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Groundlings or UCB? Login/Join
 
Newbie
posted
I can't seem to decide! Anyone want to give their feedback?
 
Posts: 8 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: January 16, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Newbie
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Have you seen any of their shows?
 
Posts: 1784 | Location: LA,CA | Registered: May 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Glenn Close
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I've done both. I am now at UCB which was a tough choice because they start everybody in Improv 101 so there's a huge ability gap in the beginning.

Personally, I am enjoying UCB much more than I did Groundlings. I never walked out of a Groundlings class feeling good about myself and I have a thick skin. My goals are different now. At Groundlings I was only interested in how improv could help my other acting work. A couple of years later I have a better appreciation for the "art" of improvisation and look forward to every class.
 
Posts: 40 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: April 18, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Morgan Freeman
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I've done classes at both and for me UCB is better, way better, better by miles, it's not even close.

Then again, if you only want to impress certain agents Groundlings may do just that.
 
Posts: 116 | Location: Hollywood, CA | Registered: April 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Denzel Washington
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Groundlings is a bit more character based (will ferrel, melissa mccarthy, kristin wigg characters) than UCB . Groundlings is also, in my opionion, tougher and gets more competitive in the classroom.

UCB on the other hand teaches long form in their basic classes... the characters tend to be smaller and its a really good school. They basically pass you on the the next level after every class so you can move up as quick as you can get in the next class. This can be good and bad. Passing to the next level gives you some positive reinforcement...you leave feeling good.

Personally, I think groundlings might speak a little more on a resume if you've gotten through the levels (which isn't easy to do). But its a matter of opinion. Ideally you'd want to try both. Take a look at Melissa McCarthy in Bridemaids. That's a character she probably developed during her time as a groundling. The program can be maddening because it takes a lot of work to move on and most people retake classes. Each class you're in and you have a bad day...potentially makes you feel like you're not going to pass. Hence the guy above me saying he left feeling bad about himself.

Classes are about $50 per class at both schools but there are more classes per level at groundlings so you pay more per class. There are, however, less classes at the groundlings. PS: Getting into the UPPER LEVEL classes at Groundlings typically requires you to go on a waiting list (1-2 years!). Talk to as many people that you know who have done both. I have and I would say it was easier to make friends at UCB and a less intimidating environment. Go see a groundlings main company show and a UCB show. Then make your decision.
 
Posts: 161 | Location: los angeles | Registered: April 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Glenn Close
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Just a small note in terms of prestige:

I hear nothing about Groundlings, other than discussions about SNL. What I do hear a lot of buzz about is UCB, from all over.

Remember though, just because there's vocal support for one, does not mean that the other is necessarily worse. I do believe, however, that Groundlings has lost prestige in the past years.
 
Posts: 180 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: August 27, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Glenn Close
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I agree with Yonie above. Both programs are regarded as EXCELLENT. You just gotta pick your flavor.

However, I would think UCB's heyday is somewhere around now, and Groundlings heyday is the late 70s early 80s (a rouster which is basically a who's who of comedy from that era and beyond.)

It is tough to tell, but honestly, you can't go wrong with either one. Also consider Second City, IO West and ACME. See shows at all, particulalry the smaller shows put on by those currently attending.

Personally, I am leaning towards UCB for my own studies. I am much more a collaborator than a competitor in my overall worldview, and like stated above, UCB is currently a flavor of the month hotspot...which is fine with me.

Plus, UCB is easier to advance. While that takes a little bit of prestige out of their upper level classes, I appreciate the ease of mind..and friendlier atmosphere.

As far as their shows and alumni go, I like stuff from both. Been to more at UCB because they always offer the cool free one on Sunday nights. Although it is very hard to knock that many of the comedic performers that are very near and dear to my heart...influenced me in my formative years so to speak...come from Groundlings, but I can look past it.
 
Posts: 193 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: May 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Newbie
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Thanks for all your feedback, as I really appreciate it. The funny this is that everything everyone said here, has been said from my other actor friends who don't read this forum. I just wanted to get an outside group perspective. I was leaning more towards UCB anyway, but there was just that thought in my head about maybe Groundlings. If I don't do UCB, Second City would be my next choice.
 
Posts: 8 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: January 16, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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I've gone to both. What I like about UCB is it's a more of a grass-roots, democratic, organic approach and feel. It is guided by a rigorous (but still fun) transmission of principles and tools for you to apply. Its amazing how popular the program has become, the active-class numbers exceed anywhere I know of, by far. It still feels like a small community though and its popularity comes from a real value.

At the end of the day it's just classes and shows, but there is a bit of that renaissance or left-bank Paris in the 20's feeling sometimes. They seem to have done a really good job with structuring and running everything while staying out of the way.

I just wish there was a film/tv theatrical training program of similar quality, values and affordability. I may take classes elsewhere but UCB has more of my trust than any other training space so far.
 
Posts: 27 | Location: right here | Registered: December 07, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Al Pacino
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You can do both. As someone mentioned there is at least a 2 year wait between the upper Groundlings levels. If you can get into the Sunday Company/Mainstage at Groundlings you will no doubt have career opportunities because so few make it. You see them all over t.v. and movies apart from SNL.

In the meantime you can enjoy the vibe/action/performance opportunities at one of the other schools.

If you want to perform on stage regularly some of the schools have more opportunities than UCB (their teams are competitive) so you might factor that in.

If you get on a team you have the opportunity of coaching and training with working actors which is a plus.

At IO I know you can intern in exchange for classes.

CD's do put out breakdowns to the schools looking for improvisors to audition. That is also a benefit of being an active regular in a school.

Also if you put all your eggs in the Groundlings basket and don't make Sunday company you are done. You still have the benefit of their training, but you won't be performing there. At the other places I think you could stay on a team forever if you wanted and were good enough.
 
Posts: 73 | Location: los angeles | Registered: December 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Denzel Washington
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Actors helper has the right idea. Depending on your goals....why not do all schools? If you're someone who's looking to work in comedy...it would be a good idea to take classes at several of the big schools.

And PS...for those of you saying you haven't heard much about the groundlings lately you obviously didn't watch the academy awards this year. There were 5 former Groundling member's nominated.

DO these names ring a bell: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Jim [Rash] and Nat [Faxon]

All former groundlings have their own shows or are starring in major studio pictures. (I wouldn't include the will ferrel's, paul ruebens, or Conan O'Brians since they've been names for a long while)

Both of those schools have plenty of clout. I wouldn't put one above the other. I'd make my decisions based on what your goals are.
 
Posts: 161 | Location: los angeles | Registered: April 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Glenn Close
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Ah, but see, I rarely hear about the Groundlings, unless it's about their alumnus from the 90s and earlier.

Hopefully, I'm dead wrong.
 
Posts: 180 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: August 27, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Al Pacino
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Progressive Flo is doing o.k. too:

"Referring to her work in The Groundlings, [Stephanie] Courtney noted, "Flo could be one of my improv characters, always on and sort of cracked in a weird way."

Odds are against a person making it to the highest levels of the Groundlings as they have so few openings and so many students, so if you do the odds will be for you ;-)
 
Posts: 73 | Location: los angeles | Registered: December 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Okay, I am going to share my 4-year plan with you all. This is a secret plan.

1. Move to LA

2. Take UCB and Groundlings in between

3. Get on Groundlings main company

4. (or UCB Harold team)

5. ???

6. PROFIT


You can thank me later.
 
Posts: 27 | Location: right here | Registered: December 07, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Johnny Depp
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A guy in my 201 class at UCB didn't get the nod to go on to 301. He wasn't dumb or unfunny, he just didn't get it and the teacher felt he should repeat 201.

In my 401 class, the teacher didn't approve anyone for Advanced Study that hadn't taken 401 at least once before.

While it may be true that you don't have to wait for two years to get into classes at UCB, I think there is a misperception about advancement being too easy, especially as you go higher in the program and want to take from tough teachers.
 
Posts: 36 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: October 21, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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