HOW TO FORM AN IMPROV PRACTICE GROUP
UCB Student Allison Heim put together a handy list of advice for how to form a practice group. These are some highlights as well as some advice from others in the UCB community. This was written from an improv perspective but can easily apply to practicing sketch writing as well. List inspired by @erikaaa!
- •Bring paper and pen on the first day of a new improv class and get everyone's names and email addresses.Email everyone to get the ball rolling on a practice group. You can hash out a day and time on the thread or if you want to be super cool and organized you can set up a Doodle for classmates to fill out and figure out what works best for everyone.
- •Book space for your practiceThere are many studios that offer hourly rates for improv. New Yorkers, check out this IRC post on rehearsal spaces: bit.ly/NYCrehearsalspace. Ask new friends you meet in line at shows what their preferred practice space is. Make sure you ask for the room rate when you book so you don't accidentally book some unnecessarily big fancy room for $30/hr and so you can quote teammates an appropriate figure for how much practice will cost.
- •Find a coachMake note of performers you enjoy & see if they coach. boards.ucbcomedy.com has a thread where people offer & ask for coaching. The registrar can give you emails of current UCB teachers who are available to coach if you email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Specify in your email to a coach: time, date, location, what level your group is (101, 201, etc.), and if you have anything specific you'd like to work on. Don't be shy about asking coaches for their rate (but don't try to negotiate).
- •Send another emailAwww yeah! You're doing it! Teammates are interested, practice space is booked, and a coach is secured! Start a new email thread to your class w/practice group details in the subject (ex. "201 Practice Thurs 9/6 7-10"). Give all specifics in the email of day, time, location, coach, and expected cost of the practice group. Ask for people to RSVP. Specify that the practice group will cap out at 8 participants so everyone gets in some quality reps and your coach has a manageable herd to corral.
- •Decide up front how to manage moneyIt can be helpful to have everyone pay for a month in advance - one person isn't stuck fronting the money every week and it encourages people not to flake out on something they've already paid for. Or if you want to pay week-by-week, you can set a cancellation window for confirmed participants beyond which people will owe their share whether or not they show up. Make this relevant to the amount of notice you must give to the rental facility for cancellation, i.e.: 24-hrs, 48-hrs, etc.
- •You have a practice group!Respect each other and try to get to know one another as people outside of improv. Also respect if someone decides it's not for them. And keep learning! There's lots more advice on the UCB Forum at bit.ly/practicegroup