“What’s It Like To Audition For Basic At The Groundlings?”

Friday, March 1st, 2013
Photo Credit: BusinessInsider.com

Photo Credit: BusinessInsider.com

Another question time with another answer.

People have happened upon my blog asking, “How hard is the Groundlings audition to get into Basic?”

You’ve got questions? I’ve got opinions.

Rewind back before I took Basic, when I first had to audition to get in.

First, let me just tell you that if you’re one of the people googling whether or not to audition – I think you probably should. I don’t know you, so what do I know? But if you care enough to research The Groundlings – if you have the passion going on, just audition.

The audition is super chill. I didn’t even have a headshot! For my picture, I think I brought in some black-and-white silly, pouty, way over-dramatized Glamour Shot from 8th grade.

My resume had next to nothing on it. (Well, I mean, I am (very over-exaggerated snooty voice) a member of AEA.)

But seriously, I had extremely few credits. (And they’re mainly all from school or small regional theaters.) I had a couple of acting-type jobs (example: Santa’s elf at Macy’s at Christmas time) that I put on there, just to try to cut out some of the white space. (A piece of paper can look so large when you have nothing to fill it with.)

If you’ve read any of my other entries about my time at The Groundlings, you would know that I am a horrible improviser – and that horrible doesn’t begin to cover it. So, I wasn’t expecting anything good, but why not at least try? After all, the description just says that Basic is for people who can act (meaning, not necessarily, people who can already improv, right?). I convinced myself that they didn’t need amazing improvisers just for Basic – it’s a class on the basics, by golly. I was auditioning to take a class.

The audition was fun. I loved it. It’s run just like a class. Drew Droege led mine. (Side note: He has an amazing, hilarious podcast called Glitter in the Garbage, and you should check it out.)

My understanding is that lots of different Groundlings teachers run the auditions, so there are many different options for who might run yours. (Between my audition, Basic classes, and drop-ins, I had at least 7 great teachers, so I think the odds are probably in your favor that you’ll have someone pretty rad.)

So you go in and hand over your brilliant headshot and resume. Then I think there are a couple of warm-ups, a couple of scenes, and you’re done.

Some groundlings. (Credit: StageAndCinema.com)

Some groundlings.
(Credit: StageAndCinema.com)

I’m obviously not a teacher there, so I’m talking all hearsay and opinions right now, but my understanding is that they’re mainly looking for people who aren’t afraid to be onstage, look other humans in the eyes, and show big emotions in their scenes.

I think they want people who are generally pleasant to be around, and seem to listen pretty well. The teacher will do side-coaching. So, it might be good to try and listen to (and take) his or her notes. Basically, just go in and have fun. For all intents and purposes, you’re kind of getting a free class – so enjoy that!

This isn’t just a time for The Groundlings to see whether they like you. This will be a great way for you to see whether you like the Groundlings. (If you don’t like the audition, you probably won’t like class, ‘cause they are extremely similar.)

You’re told soon after – within a day or two – whether or not you passed the audition. I was pretty sure that there was no way I was passing, so I was oh so very pleasantly surprised (shocked and stoked) when I got my email.

My main advice (if you want it) is that you pretty much have nothing to lose, so why not just go try? (I say “pretty much” because I think you only do have 3 chances… So, be sort of careful. But, you can kind of burn one off without too many consequences, I think.)

If you don’t pass the audition, I think you have to wait 6 months before you can audition again. That’d be a great time to take Workshop A (and B, maybe).

(Those two classes have a lot of the same or similar exercises as Basic. So, if you don’t pass your audition, I’d imagine those classes would be extremely helpful in preparing for your second audition. (And you can take A + B as often as you’d like in case you want to super master them before your next audition.)

The moral of the story is if you’re looking up stories of auditioning at the Groundlings, just go do it. Why not?

11 thoughts on ““What’s It Like To Audition For Basic At The Groundlings?”

  1. Tom Zercher

    My daughter, Emily, is interested in pursuing a career in screen writing and improv. She is currently a college student, just finishing her AA degree. She has had full scholarship in State of Florida due to her academic achievements. She also was associated with the Young Americans, and toured for 2 years, before returning to Fla. to pursue her education. She is interested in Groundlings and I am encouraging her to learn more about it….before she takes the big step of moving to California, and possibly not finishing her degree. Please email me at [email address removed by moderator to protect the commenter from internet spam… but rest assured she did email him], to learn more about the opportunities with your school, and the future career opportunities available. Thanks.

  2. Elizabeth

    So, I have absolutely no theater experience (unless you count doing fluffy, rated PG skits for about 15 to 20 elementary kids at your church), but besides that, I was never a theater kid in high school (for the record, I really wanted to be). It’s biting me in the ass now because all I want to do is write for TV, specifically comedy, and I know having performance experience would really help. I’m trying to get some more experience now going into my sophomore year, but I would love some insight from someone on the inside.

    1. Aurora De Lucia Post author

      Hey Elizabeth!

      Thanks for writing. I think performing experience can always help. My feeling is any time you want to do anything at all – seeing that thing from as many angles as possible can only help to enhance your understanding of it.

      There is *always* some place where you can perform – there’s a class or a community theater production, or heck you could put on a show yourself if there aren’t a lot of arts opportunities where you live. So, find what works for you, and what you enjoy. 🙂

      But if you really want to write, make sure you don’t lose that. The extra stuff is fun and somewhat important, but ultimately, you need to hone your skill and have scripts you’re not afraid to show off at a moment’s notice. 🙂

      Good luck in your endeavors, and thanks so much for commenting!

  3. Grace

    Can you audition even if you are foreign citizen. I’m fairly f&€kin funny and I’d love a shot but I’m a European citizen. Was thinking of going for a holiday and having a go. Possible? Thanks

  4. Scott

    Hey Aurora,

    My name is Scott, so nice to meet you (virtually lol) I go to USC and major in Theatre. I took a couple Improv classes my freshman year and did really well. I haven’t had any Improv classes the past 2 years, but I am curious on what kind of exercises you do in the audition?

    Thank you!

    1. Aurora De Lucia Post author

      Hey Scott! Just two person scenes… Usually you’d get either a relationship or place or some suggestion along those lines to start the scene 🙂 Are you planning on auditioning sometime in the near future? 🙂

      1. Scott

        Yes I am! I go to USC and am in an Improv class right now. Just wanted to get a better understanding for the audition so I can be at my best.


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