Here is a brief outline of TOTE’s casting policies.
TOTE is actively trying to balance our twin goals of giving people experience and maintaining the quality of our shows. Our casting policies reflect that balance.
TOTE has the concept of a “casting pool“, which is the set of people who are eligible to be cast in our regular weekly shows. The people in the casting pool receive email messages once a month asking for their availability.
Joining the Casting Pool
In order to join the casting pool, the first step is to complete our Level 2 improv course or an equivalent training program elsewhere.
The second step depends on where you trained:
- If you received your improv training through TOTE, you should perform in one of our Showcase shows to demonstrate your comfort on stage and a basic level of skill. You must then be invited to join the casting pool by the creative team.
- If you received your improv training elsewhere, you should put your name in the bucket for one of our Improv Jams to demonstrate your basic skills, and get your instructor to email our creative team to confirm that you’re performance-ready.
Once in the casting pool, you will initially only be eligible to be cast in certain specific show formats (e.g. the Big Game, Team vs Team, etc). As you gain confidence and skill, you will become eligible to be cast in other show formats.
Leaving the Casting Pool
Note that if you do not make yourself available to perform (or host, or do lights or sound or FOH) in a regular weekly TOTE show for a period of six months, you are removed from the casting pool in order to make room for new people. This process is automatic, and you don’t need to do anything.
If you are planning to be unavailable for casting for an extended period of time, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t notify us, and don’t respond to the casting call for three consecutive months, you may be removed from the casting pool.
Returning to the Casting Pool
If you’ve only been gone for a short time (typically six months to a year), you will be asked to perform in one of the Showcase shows or put your name in the bucket for the Improv Jam. After that it will be up to the creative team to decide if you’re ready to be cast in the regular shows. They may recommend you participate in a Big Game as an intermediate step.
If you’ve been gone for an extended period of time (typically a year or more), you are considered to be a revenant and will be expected to take a Level 2 or Level 3 improv class in order to ensure that your skills are sharp and current. After you complete the course, the procedure is the same as described above under “joining the casting pool”.
All of this is for your benefit, as well as the benefit of TOTE. It will not only ensure that you’re performance-ready, it will also allow you to become part of a cohort of students who will be joining the casting pool.
If this seems unfair, consider this… if you showed up at an improv troupe in another city where nobody knows you, you wouldn’t expect them to cast you in their shows. It’s like that.
Rare exceptions to the above policies can be made at the discretion of the creative team. In particular, improv troupes that join us from elsewhere are obviously exempt from these policies, as are occasional special guests.