Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

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Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby Matthew Arisheh » February 4th, 2013, 11:42 am

Hello AIC,

After talking about it for years, I'm finally moving from Atlanta to Austin at the end of February. I'm moving because I love the "weird" city of Austin, the improv scene is the best, and I want to be closer to my family and friends in the area.

I've been doing improv since 2001, running an improv festival since 2004, and running an improv production company since 2010. I perform, direct, coach, teach, manage, produce... etc. For my detailed resume you can go to http://www.matthewfalkenberg.com/improv/

I'm particularly well versed in narrative long form, which I know is very popular in Austin.

I am interested in instructing/coaching and performing when I move to Austin. I'd also relish an opportunity to studying with the talented local instructors. If possible I would also love to help in the production of OoB in any way I can.

I want to play towards my experience, but not step on the toes of any existing Austin organizations, for which I have great respect. So... any advice on where should I start would be greatly appreciated. :D
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby Jastroch » February 4th, 2013, 2:45 pm

Hey Matthew!

I wouldn't worry about stepping on each people's toes. As a theater owner, I can say one of the most exciting things about Austin is the breadth of knowledge and training available. I'm pretty sure that all the other theater owners, teachers and producers would agree with me that a rising tide lifts all boats and we're generally happy to point our students and performers towards everything the Austin Improv scene has to offer.

The Hideout and Merlin Works probably has the strongest narrative/Johnstone bent, whereas ColdTowne, TNM and the Institution are more geared towards Harold (iO, Annoyance and UCB) stuff. I think most of the theaters are pretty open to hosting workshops and that sort of stuff.
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby gene » February 4th, 2013, 4:45 pm

I met Matt in Atlanta at the Black Box Comedy Festival 2012. He is funny guy and super nice to boot. He runs a smooth festival.

You will fit right in Matt. There are auditions at least once every month for something. I've seen lots of folks getting their shows produced. There are plenty of coaching opportunities.

Advice? Avoid I-35 if possible. Rush hour traffic on Thursdays is the worst for some reason.

Looking forward to seeing you.
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby Jon Bolden » February 4th, 2013, 5:35 pm

Looking forward to meeting you, Matt! Welcome to Austin!
Joining this board is probably your best resource to getting involved in the scene.
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby Jessica » February 4th, 2013, 5:57 pm

Welcome to Austin! I'm one of the owners of The Hideout, and let me assure you that we are a very welcoming community here in Austin! Everyone has given great advice so far. Let me just add that we'd love to have you come play in Maestro - a short form Johnstone format. You can find the sign up on the forums each week. That is Saturdays at 10pm, you can't really play every week, but I'll try to get you in frequently if you are interested.
And then if you have ideas that you just want to try out, you should look into the free fringe on Thursday nights at 10. We just run with a bunch of crazy formats that people want to play with and it is really fun and exciting. Roy is in charge of putting in the shows each week.

Also, my suggestion is to watch as many shows as possible. Introduce your self around and get to know people. I'm sure you'll figure out a nice niche for yourself pretty quickly. :)
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby Matthew Arisheh » February 4th, 2013, 8:17 pm

Yay! I'm always amazed at how responsive folks are on this forum. Thanks for all the advice so far.

I'll definately take you up on that Meastro and Free Fringe offers once I get settled in. I've done the Meastro a couple of times when visiting, but that was like 4 or 5 years ago. I also did it once with Keith Johnston. We tried to get an unlicensed version of Meastro going in our company, but it ended up morphing into an unlicensed ComedySportz show. :)

I am sad that 3 for All is coming the Hideout the weekend before I move. They are my improv heroes. I saw them at Oob a few years ago and have been bringing Tim Orr and other BATS folks to my festival in Atlanta ever since. Fortunately, they do seem to come to Austin a few times a year.
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby Aden » February 5th, 2013, 1:11 am

Wow! Matthew ! Congratulations on taking the plunge into Austin land! Who is producing Black Box now that you are leaving? I know that Jeremy isn't on the boards all of the time, but with your experience in producing Black Box, there is surely some use we can make of you ;). I'm excited to have you come play with us.

As far as teaching opportunities, I know that a couple of schools here offer one off workshops. You might be able to get in on one of those as a starting point. If you were going to teach a 2 hour workshop, what would you teach it on? As far as coaching goes, your best bet is to try and take advantage of performance opportunities and if people like what you're offering they will reach out to you.

Welcome to Austin! Sorry you are missing out on 3 for all, but I'm sure when you do get here, you'll be glad you chose us :)
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby shando » February 5th, 2013, 11:55 am

Matt is super good people and has been generous in bringing Austin troupes to Atlanta. Let's return the favor by making him welcome. I'm only sad that our solid 'in' to the Atlanta scene won't be there anymore. Leave a good word for us when you depart, ok, Matt?
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby Matthew Arisheh » February 5th, 2013, 12:12 pm

The Black Box Comedy Festival will continue on. I'll still be helping produce this year's fest by doing web and graphic design work as well as providing guidance for the new leadership. The event has strong backing from GA Tech's DramaTech Theatre. Plus this year is the 25th anniversary of DramaTech's improv group and the 10th festival. So they want to make it a real celebration.

Unfortunately, the venue we produce weekly show, 8-week classes, and use as a second venue for the fest closed due to some financial issues the owner had. The closure happened pretty suddenly and without notice. I established Black Box Productions, Inc. as a 501(c)3, tax-exempt status pending, last August. We've got a board of directors and all that jazz. So success for that is set up as well. We just need to find another venue. I'm fairly certain it won't be too long before things are up and running at full speed again.

So yes. I should definitely be able to help keep a link open between Austin and Atlanta.
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Re: Improviser Relocating to Austin Seeks Advice

Postby smerlin » February 5th, 2013, 12:48 pm

This is all good news!
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