ANNOUNCING: November 2019 Academy Auditions

Questions/Comments about the NY Class Program

ANNOUNCING: November 2019 Academy Auditions

Postby kevhines » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:36 pm

Announcing Summer 2019 auditions for The UCB Training Center’s Academy Program!
Please read this in its entirety. All pertinent information should be answered below, so read thoroughly before asking questions.

***NY Auditions will be held Wednesday 11/16, Friday 11/18 and Saturday 11/19. There are no callbacks for these auditions, students will be selected from one round.***

***NY Signups will begin on Wednesday October 9th 5:00pm. See Below for more details on how to sign up***

***Email if you have any questions -- Only questions answered by the Academic Director, Training Center Manager or Registrars will be considered official answers.***

What is UCB Academy?

Reminder - Academy Auditions happen three times a year
If this is a bad time for you to audition then wait for the next audition.
We have 3 auditions a year so you should never audition when it’s inconvenient for you. Just wait for the next one.
(They are held in April, July, and Novemeber every year)

Reminder - Academy Enrollment is for 2 years
If you were added to the Academy in the past you still do not need to re-audition.

***You must have availability during the following audition times to be considered. NO EXCEPTIONS.***

Wednesday November 13th, 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Friday November 15th 6:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday November 16th, 2:30pm - 5:30pm

We anticipate that a decision on acceptance to UCB Academy will be announced by Friday, November 22nd. Probably sooner!

The next auditions are tentatively scheduled for mid April.
Look for an announcement 3-4 weeks before April.

Auditions will be held in the UCB Training Center
520 8th Avenue - 9th Floor
Rooms will be posted when you arrive on the day of your audition.

Any student that has passed Improv 401 with a (B) Pass or an (A) Superior Grade AND has completed a multi-week UCB improv course within the last two years (Novemeber 2017 - Present)
We do grant exceptions, so for example if you haven't taken a class in 3 years but you have been rehearsing a lot and/or took your last class just over 2 years ago please ask for an exception (see below)

Exceptions will be granted to the above eligibility on a limited basis and are entirely at the discretion of the Academic Director.

Here is the link to request an exception:

The Exception Form will close on Tuesday November 12th 5:00pm


-DO NOT bring a headshot. However you must have a recent and clear photo loaded into your student dashboard.

-Instructions on how to upload photo to dashboard:

This photo does not need to be a professional headshot, it simply needs to be a clear and accurate representation of yourself. You can load a selfie from your smartphone. Please do not ask for help on the day of your audition and instead, if you need help reach out the registrar ( well before the audition.

-There will be a room to warm-up with your audition group.

-On the day of the audition, improvisers will be seen every 25 minutes in groups of 8.

Auditions will last about 20 minutes and follow this format:
-A suggestion.
-A short, true personal monologue off a suggestion
-Monologists are encouraged to tell stories from their adult life, rather than childhood anecdotes. Monologists will be asked to stop at 60 seconds.
-Four two person FIRST BEATS.
-Four SECOND BEATS. Second beats should be performed by the improvisers who were in the first beat -- both improvisers from the first beat should step out for the second beat and either improviser can speak first.
-No groups games, but second beats should have an emphasis on “on-game” group support.
-We will edit all scenes.
-Support Work (walk ons for example) are allowed throughout but should be limited in the first beats, and can be more aggressive in the second beats. Tag Outs are discouraged (don't tag people out of their audition scene) unless you are really sure it's a great idea.
-Because these sets are inspired by short monologues, some scenes will start with full premises and some will start with half ideas. Both are fine. Either can lead to strong, fun games.

Admission to UCB Academy is at the discretion of the UCB Training Center Academic Director who works in consultation with the UCB faculty to make admission decisions.

-Sign ups will go live on Wednesday October 9th 5:00pm
-Log in to and click on the “Auditions” tab in your top panel
-You will see a few tabs, “My Auditions”, “Theatre Auditions”, and "Training Center auditions" - click on “Training Center Auditions”
-You will see a link for all current auditions. Click the corresponding link for the UCBNY ACADEMY AUDITIONS - Nov 2019.
-Once you click, you’ll see a list of all current available times to sign up for
-All times are FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED. Please sign up quickly if you have a limited schedule! We will not be able to facilitate special requests.
-Once you click a time you will be scheduled for that slot. You will have up until Nov 12th, 5pm to schedule, change, or cancel your slot.
-After the deadline, all changes will be closed and only your audition time will be visible to you in the “My Auditions” tab
-We cannot accommodate any swaps or changes after the deadline has passed. If the deadline has passed and you are not going to attend please email
-If you run into any problems or have questions, please email

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Re: ANNOUNCING: November 2019 Academy Auditions

Postby kevhines » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:51 pm

Here are some tips & observations that I noticed over the last couple of years.

First: I am generally very impressed with the quality of our students. Auditions are hard and I know it's rare when you can show your best work. But I see a lot of good work from all of you and I think the students in our Training Center get better and better every year.

Not everyone can be accepted, but I have noticed a couple of trends in people who were not accepted. There are exceptions to all of this of course. So take the following with a grain of salt.

1) a lot of people just out of 401 didn't get accepted. Even those of you that did very well in your core classes. Often this is due to experience. A lot of the people coming out of 401 have only been doing improv for a year. Some of have been doing it longer, but maybe have only been working on Harolds and game for a short time.
You just need time. You need to do more scenes. More Harolds. More second beats.

2) a lot of people who audition in back to back Academy auditions didn't get in. And generally for the same reason as the last time they auditioned. Whatever was missing 3 months ago is still missing now. When you take 101 and 201 you have huge, seismic growths in your improv ability. But by 401 your improvements are more gradual. You understand the concepts, but getting to the point where they are ingrained and feel natural on a consistent basis is tough. You aren't going to change a lot as an improviser in a short time.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't audition if you just got out of 401. Maybe you have been improvising for years before UCB. That, combined with doing well in 401 is a good sign to audition. Maybe you want to audition right out of 401 so you can see what it's like. That's not terrible, though remember if you audition 4 times without being accepted then you can't audition anymore.

That 4 audition limit should also be on your mind if you auditioned before. You could use all 4 auditions in less than a year and a half. Don't do that! Give yourself time to get better. Maybe the last audition was way worse than your average improv scenes so you want to do it again. That seems reasonable. In the end, only you know your whole story. Don't take this observations to be a rule.

The people who do well, on average, are the students who have been improvising for a while. And are getting reps regularly.

So make sure you are getting practice. Either in a practice group, or an indie team, or via Advanced Study Classes. If you can't do those right now, attend the free jams that the UCB (or other theaters) offer. Try to do your best work at all of these places.

If you are practicing or rehearsing with a group that doesn't do Harolds change that. Make sure you practice Harolds in addition to whatever forms you are working on. Or at least work on 2nd beats and game. Even if you just run a Harold with notes at the end of each practice or rehearsal that will help you get stronger at improvising with game, initiating premises, and building ideas that need to be revisited and last.

I do take class notes into account along with your performance in the audition. Both things matter and neither is ignored.

While we discuss all aspects of your performance we often talk a lot about these two areas:

A) Did they play game? - this seems obvious, but it needs to be said. Did you find or build a game in your first beat? Did you play that same game in the second beat. When you do support was it playing or exploring the game in that scene? If you were the voice of reason, did you help the game proceed (don't stop the fun)?

B) Were they believable? - this is an area that I see a lot of people struggle with. Did you react to your scene partner? Did you frame the unusual thing? As a voice of reason, when you said yes to an unusual situation, did you do it in a grounded way? If you were an unusual character, was your behavior grounded in a reality (that means was it a) justified, b) rooted in a POV, or c) an exaggeration of a relatable actions?)

We plan to continue running auditions 3 times a year, so there's no hurry to do the next audition unless you feel ready. There will always be another one around the corner. If you love improv, keep doing it.

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