Blog

GUEST BLOG: Tom Reed's top 10 ways to help improv take over the world

[We asked some local experts for their top tips on promoting improv shows.  This week’s tips are from Tom Reed who, in addition to being a brilliant improvisor, wrote and performed wildly successful one-man Fringe shows Harry Potter and the Half-Drunk Twins, Bite Me, Twilight, and Disney Dethroned: Snowcahontas and the Tangled FrogBeast.  Tom Reed blogs at www.frecklemeat.com and can be seen regularly at Comedy Sportz, Brave New Workshop and as crooning sensation Lounge-asaurus Rex.  Thanks for these wonderful tips, Tom!]

I want everyone in the whole world to love improv as much as I do. The first step is getting the whole world to an improv show. Based on my experience, here are 10 tips that will eventually lead to improv world domination, or at least a few more people at our shows. You gotta start somewhere!

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GUEST BLOG: Max Sparber's Top 6 Tips for Improv Promotion

[We asked some local experts for their top tips on promoting improv shows.  The first to reply was renaissance man Max Sparber.  He’s a playwright, the lead singer of the band Ultramod, a blogger  for MinnPost  He was editor in chief ofThe Omaha Reader, but we first met him during his three years as the theater critic for City Pages, where he was one of the only local critics to ever review improv.  Thanks for these great tips, Max!]

People underestimate the importance of promotion. I worked for years with an Omaha theater company that put up posters and hoped for good word of mouth, and, as a result, got small audiences. I find it helps to think of promotion as being similar to sending out invites to a party. If you haven’t bothered to tell anybody about the party, there is a good chance they won’t show up.

With this in mind, the first step is to get the word out in as general a way as possible. And so here’s tip one:

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You'll never see me frown…and I'll be with you when the deal goes down.

the state of things at HUGE

It’s almost the end of the month, which means it’s time for another Rent Party!

Josh rightly pointed out at the last Rent Party that everything we do at HUGE is to make the rent and we should really just party together all the time.  I happen to agree – but the final Friday of the month is “officially” Pay What You Can night and Rent Party!

Seems like it’s worth updating the state of HUGE – last time I posted where we were it was all doom and gloom.  People’s reactions were varied but everyone was incredibly supportive and appreciated the openness with which we’re able to handle being in some serious trouble.  We can still be open, even about diminishing trouble and I want to still be very careful about how I phrase things to avoid giving people the idea that we are not depending on support still.  We very much are.  While my tone may be lighter these days, I am never joking when I say that HUGE Theater depends on you.  We are doing everything we can but have to issue the call for help as the end of the month nears – but this blog will include some good news and hopefully some encouraging signs.

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Any way you want it, it's the way it will be

Butch is going to write another blog entry, but he hasn’t yet, so I thought I’d write a pre-blog entry. I just invented that, it’s an new thing. The essence is this: HUGE Improv Theater is your theater. It belongs to you. If we wanted it to belong to us, we would’ve founded a for-profit theater and called it “Butch Roy’s Improvatorium.” We did not do that. We opened your theater and called it HUGE so that you’d know it was a big deal.

If she wants to help the cause, tell her we need sterile gauze

Hey folks – WE DID IT!

Thanks to the donations to the Virtual Rent Party to the tune of $1800, the incredible contributions on Friday in response to the Pay What You Can shows to the amount of $2400 and an evening of drinking, dancing and donating – and the $1000 bonus pledged by our landlord – HUGE Theater made the rent.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I cannot say it enough.  Thank you.

Many of the donations came from the very people we hope to be able to pay for performing on our stage, people that have already put in countless hours producing shows and helping promote HUGE every day – while it weighs on me a bit to know that we are taking funding from people we should be giving it to, we are in no position to turn away any help we can get.

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It Ain't About the Tunnel, it's the Light at The End

Been meaning to sit down and blog for a while now but I’ve been a bit conflicted about it – on one hand I want very much to be really transparent and up front about how things are going on the business end of things but at the same time, I feel like part of my job is saying “hell yes we can do this” and posting bleak financials isn’t really the way to rally everyone’s spirits so I tend to stress out about this myself and focus on the fact that things around HUGE have been kicking ass in pretty much every other area besides money.

The shows have been great, the bar is open, Saturday nights have been full houses and generally the word seems to be getting around.  When people ask how things are going at HUGE I tell them the shows are kicking ass – which may have accidentally given people the impression that the hard part is over and it’s time to relax.

That may sound like a joke but it’s actually been a common problem at HUGE – I’ve had people come in and see that we use an iPad as our cash register and comment that we must be doing pretty great, when in fact we are incredibly lucky to have gotten the donations of technology and equipment that allow us to run the place.

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Target practice on the cactus, low on ammo, no supplies…

Two big things this week, so it seems to be time for another blog ::

The bar is open!

Last night, HUGE served the first drinks from our newly-approved bar area.  It has been a long, tedious, expensive and frustrating process that often felt like it was going nowhere – insert joke about it driving us to drink, har har.

Everyone kept reminding us how much it was going to help HUGE in terms of revenue but it was easy to miss the other really important reason to do it – the theater feels more like a place to spend time with friends.  Strange as that sounds, it’s totally true.  At the end of the shows the building would be dark and quiet and we would often find ourselves trying to decide on a place to go hang out that wasn’t too crowded to sit, too loud to talk or basically just enough of a pain to get in the way of hanging out together.

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Please do not feed the robots

Here is the weird HUGE schedule for the next couple weeks as we prep for the improv festival and get the bar area built (and a couple other surprises) – we will be working furiously to get everything ready in a few short days but there are still a couple dates to get your improv fix ::

Monday – June 13th, 8pm – Show X

Tpt is shooting a segment on HUGE Theater and we would love to have everyone there to enjoy the show and be part of the taping.  Hopefully the TpT camera crew can get in a turf war with another crew shooting nearby…Tickets are 2 for 1.

Tuesday – June 14th – Dark :: No Fight Club

Wednesday – June 15th – Dark :: No Drop-in class, No show

Thursday – June 16th – Dark :: No Show

Friday – June 17th – Dark :: No Show

Saturday – June 18th – Dark :: No Show

Sunday – June 19th, 8pm – Improv A Go Go

Monday – June 20th, 8pm – Show X – with special guest!

Tuesday – June 21st – Dark :: No Fight Club

Wednesday – June 22nd – Improv Mixer – No Show

Thursday – June 23rd – Twin Cities Improv Festival begins!