iO West Intensive Program vs. Non-Intensive

September 5, 2015

Aurora with head back in the hot dog eating constest in the iO west grad show
(photo from my iO west intensive grad show)

Now that we’ve taken a break from improv and comedy and such, I’m ready to get back to talking about it for just a lil’ while longer – posting some of my drafts that have been hanging out.

So, what’s the difference between the intensive program and the regular one?

It’s hard for me to say completely, because I did the intensive – not a regular one. But I have taken normal-length classes at the Groundlings. I can understand some of the differences, and give you my point of view based on my experience.

The intensive is obviously tough and time consuming. If your brain is kind of melting one day, you still have to get up and do it again for 6 1/2 more hours the next day (unless it’s Thursday and you have your three-day weekend).

That can possibly be a good thing, because you don’t have that much time to get wrapped up in your head or to live in mind-squalor if things aren’t going great. But it can also be a bad thing if you’re struggling and don’t get a break from it.

Crosby and Aurora as happy couple in grad show
(another photo from the grad show)

As I said, only half my class showed up to the last day of week 4. We were struggling. We were tired. And some people took the day off.

It is nice to work your way through so many levels so quickly. But I do wonder how much better can you get in such a short time? I know there’s the whole 10,000 hour thing. But do you need to space those hours out at all for them to work? Or is it better to have them together?

I definitely saw people grow throughout class. But did we grow as much as we could if lessons had been spread out? Or would we not have grown as much because we had so much time between class periods? I don’t know.

People come from all over the country (and sometimes the world) to take the summer intensive. So, you will most likely meet some new interesting friends. In some ways, it does seem nicer for the people who came in just to focus only on that for 5 weeks.

There’s something about going to tons of shows, just studying improv all the time that seems cool. I always had to jet to work right at the end of class. Sometimes I felt a little like I was missing out…

people looking exhausted and listening in intensive grad show at iO westBut, we did often have lunch in big groups. When you’re in a 3-hour improv class, often times people will talk about going to lunch or doing something together and it doesn’t materialize.But when you’re all just taking a break together and you’ll come back to class…

I assumed we’d want our own space and want time for errands and such. But by and large (especially by the second week), we often had lunch together (though that waned a little sometimes in week four and five). So, there was nice camaraderie in the intensive.

There is a special show called Honor Roll where students from different levels are chosen to show their stuff in a show on the mainstage. When you’re in the intensive the opportunity to try to be one of the best and earn a spot in Honor Roll is gone to you. It’s a small thing, but still putting that out there.

If you have questions or opinions on intensive vs. normal class structure, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?