The Clock is Ticking For Spring Sign-Ups!

A quick warning to anyone who wants to do some Hive Improv in April who isn't already signed up! Now is the time!

Lee White's Characters You Recognize Workshop

Time is running out to join Lee White's Characters You Know Workshop on April 9th. Lee is highly respected as a player and instructor. And you know what? He's a gem of a guy too. It's an honor to have him with Hive whenever we can. Take advantage of this workshop!

Last Chance for Early-Bird Prices!

The deadline for the Early-Bird discounted price of €100 is March 15th (Wednesday) for any course starting in early April! After that point course fees go up to €125 for the very same courses. Don't be a sucker! Included courses are:

Entry Level

Intermediate

Do not delay signing up! The reason we have the Early-Bird discount is because if a course does not have enough students, we might have to cancel it. Making that decision is much easier if everyone is signed up on time. We don't want your €25! We want you to sign up early!

201 Intro to Game w/Josh Telson Selling Out

Heads up to anyone interested, Josh's Intro to Game course only has one spot left. After that one is taken, students will still be allowed to register, but will be added to a wait list. If you haven't noticed the theme of this e-mail, it's this: sign up now!

Curriculum Confusion

If you still have any confusion or complaints about the new curriculum, please get in touch by replying to this e-mail or via the HiveImprov.com contact page (which allows you to get in touch anonymously).

We realize it may be confusing for prior students and we have gone out of our way to make things clear on a case by case basis. If your path still isn't clear, please let us know.

For our most experienced students who have remained dedicated to the community (taking courses, playing in the jam, getting coached on teams, hosting shows) we have tried to make sure that they would be eligible for the upcoming Harold Auditions after no more than one course. If that sounds like you but you are afraid you won't be eligible for Harold Auditions, please let us know.

Thanks and see all of you soon,
Chris

Spring 2017, The Core Curriculum, and Harold Team Auditions

Been a long time comin...

Hard to believe the last post was back in August. That's decades ago in Hive time. Since then we've had 2 sessions and seen 2 Offensive Tournament Champions born! Congrats to Grill Talk (Matilde Keizer, Nacho Sanguinetti, and Trevor Silverstein) and Cunt Hammer (Caroline Clifford, Sara Nere, and Janina Rook) and on Cunt Hammer going on to win the first ever Champions League Champions of the Universe Championship. And congratulations to everyone who had the guts to go head-to-head in the cagematch, arena of mortal improv combat. Now the Spring 2017 session has been rolled out and with some big changes!

Redesign

Maybe you already noticed the little site redesign. The courses and workshops pages have been tossed and now everything is available on the homepage. Even less reason to ever think about clicking anything in that top-right nav bar. (Who the hell is using the forum anyway? DORKS. For that matter, who the hell is reading the news? LOSERS. Who's writing it? DIRTBAGS.) But entry level courses? Intermediary courses? Advanced? 101, 201, 301...WHAT IS ALL THIS!? That, my friends, is the Core Curriculum.

The Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum includes the following courses: 101 Improv Basics, 201 Intro to Game, 301 Grounded Play, and 401 Harold.

We'll now require that all Core Curriculum Courses be taken in order before students are eligible to take Advanced Courses (like 502 The Truth of the Scene). Of course, if a student has prior improv experience we will consider allowing them to skip certain courses on a case by case basis. It will also be up to instructors to decide if students have passed a course and can move on to the next one.

As we transition to this new system, it may be unclear where you stand in the curriculum. Read ahead for an explanation of how we'll handle it. But first...

Hive Harold Team Auditions

We've been tossing it around for a long time and we've finally decided to kick-off Hive Harold Teams starting with our first audition scheduled for early June (we'll have a registration form for you soon).

What does being on a Hive Harold Team mean exactly? First off, Harold Teams will receive free, weekly coaching from Josh, Noah, and I (Chris). Comedy Cafe Berlin will also be booking a one hour Harold Night show for every other Friday at 20:00 before GLB's show. Only Harold Teams will be eligible to play Harold Night. Harold Teams are meant to be the best Hive has to offer and represent everything we teach. We want to make them as strong as possible and we want to show them off!

Being on a Harold Team will also be a commitment. Players who can't show up to practice or shows regularly or otherwise tend to drop the ball will be cut. If you're not ready for that, it might be better not to audition.

We haven't picked a size for a Harold Team or even how many Harold Teams we'll fill. We're going to give everybody a shot, see what we've got, and then put team(s) together.

Harold Team Eligibility

This is where the Core Curriculum kicks back in. Only students who have completed the entire Core Curriculum will be eligible to audition for a Harold Team. And this is where we get back to how we're going to transition courses...

Transitioning To The Core Curriculum

Old courses will be considered equal to new courses according to the following:
Entry Level
Improv Basics = 101 Improv Basics

Intermediary
Harold & Game*/Intro to Game = 201 Intro to Game/151 Game auf Deutsch
The Truth of The Scene = 301 Grounded Play
Advanced Harold & Game = 401 Harold*

*Credit for 401 Harold may be given to some Harold & Game students who have maintained regular practice and show competence with the form. If you took Harold & Game and plan on skipping 401 Harold, get in touch for approval before taking an advanced course or auditioning.

The following are NOT part of the Core Curriculum:
Entry Level
Stand-Up Comedy = 102 Stand-Up Comedy

Advanced
Position Play & The Deconstruction = 501 Position Play & The Deconstruction
(NONE) = 502 The Truth of the Scene (Advanced)
Narrative & The Movie = 503 Narrative & The Movie
Musical Improv = 504 Musical Improv
Sketch Comedy Production = 510A&B Sketch Comedy Production

Before it was possible to take Truth of the Scene without having taken Intro to Game which means that according to the list above, a student may have credit for 301 Grounded Play without having credit for 201 Intro to Game. Some students may have even taken some advanced courses without having taken all of the Core courses. What does that mean?

We are going to require that students who have not completed all courses in the Core Curriculum go back and finish any they may have left out before taking advanced courses or auditioning for Harold Teams. The general exception to that rule is 101 Improv Basics, which only new students will be required to take. We will also make individual exceptions on a case by case basis depending on a student's competency and involvement in the community.

We know many of you in the community quite well and we'll try to reach out to people who we expect to be auditioning for a Harold Team and may need some guidance figuring out what course they should sign up for. We understand this may be confusing.

If you are interested in auditioning or are at all confused about which course you belong in next, please get in touch.

A Note About Passing Students

It might sound harsh that an instructor may not allow a student to pass a course, but where it would most likely apply would be 401 Harold. The Harold is a challenging form but before entering an advanced course, a student should be able to execute it while demonstrating competent improv and comfort playing with a team. It's tough improvising and it will be possible for some to speed through Core courses and get to the end of 401 without necessarily being ready to move beyond it. There is no shame in having to try again.

The best thing to do is show up for class, pay attention, put in the time to practice and perform, and get that stage-time. Between sessions you'll have plenty of time to go to jams, join a practice group, or get on a team and play some shows. This is our way of making sure that every advanced level student can keep up with all of the challenging advanced content and that will ensure a better environment for everyone in those courses.

151 Game auf Deutsch

Hive is largely an English speaking community, but the problem with Berlin is there are so many non-English speakers. Well, we want to welcome them to join the fun, starting with our first full, 8 week course taught in German. 151 Game auf Deutsch will welcome entry level students, but will also allow more experienced students who may be in the German improv community to move ahead of the basics and get to playing Game. Thanks go to Josh and Jakob for organizing it and Jakob for being the course's first instructor. Now if only someone could translate this post.

502 The Truth of the Scene

The old The Truth of the Scene course has joined the Core Curriculum as 301 Grounded Play so every student would benefit from the strong, organic work students were getting in there. That allows us to also offer a more advanced course on the same topic and that's why 502 The Truth of the Scene was added. The parenthetical (Advanced) is just there to help students figure out that it's not the same course they've already taken.

This is some of our favorite improv and some of our best players have come to specialize in this approach. Noah's been wanting this one for a while. Thanks to him for heading it up.

Thanks To The Community

All of these changes are coming because of a community of dedicated improvisers who have participated with Hive and through their passion and effort, brought us to the point where we can take the steps to kick it up a notch. Thank you for being a part of our common project as we push the boundaries of improv in Berlin.

Chris J. Rock

Growth, Why Sketch is Invite-Only, and How You Can Join In

I should start by pointing you to the workshops page if you haven't already noticed that Dylan Snowden will be visiting us from UCBTNY and teaching 2 sketch workshops. If you haven't gotten your chance to participate in Hive's sketch course, this is a perfect opportunity for you to get some valuable experience, and if you have, I encourage you to take in some outside influence. I am far from the last word on sketch comedy.

My last post here was over 9 months ago, in December. But at least I have an excuse. It was in January that I started my current day job. I'm building Virtual Reality experiences and I love it, but having a full time job, in addition to performing 1-3 times a week, teaching, and just doing the Hive homework to keep things chugging along can really take it out of me. Especially when my day job is something I can easily put overtime into, not just because sometimes it's necessary, but because sometimes I just want to. Lately, I've been burning at both ends and it's taking a toll. I apologize if any of you have wanted Hive to be snappier lately. Sometimes I just choose rest over a longer night and that means something's got to give. Oh yeah, and I've been working on sketches for The Weird Show, which brings me to my point.

Last year, I taught an unannounced, invite-only sketch course between the Fall and Winter sessions. It was my first time doing it and I wanted to see how it went with only the strongest students present for many reasons. That class became The Weird Show and I'm very proud of the work. I was happy enough with their show that I couldn't resist getting involved with them myself over the summer. This coming Fall, I'll be teaching the next Hive sketch course and we've got a great group.

I never liked things like "Harold Team Auditions" at UCB or iO or for the Second City Main Stage or ComedySportz. I didn't like the hand of God coming down and tampering with the chemistry of the art, the scene, or individual friendships, and necessary or not, I felt it resulted in a lot of collateral damage: destructive competition, jealousy, self-doubt, almost embracing a class system. Now I've chosen to do that exact thing with Hive Sketch by making it invite-only.

In LA, I was fortunate enough to witness first-hand the growth of The Pack Theatre and near enough to Miles, Brian, Emily, Eric, and Heather to learn a lot more than just improv and sketch, including picking up a few things about how to grow a community around our craft. Noah and I have discussed this extensively and have considered the symbiosis between CCB and Hive to be necessary to our community. What we need now is more performing talent putting up more great shows. Meeting that goal is my main concern.

I believe that building shows out of our strongest students is the best way to demonstrate our work to the public, attract more students, inspire current students, and most importantly foster the spontaneous development of new shows.

I don't want Hive to be the Hand of God, picking who will get stage time. I want students to know that if they want a stage and we're not giving it to them, they can get it themselves anywhere in the city and make something happen. That's not competition for Hive or CCB or ComedySportz, that's growing the community and it will be good for everyone involved. I realize that building shows out of invite-only courses teaches a dangerous lesson that may go against encouraging a self-reliant community, but I believe that the few students that we have time to focus on at this stage can become community leaders and will have the power to propagate the experiences they've had by starting shows themselves and that others may follow in their footsteps.

LA has a strong indie improv scene and there isn't a dependence on theatres to validate student work before students organize themselves and get to it. Chicago didn't have that in the old days and the stories of great players being managed by theatres always sounded unhealthy to me. There's a lot of growth that happens when students are expected to be leaders. I don't want to copy what's in LA because it's far from a perfect scene, but the indie presence there is something I would like to see in Berlin and I hope we're doing what we can to make it happen.

For a long time, Good Luck, Barbara! was the only game in town. Over a year ago, the formation of Guillotine was a huge step in the right direction. Then came The Weird Show. Next was Hotbox. All of those teams have killed huge crowds at CCB. The CCB jam has given a lot of new faces valuable stage-time. This Saturday we'll be wrapping up the final round of The August Offensive, our first cagematch style, competitive longform tournament. I loved the buzz around that tournament and that it got a lot of people on stage for the first time on a self-selected team. I would love to see the next Sketch course stick together too. I'm also considering skipping any teaching in the 2017 Spring session to focus on show production and to take advantage of the new talent that's available.

As I said at the top, we'll be having Dylan Snowden in to teach sketch. Sketch experience is really valuable, even if you want to stick to improv, and I hope that anyone who hasn't been invited to Hive Sketch will have the opportunity to participate in Snowden's workshop. The Beginners workshop is meant for absolutely anyone. The Intermediate workshop is meant for former and upcoming students of the sketch workshop, but also open to anyone with significant improv experience or stand-up comedians. There will be more sketch opportunities in the future so if you're got a hunger for it, just sit tight. We've got stuff in the works.

Now I need some sleep.

See ya this weekend at CCB, dudes,
Chris