As a person who loves writing and always wants to maintain a positive attitude, even when not everything goes PERFECTLY, so helpful to read something like this from someone who knows what they speak of. And this isn’t just true about sketch writing or acting or improv, but I think it’s true about life.
You should never feel entitled to anything and should always be ready to keep on working for your goals and dreams and hopes. And it is work, but it can be really awesome work that you can be proud of even if you don’t get this opportunity or that opportunity. Keep on doing what you love to do always, whether you’re doing it for the world or doing it for your awesome pet cat who looks at you funny and hates strangers.
Life is awesome. Remember that, and go make and do cool things for the world, for your friends, but most of all, for yourself.
Maude actor auditions were this past weekend and Maude writing packets were due recently. Any time UCB has auditions, it can be a shitty, disappointing time for a lot of people.
I wrote a version of this post in response to a post on Facebook from someone who was disappointed and upset with the theater following this weekend’s auditions. I’ve redacted it a bit, as there’s no reason to include the person’s name here, and I do want to stress I do not bear that person any ill will. But I thought it might be something that was worth putting out here on Tumblr as well. So, here it is… slightly edited and still far too long.
I don’t speak for UCB the school OR UCB the theater, which are two linked, but entirely separate entities But I’m chiming in as someone who obviously is very involved in the theater, as someone who has been a teacher there for a number of years, and as someone who has taken part in the past 4 or 5 years of Harold team auditions. Also, I apologize for what I imagine will be a pretty un-smooth post here, as I’ll be jumping around a bit.
UCB is a theater. A professional one. I’ve been involved there since its first year in LA. And its main goal has never been to just welcome everyone on to the stage. Nor should it be. The shitty truth is that there will ALWAYS be many, many more people who want to be on a Harold/Maude/Beta team than there is room for. It’s a sad fact. And many of those people who don’t get on teams ARE talented. But hey, that’s the way it goes. And it sucks.
You say “every time you audition and don’t make it, the only reasoning they have is that you need to do more.” I promise you that is never the case. At no point in any audition I have taken part in has that been the reason. Maybe it has been that the people watching felt like an auditioner wasn’t ready. Or that they had talent but needed to expand and grow that talent. But it is never a blanket “do more.”
Auditioning sucks. It’s the suckiest part of this industry. But it is part of it. And I suppose I fully disagree with you on “Doing comedy is supposed to be fun.” It can be and it is. But I dont think, professionally, that’s it. Just like writing or directing or acting or playing music or etc etc, it is something that people do that many many people take seriously and approach as a job. If it were just a “lets all have fun out there” type of thing… well, that’s not the professional side of it. Anyone can do that… online. Rent a space. Start an indie night. Etc. And no one ever prevents anyone from doing that. But it’s not what the UCB stage is for. Yet UCB does give opportunities left and right. If you feel like your talents aren’t a good fit for Maude? Ok. Do a spank show! Do the best spank show possible… blow it out of the water. And you’ll get a run. Anyone can do that.
You say you’ve been doing improv for two years… I haven’t seen you perform much, I don’t think, but I can say that two years is nothing. And I don’t mean that in the context of UCB, I mean in the context of doing anything worthwhile. When I had been improvising for 2 years, I was crap. When I had been writing for only two years, the shit I wrote was unreadable. Maybe it still is. But 2 years is not a lot of time. I know people who have gotten onto harold teams that I had literally never seen before on their first try. And I know people who got on teams after auditioning over and over and not getting a slot. You know these people too.
I’m very sorry you feel so discouraged. And I’m very sorry you don’t feel welcome at UCB. That is a bummer. It IS the theater’s loss whenever someone gives up for whatever reason. But, every single person I know that has helped run the theater (The ADs from Seth to Berg, the heads of the school, everyone who has read maude packets or watched auditions) literally wants one thing: to create the best teams possible and have the theater have the best shows as it can. That’s it. This place has done so much for me, and I don’t mean that in shitty Hollywood way, but rather in a emotional and personal way. It has helped me through hard stuff and has supplied me with many of the people I am closest to in the world. But in the, end, what you’ve described here is NOT a theater not welcoming you, but rather the theater not putting you on a house team. Those are different things… wildly different things. I’ve seen you at many shows, many indie nights, surrounded by people who want to do the same thing as you and who want to talk about the same stuff. A bunch of comedy nerds in plaid shirts and glasses. All those people, that shared community… I still think it is a welcoming place for weirdos and nerds and whatever the hell Dan Lippert is. And I’m very sorry you haven’t felt that. But it’s there, for you and anyone else who wants to be a part of it.