I miss playing with this guy, David Cairns.
I’ve been on both sides of the opportunity fence: on the outside looking in, wanting to participate, and in the inside looking out, seeing who I can help.
Here’s the secret: the outside looking in has power too. Whether you’re hungry for stage time or wanting to work with someone in particular, you can exercise your will to make stuff happen.
Outside Looking In—Fall 2011, I’m a junior transfer at UC Berkeley desperate to do more improv. After doing some research, I discover EndGames Improv, a San Francisco based improv school.
I pitch the following to EndGames: work in exchange for classes. They say “Yes,” and I spend the next 8 months working at F**king Free Fridays, their Friday show with flagship team the Recchia, and taking Saturday classes at their Mission District training center.
Those eight months were a blast. I learned how to run the front-of-house operations for a late night improv show while simultaneously learning a long form improv style firmly grounded in UCB rules and principles. On top of that, I made friends in the community, saw tons of great improv, and I was able to slowly work my way up the ladder.
Eventually, I joined a young, hot shot Harold team called 8oz Baby based solely on the advocacy of one member really wanting me to join. Once on the team, I got coaching from improv geniuses—Dan Gibberman, where art thou?—and we performed at Indy shows in the Mission, shows that felt like sold out concerts at the Staples Center for me.
I leave 8oz Baby thinking my SF improv career is over, but then, like manna from Heaven, two opportunities fall in my lap: (1) shadowing a Chris Blair Level One Class at EG and being able to learn his teaching style; (2) membership in Ka-Blahm-O! with Dwayne McDaniel, SF Improv producer player and just overall good guy. He has really been a game changer in my life.
EndGames was very good to me, and the SF Improv Scene as a whole really nurtured my gifts. However, none of this would’ve occurred had I not made that initial proposition, work in exchange for classes. Pitch things and see what happens. Take a leap of faith and see where you land; it may be farther than you imagined.
#improv #sfimprov #networking