Take Your Show On the Road: Preparing for Festivals

If you’re thinking ahead, or just barely ahead, to applying to improv festivals this year here is a break down of the most relevant info for festival virgins & the festival semi-inexperienced.

So, your troupe has gotten some great shows under its belt and you’re thinking “even with all the opportunities within my community, we want to branch out and see the improv world and the mysteries of its festivals!” Here is a short list of what you have to have in your satchel to make that happen:

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  • 1)    A great video of a full show, unedited, with adequate light and sound. A “best of reel” won’t usually cut it. You want the show to be funny but the video quality is going to count for something too. Ideally, this is not the one show you taped, but the best of several filmed shows you have in a bank

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  • 2)      A purdy photo of your group & a description of the kind show of you perform.

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  • 3)      Some cash. Almost all improv festivals require troupes to lay down around $30 for a shot at performing in them. 1

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  • 4)      A web presence. It is standard for festivals to expect you to have either a website or at least a facebook page with a significant number of “likes.”

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The good news is that numbers 1, 2, & 4 are great things for your troupe to have to be a “real” group, even aside from traveling, so if applying to festivals helps you get these things together that is another advantage to embarking on the process.

If you want to apply to some improv festivals before the year is out, here are a couple whose deadlines are just about up (for those of us who work best impulsively).

 Before January 15th

NYC ImprovFest     Host: People’s Improv Theater

ChicagoImprov Festival    Festival takes place at several theaters aroundChicago

 Before January 20th

DallasComedy Festival     Host: DallasComedy House

Show 1 footnote

  1. The Megaphone Marathons & Hell Yes Fest are exceptions to this rule, since for the first there’s no cost for submissions and the second is a “invite only” festival, financed by sponsors and show sales (not submission fees), similar to the way that music festivals are run.