Rachael Mason wants you to rock at your next improv audition. As the head of The Second City Training Center’s Chicago Advanced Improv program, a Second City TourCo Alum and current cast member of ‘The Boys’ at 9pm in Donny’s Skybox - you should take her advice. If you have questions, comments or want to add a tip of your own, email us at Chicagotrainingcenter@secodcity.com
1. WARM UP BEFORE YOU ARRIVE! Some folks need to meditate for 20 minutes and some folks need to do 20 jumping jacks. Do what centers YOU. The warm up when you arrive is mostly to suss out the group you will be playing with if you even get to warm up at all.
2. SHOW UP ON TIME. There is a saying that 15 minutes early is on time. On time is late. 15 minutes late? Don't bother. Leave early. Set two alarms. Everyone has a good reason for being late but it simply smacks of disrespect to those who are there and ready to work.
3. BE KIND TO THE PERSON CHECKING YOU IN. Really you should just be kind in general. If you are a jerk to the person checking you in then why would we want to hire you for a high stakes ensemble job? That person has been inundated with requests. Yours will be prioritized. Relax about that. And watch with the crap talk about other theaters in the lobby too. We all work everywhere. Why would we hire you if you are pooping on another theater?
4. LOOK IN A MIRROR BEFORE YOU GO IN. You might have crazy hair, lipstick on your teeth, pizza sauce on your lapel, or heaven forbid your barn door might be open. Zip it up zippy. I personally can't stand when someone has a ball cap on or sunglasses on their head or collar. You should be dressed nice so you feel good. Take one final look at your suit (that musty thing should have been laundered) or one final peek at your dress (that you can move in with bike shorts or leggings underneath). Look good = Feel good.
5. LISTEN TO THE AUDITOR'S INSTRUCTIONS. They are TELLING you what they want to see and describing the shape of the audition. If you are planning out your funny line or listening to your inner monologue you are going to miss valuable information. Calm down and listen.
6. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SCENE PARTNER. Throwing elbows for funny lines is not what gets you hired. Yes anding and heightening what is there does. Your repartee and game play with your partner are what we want. Listen and respond as opposed to panicked reaction. Be people in a relationship, who feel a way about each other and the world they live in. Then play some games together. Comedy is a natural byproduct of that. Not your inorganic stabs at funny that crap on your partner. Don't crap on your partner... not even an object work crap.
7. DON'T MAKE AN ASS OUT OF YOURSELF AT THE ALE HOUSE (or similar bar). Your audition is over. Whether it went well or not so well our temptation is to head across the street and toast those feelings away. Word of your drunken mess gets back to us too. Have a drink. Go home. Sleep. Wait patiently for the response. If you get in GREAT! Now it only gets harder. If you didn't GREAT! Now you can write in for you notes and take a class and get better.
Ready? Go kill it killer. - Rachael
Rachael Mason began her career in improvisation at Skidmore College, home of the National College Comedy Festival, with the Ad-Liberal Artists. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, concentrating on Shakespearean Studies, she moved to Chicago to study improv comedy with Del Close. She trained at The Second City, The Annoyance, and iO. Currently she performs with The Second City Improv Allstars, and The Boys. She is most happy when she is teaching improv.