenden Davis, Jon Antoine and Dan Gilbert are our main booth/tech artists for our 8pm shows. Diane Houseman regularly works with us as an in-house pianist. Assaf Gleizner often guests on piano with us .


For other shows - it varies by the format. Typically, whoever is the producer of the show is responsible for casting it. If it's a *jam* then all are invited. We aim to have our 6pm and 10pm shows filled with great performers at all experience levels. We want lots of people to have the opportunity and joy of performing improv.


Mainstage Shows in 2024

Our plan for 2024 Mainstage shows is slightly different. We are going to hold auditions in January. (The audition dates will be announced in November). The goal is to open up the process, and to give people the chance to work on their audition skills.


If you're curious, here's the job descriptions of our 2023 Mainstage Improvisers and Supporting Players...


MAINSTAGER IMPROVISER | JOB DESCRIPTION

  • Skill of great energy

  • Thrives on the challenge of improving

  • Knows how to be an excellent team member

  • Skill of receiving feedback and applying it directly to their work

  • Skill of giving feedback even when uncomfortable

  • Skill of being early & professional. (48 hours to respond to communication.)

  • Skill of being available for 6 weekend performances a month

  • Skill of being available for 4 rehearsals a month

  • Available and excited to Teach 4+ classes a year

  • Executes advanced improv skills including Listening; Strong scene initiations; Position play; Tropes; Character devices, Comedic scene types; Eye contact; Space work; Pace; Original stage pictures; Status changes; Pattern work; Give and take focus; Basic knowledge of Viewpoints; Editing (vocal, washes, stealing focus); Precise character work, Tag outs/cut to’s; Compliment, contrast & mirror; Group game; and more!

  • Skill of helping the team succeed

  • Knowledge and skill to execute the following improv forms: Living Room, Harold, Gadget, Entrances & Exits, Montage, Eventé, Scary Movie, RomCom, Armando, and La Ronde.

    • Bonus points if you know/love forms like Organic Transformation, The Deconstruction, 5-4-3-2-1, Documentary, One Act Play and Goon River

  • Skill of being a short form game dictionary

    • i.e.: knows the games, understands strategies of the games, and plays them skillfully & with abandon!

  • Skill of creating & fostering positive connections within the team, team leaders, and our audience

  • Strong team care skills; takes care of junior members of the team; excellent at creating harmony and fun vibes within the group

  • Excellent hosting skills

  • Skill of seeing gaps — the needs of the group AND needs of the show — and filling them in

  • Brings a playful spirit

  • Knowing your comedic voice


SUPPORTING PLAYER | JOB DESCRIPTION

  • Skill of great energy

  • Thrives on the challenge of improving

  • Maintains improv fundamentals under pressure

  • Skill of being early & professional

  • Skill of being available for 2+ weekend performances a month and 1-4 rehearsals as needed

  • Available & excited to lead drop-ins 6+ times a year

  • Improv skills include: Listening, Eye contact, Precise character work, Space work, Pace, Original stage pictures, Status changes, Pattern work, Soft focus, Basic knowledge of Viewpoints, Editing, Tag outs/cut to’s and more.

  • Skill of helping the team succeed

  • Basic understanding of improv forms including Montage, Gadget, Living Room, Harold, Entrances & Exits, The Movie, Armando, and a few more

  • Supports the work of the Mainstagers in the group

  • Excellent at creating harmony and fun vibes within the group

  • Brings a Playful spirit

  • Working to develop your comedic voice


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2 Comments


Shannon GaNun
Shannon GaNun
Oct 13, 2023

Thanks for sharing this information--I love the idea of you blogging more!

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savimprov
savimprov
Oct 15, 2023
Replying to

Shannon! Thanks for the comment. 😎

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