The FCI Graduate Program

The path from graduate to house team member is the GPA, the Graduate’s Performing Academy

We asked ourselves, “how do we give more opportunities to Level 6 grads so they can keep learning, keep playing, and of course… keep laughing together?! And, help them get ready to become an awesome FCI House Team?”

The GPA is our answer! This program gives our talented graduates an opportunity to enroll in a graduate program led by our most veteran instructors and develop into our next house team playing every other week.

What is The GPA?

  • First and foremost it’s a way to join a group of dedicated grads to keep learning, playing, and laughing regularly.
  • You will get a hybrid of teaching and coaching by one of our veteran teachers. The first 4 months of teaching is the “Grad Performer’s Academy (GPA)”. Your team will play twice a month and receive notes and coaching from your instructor.
  • For the next 6-months, you operate just like a house team as a “Junior House Team” with great show slots on a set night of the week (or we might try you in a few different slots). You rehearse every week and play twice a month.
  • After your initial 6-month run you have the possibility of becoming an established house team with offers of additional 6-month runs.
  • All the details are below!

2022 Application Deadlines

2022 Term 1 Cohort (starts Jan 15, 2022). Deadline = 12/11/21

2022 Term 5 Cohort (starts 3rd week of August 2022). Deadline = 7/24/22

Program Goals

  1. To provide a path for students to transition to performers with consistent rehearsal, mentoring, and performing.
  2. To provide graduates with a way to gain the fundamental skills needed to develop into advanced improvisers/entertainers and be a part of an improv ensemble.  
  3. To develop improvisers that can perform key improv forms similar to those that FCI house teams perform and fill future spots on our teams.

Enrollment & Acceptance

  • Current level 6 students and all previous graduates are eligible to apply.
  • Early in Level 6, all students will be given the chance to apply to the GPA and will be notified of acceptance 1-2 weeks before their graduation. 
  • To apply, students simply express their interest via the online form.  Staff then has all applicants’ current instructors and Levels 4-6 instructors rate students based on their demonstrated skills and potential in the class that they taught them.  Staff averages these and ranks all students confidentially. Artistic Directors review and select the cohort.
  • GPA cohorts consisting of up to 11 students are formed twice a year.  Additional cohorts may be made depending on schedule, space, and number of program participants.
  • We may periodically hold a special audition to assess experienced improvisers who have not completed Level 6 or graduated from our program more than 9 months before the program’s start date.
  • FCI will keep a “waiting list” of those who qualified but cannot participate.  Graduates may stay on this list for up to 1 year and will be called if space is available.

The Commitment

  • If accepted into the GPA you commit to 4 months (2 training center terms) of classes with shows twice a month, followed by 6 months as a junior house team member rehearsing and playing every other week.
  • Graduate Performer’s Academy (GPA) period
    • You will meet on the same schedule as the training center terms
    • 7 weeks of classes with a one-week break (usually) in between.  
    • The classes are 2 hours long.  14 classes. 
    • You will perform two evenings a month for four months.
  • Junior House Team period
    • Team rehearses every week (with breaks when needed)
    • Team performs every other week
    • Rehearsals will likely be on the same day and time as your GPA classes were (not guaranteed but most likely)

After Your Junior House Team Run

  • FCI will track the progress of the team over the 6-month run.  We will invite teams that successfully build an audience and consistently put on a high-quality show to become an established house team and extend their run an additional 6 months. (specific metrics will be provided)
  • We will continue to review teams every 4-6 months.
  • The teams that consistently get positive audience feedback and attendance will continue as long as the schedule and our programming goals allow.
  • FCI will not be able to guarantee a consistent rehearsal space after the completion of your house team’s 6-month run but will work with you to offer space when available.

Costs

  • GPA 
    • GPA costs the same as core classes, but you get more shows and more benefits.  
    • You can choose to pay $420 upfront or 2 payments of $225
    • Once accepted into the program, you will be sent a registration link.
  • Junior House and House Team Runs
    • You pay us nothing.
    • You pay your share of coaching fees directly to your coach (fees for coaching are set by FCI to be the same for all house teams).
    • We pay for your guaranteed rehearsal space during the initial 2 months.
  • Can I get a scholarship?
    • Yes! We give priority for work-study positions to GPA participants.  2 per cohort are available. We prioritize those who want to learn to run tech for shows.  Work-study shifts are 4-6 hours at least every other week. 56 hours are needed for the GPA program. 
    • Periodically, we have full or partial financial scholarships sponsored by community members. If you are unable to participate in work-study please let us know.

Some Cool Extra Member Benefits

  • During your GPA time you get a Performer’s card which gets you a ton of free shows (because we require you to see a ton of shows) just like house team members. It also gets you 15% discount on all workshops and FCI merchandise.
  • Once you “level up” to your junior house team, we will take your photo, and you will be added to our online performer’s gallery.
  • As a team member, you are also invited to special team building events and social functions throughout the year.

Instructors and Staff

  • GPA is taught by one or two of our experienced teachers. These teachers have been playing for 4 or more years, have been teaching core classes, and continue to work on their craft by taking workshops, teaching at festivals, and other professional development activities.
  • The instructors are mentored by Artistic Director Amy Lisewski and Assistant Artistic Director Skyler Lee.  The curriculum was created by Amy Lisewski based on three previous Conservatory sessions.
  • House teams are coached by senior house team members that express interest in coaching and teaching.  They are mentored by Artistic Director Amy Lisewski.  All house team coaches and teachers attend meetings to discuss and improve upon teaching methods and understand the goals, policies, and procedures.
  • All coaches and teachers complete a State of CA compliant sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training course prior to the start of their duties.

GPA class Goals and Topics

Cohort (team) Goals

  1. Work together as a team to have fun on stage while presenting an entertaining and fun show for the audience.
  2. Support each other in rehearsals by participating fully in all aspects of rehearsals and regularly communicating with coaches about any barriers to growth or team cohesion.
  3. Represent the emerging talent of FCI and FCI’s core values.
  4. Improve their ability to present The Harold, Armando, and other improv forms through consistent practice and feedback.

INDIVIDUAL PERFORMER GOALS

  • Every individual will demonstrate behaviors that contribute to being a productive and valued member of an improv team (attendance, support, etc.) 
  • Every individual will demonstrate their ability to collaborate with other team members to create an ensemble-driven show
  • Every individual will define and review two individual improv goals in writing with their instructor every two months.  (Instructors will tailor exercises and side-coaching to assist players in meeting these goals and incorporate feedback about individual goals into show notes where applicable. Instructors will also provide direct feedback one-on-one with each player on these goals at the ends of months 1 and 3.) 

What You Will Learn

Here’s a few of the main issues and topics our senior instructors will work with you on.  These are many of the same lessons that were used in our Conservatory. 

Yes… we make you read and watch shows outside of class time!

  • What is improv and where did it come from (know your history!)
  • What can we learn from actor training that will help us perform?  
  • Developing a practice of non-judgement and full presence in your play 
  • Playing at the top of your intelligence
  • Expanding environment and object work
  • Expanding our character choices
  • Identifying game and heightening without getting bogged down in “finding jokes”
  • How do you deliver a great show intro to set the right tone?
  • More ways to get suggestions so the audience loves you from the start!
  • What is your “promise” the your audience?
  • Using openings to create momentum, set the tone, and invite your audience.
  • What is the message of your scene and/or shows?  Even if you aren’t going for one, it has one!  
  • Typical Traps and BSwhat screams “rookie” to you?  How do we up our game? What do you wish you knew 5 years ago? (or what can we tell you know so you don’t have to wait 5 years to “get it”)?
  • How to take care of yourself before, during, after, and in-between shows
  • How to take care of your ensemble and be an awesome part of a team
  • How to ensure you are getting what you need from a coach
  • What makes you a fantastic performer?
  • How to use your voice and body to communicate more comprehensively
  • Recognizing and using patterns and connections of the show.  
  • Letting the show be inspired by and not hampered by the form
  • What’s happening over there on the lighting and sound booth?
  • And.. we will practice lots of forms!
  • In your house team run you will perform a specific form (tbd by GPA instructor) while playing with and learning additional forms that you and your coach decide on.