Austin Improv Touring Co.

Keeping improv viable and solvent and saving the chaos for the stage.

Moderators: happywaffle, arclight, bradisntclever

Austin Improv Touring Co.

Postby scott.hearne » December 28th, 2012, 2:02 pm

I have a harebrained idea.

The Austin Improv scene is an amazing place. Why don't we assemble a group of Austin improvisers representing each theater and tour colleges and universities? Stand up comics and musicians get their first regular paying gigs doing the college and university circuit. Why not improvisers?

The major theaters in NYC, LA, and Chicago each have touring companies. Austin could just have a collective touring company.

What does everyone think of this idea? Questions and comments are encouraged, snide remarks are tolerated.
"Great improvisers never look worried onstage. It's not that they became great and stopped worrying, they stopped worrying and then became great." - Miles Stroth
User avatar
scott.hearne
 
Posts: 160
Joined: February 6th, 2012, 6:39 pm
Location: ATX

Postby JLOgan » December 28th, 2012, 6:02 pm

Makes me wish I still lived in Austin I can tell you that.
Jeremy Logan
TEVIS (Level 6 Improv)-Coldtowne Conservatory
Lonestar Deathstar
First United Methodist Church of Plano's Youth Group Improv (FUMCPYGI)
Splooie.
www.improvthrowdown.wordpress.com
User avatar
JLOgan
 
Posts: 77
Joined: January 18th, 2011, 9:17 pm
Location: San Antonio, TX

Postby Alex B » December 28th, 2012, 11:16 pm

Makes me wish I had a completely flexible schedule that let me leave Austin at a hat's drop I can tell you that
User avatar
Alex B
 
Posts: 141
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 4:52 am
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Spots » December 28th, 2012, 11:58 pm

Try it?


But realize advertising 6 brand names is a lot more difficult than advertising 1. Something I encountered while bringing the AIC to film students. They couldn't retain or juggle all those different brand names. They wanted a concise, clear message.


If its going to work it needs to be somebody's baby. Institutionalizing it isn't really possible.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby Aden » December 29th, 2012, 8:45 am

I thought both Coldtowne and New Movement had this already...
http://www.artofchange.com
Change is inevitable. Progress is not. Discover the difference YOU can make.
User avatar
Aden
 
Posts: 2543
Joined: October 3rd, 2006, 10:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Jessica » December 29th, 2012, 1:37 pm

I've contacted a couple of agents and never got even a return email.
User avatar
Jessica
 
Posts: 1846
Joined: February 24th, 2006, 11:15 am

Postby Spots » December 29th, 2012, 1:53 pm

It's hard enough to break even, let alone cut anyone a commission from the proposed profit margins (if there are any). A booking agent would probably consider such a venture high risk.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby scott.hearne » December 30th, 2012, 1:41 am

Aden wrote:I thought both Coldtowne and New Movement had this already...


Is this true? It would be nice to know...

:)
"Great improvisers never look worried onstage. It's not that they became great and stopped worrying, they stopped worrying and then became great." - Miles Stroth
User avatar
scott.hearne
 
Posts: 160
Joined: February 6th, 2012, 6:39 pm
Location: ATX

Postby scott.hearne » December 30th, 2012, 1:46 am

Spots wrote:It's hard enough to break even, let alone cut anyone a commission from the proposed profit margins (if there are any). A booking agent would probably consider such a venture high risk.


I agree. No existing booking agent would probably touch it. This project would be my baby. I'm interested in the project to get my feet wet promoting and getting experience. I have realistic monetary expectations = probably little to no money for awhile from the project.

Does that make any sense? I don't want to perform in this project, just assemble the group and pay the performers for touring.

Thanks y'all for the feedback. Keep it coming!
"Great improvisers never look worried onstage. It's not that they became great and stopped worrying, they stopped worrying and then became great." - Miles Stroth
User avatar
scott.hearne
 
Posts: 160
Joined: February 6th, 2012, 6:39 pm
Location: ATX

Postby scott.hearne » December 30th, 2012, 1:48 am

Spots wrote:Try it?


But realize advertising 6 brand names is a lot more difficult than advertising 1. Something I encountered while bringing the AIC to film students. They couldn't retain or juggle all those different brand names. They wanted a concise, clear message.


If its going to work it needs to be somebody's baby. Institutionalizing it isn't really possible.


yeah, the branding will be challenging. *puts on thinking cap*
"Great improvisers never look worried onstage. It's not that they became great and stopped worrying, they stopped worrying and then became great." - Miles Stroth
User avatar
scott.hearne
 
Posts: 160
Joined: February 6th, 2012, 6:39 pm
Location: ATX

Postby Spots » December 30th, 2012, 12:41 pm

scott.hearne wrote:
Aden wrote:I thought both Coldtowne and New Movement had this already...


Is this true? It would be nice to know...

:)



TNM has a TourCo. It's not one set of people. It's mostly to get our students more experience (should they have the time & drive). For instance I got the email during Lvl 4 for the chance to go. It's by far the best opportunity I've ever taken, improv-wise. 10 nights 10 shows.

You don't really have time to doubt yourself in that kind of situation. You just build momentum. Period.


That was called OcTourber. http://vimeo.com/35453849


(more videos in my signature)


There's been another TourCo called Tourceratops since then. 2 different groups and maybe 14 cities? (--edit: I asked around. 21 cities)

I'll never know logistically how anybody pulled that off. Those are cities hosting us back to back every day. Mike Spara did some sort of voodoo to make that work. He made it his baby.


For us, the conundrum is to keep it as an opportunity for students to get pilot hours and get better. Compared to the opposite scenario: just boosting up the mainstage cast over and over, who arguably don't need the experience as much. That will always be the challenge.
Last edited by Spots on January 1st, 2013, 6:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby happywaffle » December 30th, 2012, 12:47 pm

Like Alex said, it's only a very few improvisers who would be available to skip town for gigs. And the question is, among those people, can you create a troupe worthy of representing Austin improv?

So go for it if you want, and I'll support any way I can, but it's a tall order and even in the best case, a LOT of work.
User avatar
happywaffle
 
Posts: 3342
Joined: February 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm
Location: Austin TX

Postby Spots » December 30th, 2012, 12:53 pm

scott.hearne wrote:yeah, the branding will be challenging. *puts on thinking cap*



In addition to Austin experimenting with narrative / monomyth, Austin also has the ability to break away from the standard Chicago-style improv expectations. (LA, NYC, Chicago = Harold)

The Austin theaters that evolved from Del & Charna's "Truth In Comedy" don't really pressure their troupes into doing the Harold as far as I know (Coldtowne, TNM, Institution)


Therefore Austin is "Harold optional".


This is not an industry town bent on tradition by any means. That's social dynamics that frees us to do whatever.

So real experimentation is going on in just about every way. Or both ways. Or however you want to think about it. You might package your future project to highlight this fact.

If you keep the message Austin positive compared to LA/NYC/Chicago negative I think amazing things will happen.

Just an idea. I agree with Kevin that it's a tall order but something awesome will probably be born from this. Keep at it!
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby happywaffle » December 31st, 2012, 3:13 pm

Austin is the best place for long-form genre improv. We've gone so many directions with it that it's practically our signature format. Obviously not our only one, but if you're looking for a format that signifies Austin, that's my vote.
User avatar
happywaffle
 
Posts: 3342
Joined: February 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm
Location: Austin TX

Postby Spots » December 31st, 2012, 4:42 pm

And this is by no means a dystopian future where every graduating student is expected to join a genre long form team.

And I doubt that expectation will ever exist.

I offer that image to highlight the fact that it's not the Harold that we're all iffy about. The Harold is fine. It's the fact that it was institutionalized & now serves to stifle folk's creativity rather than inspire it. It got twisted & contrived. It can happen with any format. So I'm personally proud of the students coming up and just trying everything:

Close Quarters, La Ronde, Armando, Harold, Monoscene, Musicals, Montage, The Bat, Monomyth, Duos, the Dusty, Deconstruction, the Dennis & Chad format, and so on.


Often inventing new formats without someone arguing that it's a modified Harold. Troupes coming up with new devices or deciding to ban sweep edits. Experimentation.

Let the student's own intuition guide them to the farthest corners. That variety without standardization is the signature that I admire the most.



It's an aspect that takes longer to put one's finger on.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Next

Return to Improv Business & Technical

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron