It’s not the school that makes people famous

I had written a longish piece that was basically an extension of this Mick Napier “Laying Claim to Fame or Acclaim” piece.

Rather than post another wall of text most won’t read. I’ll just ask you to read Mick’s words, since you’re more likely to read and respect those. He says what I’d just restate.

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One thought on “It’s not the school that makes people famous

  1. Steven Gomez says:

    I want to note this particular key point, and why most Chicago improvisers have literally no shot at the Second City Mainstage or ETC. And it has nothing to do with the volume of talent auditioning.

    “Let’s first take a look at the basic skill sets required or at least highly desired to be a performer on Second City’s MainStage. What are they?

    I’ll list some.

    1. Improvise. You must certainly be a good improviser. But what kind of good improviser? All kinds of good improviser.

    2. Act. Yes, indeed, you create the role and that’s fun and now you will be doing it 8 times a week for about 8 months. Less fun. Can you act?

    3. Write. You must write your own show. You must be able to write comedy.

    4. Collaborate. This is an ensemble of people. Do you know how to create with an ensemble? You would have to know how to do that.

    This is a broad, basic list of this extensive skill set. Any one of the schools in Chicago will NOT provide you fully with all of levels of all of these skills necessary to excel in sketch comedy at Second City.”

    1. Most practicing improvisers while functional (maybe even somewhat decent, or have their great moments) are not particularly good improvisers, for various reasons. A key factor is the amount of unacceptable dead air in their work, as is having no idea how to get out of their heads and stay in the moment.

    2. Most improvisers know nothing about theatrical acting. It’s too bad we don’t train them in that! Most schools just tell people to go take an acting class or two somewhere else, which is obviously nowhere close to enough training and exposure.

    3. The only sketch writing improvisers do is cold turkey on their own, or they learn it from Second City’s sham writing program, which is nothing like their actual writing process for Mainstage and ETC shows (done mostly on their feet, through improv). P.S. Second City Writing 6 shows are brutally boring things to sit through, not because of the performers, who are doing their best, but because the writing is stiff, lifeless and brutally bad.

    4. Collaboration is something people have a basic understanding of. But people’s egos, prejudices and counterproductive neuroses, as well as the simplistically ulterior motives of most venues and producers (i.e. your rental fee is what they care about; they couldn’t care less if your show doesn’t draw a dime), made quality collaboration close to impossible. It also doesn’t help that people sorely lack ability in the above items, which limits the impact of collaboration.

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