Makes sense. They can't possibly advance everyone especially since they are the hot school--probably not enough teachers if nothing else. But then just as with Groundlings if you can make it to the highest levels it carries weight in the industry. I'm sure they want to keep their reputation solid.
Most of these schools probably have two tiers. The actors who want to get improv training and the students who want to go for the top levels. As Lucky said it depends on your goals.
I say Groundlings all the way. I am currently on their 1-2 year wait list for the Upper Level, and I am now eligible to take a long list of drop-in classes and more specialized improv classes so it is hardly a wait!
I love class time at the Groundlings.
Go to both and see which classes fit your style the most.
(And Yonie, I have to agree with LuckyMe73 that you clearly missed this year's Oscars! If you go to a few Sunday company and main company shows, you will start to see those actors everywhere.)
So you didn't feel bad like these other actors did when they left class? They never put you down etc. or whatever they are implying?
To clarify my previous comment on "not feeling very good about myself" after my Groundlings classes ...
My instructor was Sean Hogan. He was a very talented actor and did a decent job explaining improv basics to newbies. The problem was his temper and associated mean streak. On the first day of class we were running a little behind schedule and I asked if I could go feed the meter. He yelled "Look around you, NONE of your classmates need to feed a meter!". I saw him launch into a few rages, mostly about actors not paying attention or eating. It wasn't enough that he would yell, its that he would keep going, belittling that actor for the rest of the session. He could also be the nicest guy, but it was uncomfortable knowing the pit bull was just beneath the surface.
Studying improv means you are performing just outside of your comfort level at all times making the classes arduous. As long as I was learning I could put up with the other stuff. I did make immediate improvements with my commercial auditions and started getting callbacks and bookings right away. There is no better training.
My son had a very mean teacher at the Groundlings too--a different one. They are working actors and under the same stresses as the students. This teacher went off on the class because he was missing an audition for them. I'm not defending it--just reality.
You don't get paid to be in the Groundlings. The only way you make money there is to teach classes or direct shows. Of course hopefully there is money to be made from the prestige of being a Groundling.
The point is the teachers are not necessarily all good at teaching or doing it because they want to be teachers. This is not just at Groundlings either. Teaching is a way for improvisors to make money and if the schools are packed they need teachers. There is no credentialing. My son recently went on an audition with grads from the top levels of UCB who he did not feel were up to speed on the techniques. He was surprised.
There are also fantastic teachers at Groundlings.
At the Groundlings the company members are the ones who decide who becomes a Groundling so the teachers do decide your future there which can be stressful too.
By the way, since we're talking improv classes, if other people have gone to other schools, why not chime in? IO and Second City experiences for instance.
I studied with Sean a few months ago, and he couldn't be any nicer to our class! Thats really interesting that he had such a short temper with yours. I guess it depends on the class, and what goes on in his personal life at the time. But wow! haha
I'm probably gonna take 401 at UCB soon since, well, I've already taken 301 lol but I'll say I thought Todd Fassen was a dick but he really pushed me. Other people felt that his performance in Convoy was lacking compared to the other two performers. I liked them as a trio so maybe that supports their argument. Maybe he is bitter like some of these others guys/gals cause they have to teach and are not getting as far as they want in their acting career - but he's a good teacher if you like the asshole kind i have to admit. I met a couple of other d-bags at UCB imo and they didn't back up their crappy passive aggresive attitude with their instruction so it's a fine line and what works for you. I think it depends on the person but since UCB is easier to progress through at least to 401 that makes sense how your son felt.
No, I never did. I certainly didn't feel coddled either, though. I left the class in the place I love to leave any educational experience: appropriately frustrated!
I also forgot to mention that I just shot my first national commercial, which was a comedic spot. I definitely know the Groundlings helped me book it, and when I got there, the only other actor was also an upper division Groundlings student!
I can only speak for UCB, but I love it. I'm about to start 201 and intend to go all the way through to 401. Initially, I just thought I'd take 101 to hone my skills for commercials and get it on my resume, but I love it so much I'm continuing all the way through. It never feels like class to me.
I saw this and had to add my 2 cents. I had Sean Hogan as a teacher for both IWA and B and he was the nicest teacher I have EVER HAD! Yes, he did make it clear that students needed to behave in a respectful manner, but personally I like it when the teacher doesn't let students act poorly and ruin it for the rest of us. To each his own.
I don't really understand why we tolerate things in acting teachers that would never be tolerated in any other field.
I don't really see how people eating, feeding the meter, or not paying attention is affecting me at all.
Syphus... Your entry made me laugh! I love that fellow students not paying attention in an IMPROV CLASS is not a problem for you! Hilarious!
Them not having any idea what the fuck doesn't affect me. In fact, there's a good chance that sometime in your life you're going to act with people who don't know what the fuck, so it's good practice.
I studied with Stephanie Courtney ("Flo" on the Progressive Insurance Commercials) at The Groundlings. I found her talented, warm, funny and very supportive to all of us.
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