GAINS! GAINS! GAINS! GAINS!
Hey y’all. Last week I co-hosted my first bit show at UCB Chelsea with Grant O’Brien and David Bluvband, Wes Anderson’s Overly Whimsical Valentine’s Day Show. I learnt a whole bunch of things doing it that I didn’t know before, especially about pitching ideas. Here’s my advice for submitting that I am writing mostly for myself, to remind me to do these things when other bit shows come up.
This seems obvious but really. Just do it. Even if the theme of the show is not super exciting to you, it’s a chance to perform on stage with people you don’t necessarily get to play with on a regular basis.
If you’re worried that you’re “not ready” to submit, don’t be. If you are “in” enough to find out about submissions, you are ready. Don’t hold yourself back. The worst thing that can happen is that your pitch gets rejected.
2) Submit properly thought out games
Make the host’s job easy for them. They are much more likely to accept your idea if it’s fully formed. We’re all busy people. Do your work.
So, if say there were a Star Wars bit show your submission should look like this:
I would like to do a bit where I translate the beeps that R2D2 makes into English and you find out he gets intense sexual pleasure whenever he directly interacts with another machine (eg opening doors on the Death Star, flying in the X-wing with Luke etc). I’d have a powerpoint that I’d make.
And not like this:
I dunno, I just think the beeping noise that R2D2 makes is super funny, something about that?
3) Submit more than one idea
The host is probably looking to create a certain tone for the show, so if you only submit one idea and it doesn’t fit, it probably isn’t going in the show even if it’s a great idea. It also shows that you’ve thought about your ideas and implies that you’re willing to work hard on your bit.
With our show, when people submitted more than one idea, it was the third or fourth idea that we selected. I feel like the last idea that comes out of your mind is usually the best one.
4) Don’t necessarily submit the first thing that pops into your head
Is it obvious? Then three other people probably submitted the same thing.
5) Consider submitting with another person
Hey, you know that person you think is super cool and funny but you never get to work with them because you’re not on the same team? This is your chance! Have fun with your friends on stage!
6) Don’t be a dick if you don’t get in the show
7) Don’t give up if you don’t get in the show
Think your bit is funny? Write it anyway. Put it up somewhere else. Film it. Because fuck it, why not? Get your shit out there.
That’s it. I hope this is helpful.
Siobhan “I love bit shows” Thompson
Some great advice.
What are your favorite improv books, and why?