iO WEST TRAINING CENTER
The goal of iO West’s improv training program is to teach you how to improvise, whether its on stage or on camera, understanding all of the mechanics of listening and building off of other people’s ideas to create absolutely anything.
iO West also offers sketch and TV writing classes, as well as a wide range of other comedy-related electives. All available classes are listed below.
Summer Intensive (5 Weeks) – $1400
Begins Monday, 7/14/14 – 11:30 AM – DCT
Level 1 July 14 – 17 – Dave Hill
Level 2 July 21 – 24 – Brian O’Connell & Kevin Fleming
Level 3 July 28 – July 31 – Brian Jack
Level 4 August 4 – August 7 – Craig Cackowski
Level 5 August 11 – August 14 – Megan Grano
All classes begin at 11:30 AM
Level 1 – Introduction To Improv (7 Weeks) – $350
Mondays – 7/28/14 – 7:00 PM – L – Brian O’Connell
Tuesdays – 7/29/14 – 3:00 PM – L – James Mastraieni
Wednesdays – 7/30/14 – 7:00 PM – L – Mike Coen
Thursdays – 7/31/14 – 7:00 PM – L – Paul Vaillancourt
Saturday – 8/2/14 – 11:30 AM – L – Sean Cowhig
Level 2 – Character & Game (7 Weeks) – $350
Mondays – 7/28/14 – 7:00 PM – L – Holly Laurent
Thursdays – 7/31/14 – 6:30 PM – L – Greg Hess
Saturday – 8/2/14 – 3:00 PM – L – James Mastraieni
Sunday – 8/3/14 – 3:00 PM – S2 – Brett Elam
Level 3 – Intro to Harold (7 Weeks) – $350
Tuesdays – 7/29/14 – 7:00 PM – S2 – Brian Jack
Wednesdays – 7/30/14 – 7:00 PM – DCT – Paul Vaillancourt
Sunday – 8/3/14 – 3:00 PM – L – Zach Huddleston
Level 4 – Advanced Scene Work (7 Weeks) – $350
Tuesdays – 7/29/14 – 7:00 PM – L – Craig Cackowski
Wednesdays – 7/30/14 – 7:00 PM – S2 – Craig Cackowski
Saturday – 8/2/14 – 11:30 AM – S2 – Shulie Cowen
Level 5 – Harold (7 Weeks) – $350
Mondays – 7/28/14 – 7:00 PM – DCT – Katie Nahnsen
Saturday – 8/2/14 – 11:30 AM – L – Nate Sherman
Level 6 – Advanced Harold (7 Weeks) – $350
Tuesdays – 7/29/14 – 7:00 PM – DCT – Dave Hill
Sunday – 8/3/14 – 3:00 PM – DCT – Brian Jack
Level 7 – Graduate Level – Creating Your Own Show (7 Weeks) – $350
Thursdays – 7/31/14 – 6:30 PM – DCT – Holly Laurent
SKETCH WRITING LEVEL 1 (7 Weeks) – $350
This class teaches the basics of sketch writing. What makes the premise of your sketch funny? Learn heightening and writing efficiently in your scenes. Different types of sketches will be introduced as will rewriting sketches, and writing with others. There will be home-work assignments each week. No prerequisite to start this class (Level 1 Improv is recommended)
Thursdays – 7/31/14 – 7:00 PM – WR – George McAuliffe
Saturdays – 8/2/14 – 12:00 PM – WR – Mark Vannier
SKETCH WRITING LEVEL 2 (7 Weeks) – $350
Students will build on the skills learned in Sketch 1 to generate material for stage and television. Notes from the instructor will become more specific and focused on producing professional sketches. The final weeks of class will focus on writing for Saturday Night Live and Television Talk shows like Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Sundays – 8/3/14 – 12:00 PM – WR – Mark Vannier
WRITING PROGRAM ELECTIVES:
Pilot Writing 1 (7 Weeks) – $350
CREATE YOUR OWN SERIES – People always complain about what’s on television but nobody does anything about it. Until NOW! More and more networks and executives are starting to look beyond their typical yearly development for fresh, unique and original voices with a script with the potential of becoming the next cutting edge series. The philosophy is simple: build it and they will come. But creating the next HIT spec takes a lot more than just having a great idea. The “magic” goes in crafting a catchy concept, engaging characters and an involving story that brings the brilliance to light. Learn from a seasoned television writer with three network pilot sales under his belt, not to mention years of experience on staff as well as a studio executive, to take you from concept to reality. In a writer’s room setting, this seven-week course takes aspiring creators through the process of what it takes from realizing a brilliant idea into a sellable pilot script that will get others to take notice.
Mondays – 7/28/14 – 7:00 PM – Writers Room – Mark Amato
Spec Writing (7 Weeks) – $350
IT ALL STARTS WITH THE SPEC – Staffing season is around the corner and if you’re serious about trying to break in the lucrative world of comedy writing, you need an eye catching, knee slapping, laugh-out-loud original half hour spec script. But in order to turn heads, you have to get people to turn pages first. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to up your game and create the best half hour spec script of your career so you can get agents and executives to take notice, this course is for you. Students work in a writer’s room setting as a seasoned pro helps you learn the skills to craft the perfect spec script. Good is the enemy of great as you will discover the tricks to tap into your inner BRILLIANCE. Working in a collaborative “writer’s room” setting, this seven-week course will help you focus on first creating a concept for a story, then focuses on working out the beats into a comprehensive outline so you can sit down and write a dynamite spec that will get you noticed. Whether you want to write for mainstream comedies like MODERN FAMILY or BIG BANG THEORY or for fringe shows like WORKAHOLICS or LOUIS C.K., this course will demystify the process of developing a spec that is so crisp, fresh and funny, you’ll truly understand what it means when writer’s say the script “wrote itself”.
Tuesdays – 7/29/14 – 7:00 PM – Writers Room – Mark Amato
Comedy Writers Room (7 Weeks) – $350
Before trying to write a comedy spec script on your own, learn the fundamentals of the craft — character, structure, tone, form, content, joke-writing, etc. — in a group setting from a working professional. The instructor, Ed Lee, has spent over a decade working in professional sitcom writers’ rooms, and has intimate knowledge of every stage of the process that goes into making a sitcom script work. By emulating this process in class, students will leave armed with an education in how the pros get it done. At the end of the session, the entire class will have taken part in writing one polished, punched-up script of an existing show, and each student will develop the skills necessary to thrive in a writers’ room and continue writing better scripts on his or her own.
After dissecting and analyzing episodes of an existing show, students will experience the writing of a new script through every phase: pitching, outlining, writing, rewriting, and punch-up. The instructor will provide the class with production drafts of the show being written, oversee the writers’ room, and give individualized attention to each student. In addition, other professional working writers will be asked for notes on the material and will be invited to sit in on classes. Students will also be invited to table reads of shows currently on the air. Whether you’ve never written a comedy spec script before or you’ve written many, this class will give you the tools to become a better writer.
Recent students have gone on to win paid writing fellowships and have procured representation based on spec scripts written after taking this class, using the education this class provided them.
What past students have said about Comedy Writers’ Room:
“It gave me a methodical, pragmatic, step-by-step structure and approach to writing a spec script.”
“This class demystified writing a comedy.”
“The collaborative process was invaluable; quite a learning experience!”
Wednesdays – 7/30/14 – 7:00 PM – WR – Ed Lee
Screenplay Writing (7 Weeks)- $350
Intended for students new to the screenwriting process, this course grounds you in the crucial elements of story structure, plot, scene development, character, theme, genre, and dialogue, and shows you how they work together to create a compelling film experience. You learn how to create and evaluate loglines and story ideas; explore how characters’ inner wants and immediate goals shape and drive a screenplay’s action; see what constitutes compelling plots and subplots; and learn how to construct a scene. Throughout the course, you complete a series of exercises which serve as the basis for your script outline, a prose description of your screenplay. The course goal is to create a 4-5 page outline which clearly delineates your script’s beginning, middle, and end. The ability to write an effective outline is a critical skill for the professional screenwriter, serves as the basis for most pitches, and is crucial part of the screenwriting process.
Sundays – 8/3//14 – 3:00 PM – WR – Craig Cox
CHARACTER WORKSHOP (2 Days) – $200
No matter the scene in improv it’s always more fun when you’ve created a great character! In this workshop we’ll explore several different keys to creating fun and interesting characters as well as how to help them develop throughout a scene. Finally, we’ll give these skills a playground for you to test them out with some character-friendly long-form work! Come and get some character with one of iO’s most experienced teachers!
Here’s what some of Dave’s students had to say about the last workshop:
“…all of the diagnostics we did helped me discover more about who I am and [how] I can use those traits to heighten or play when building characters….I am so happy I decided to take the workshop and it was such a wonderful experience!”
“Everything I’ve learned in [these] classes has already proven useful in a myriad of ways. Good character work really does make so many other things, from finding the game to coming up with second beats in a Harold, so much easier.”
Saturday – 7/19/14 – 12:00 PM – MS – Dave Hill
Sunday – 7/20/14 – 12:00 PM – S2 – Dave Hill
STORYTELLING (4 Weeks) – $200
Learn how to use your untapped humanity and embarrassing moments in a way that can reach a wide audience. You will finish this class able to fill in the blank, “
-———— is the story of my life.” Each student leaves class with a six-ten minute showcase-able set of autobiographical material. The first half of the class is filled with fun exercises to derive all the life experience that already lies within you. From that hilarious material, you will find your final piece. The last two weeks of the class focuses on polishing and perfecting your story, which will stand alone in the class show, but can also be a part of a bigger solo work. Learn to dig inside your own life to find humorous, relateable, material, which unifies an audience by making them laugh at their own experiences through your brave performance. Additional focus is on getting through the fear of being judged for our honesty, and true life experiences. In the past, many students have gone on to produce autobiographical one person shows, win at the Moth Storyslams, perform on the storytelling circuit, or complete their memoir.
Tuesdays – 8/12/14 – 12:00 PM – Mainstage – Margot Leitman
HAROLD WORKSHOP (1 Day) – $30
To audition for a Harold team, you must have been on a Harold team or graduated the program in the past 365 days. If you have been away from the theater for the past 365 days, you must take our Harold Workshop elective to be considered for an audition.
Students in levels 5, 6 and 7 may also sign up for the workshop to be considered. Taking this workshop does NOT guarantee you an audition slot. This will be based solely on the recommendation of the workshop teacher.
Friday – 8/1/14 – 4:00 PM – MS – George McAuliffe
Class show to follow at 6:30 in DCT
Sunday – 8/3/14 – 7:00 PM – L – George McAufliffe
Class show to follow at 9:30 in The Loft
UNDERSTANDING COMEDY: THE RULES (1 Day – 3 hours) – $50
David Misch (Mork and Mindy, Saturday Night Live, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Funny: The Book / Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Comedy) presents a one-day seminar aimed at show business professionals – actors, writers, directors, producers, grips, best boys, great girls, terrific transgenders; whether just starting out or with years in the business, specializing in comedy or drama… in fact, anyone who wants to learn how comedy works.
Please note: This class comes with an ironclad guarantee that it will impart no usable skills.
Okay, that could be an exaggeration, but “The Rules” is part of “Practical Foundations of Comedy”, a course with the same guarantee which David’s taught at USC, UCLA, Columbia University, Oxford University (where he is known as “Lord Misch”) and elsewhere. The class involves no direct instruction but rather presents a critical, and serious (though funny), exploration of comedy as an art form, the idea being that understanding it will help you do it better.
Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Topics covered include the Rule of 3 (Why are things funnier in threes? Really, why? I mean, why?); the relationship between Comedy and Logic (hint: they’re bitter enemies); the calculations involved in timing; comedy cues, and why withholding them is sometimes the best way to get a laugh; why your body is hilarious; the evil of punchlines; comedy “placebos”; and how the mechanics of jokes – tension and resolution, pattern recognition, misdirection, and surprise – provide a template for all humor.
As for practical applications, the presentation includes copious clips from TV and movies which show how these principles of comedy translate into actual laughter. So forget all that stuff about no usable skills.
Descriptions of these classes are on our CURRICULUM page
Any questions please e-mail LAclasses@ioimprov.com
FYI – We also offer payment plans, if you need to split up your payments. If interested, please e-mail LAclasses@ioimprov.com
(L) = The Loft (Enter on Cosmo St.)
(DCT) = Del Close Theatre (Enter Cosmo St.)
(S2) = Studio 2 Classroom (Enter Cosmo St.)
(WR) = Writers’ Room (Enter Cosmo St.)
(MS) = Mainstage (Enter Hollywood Blvd.)
INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR CLASSES
iO West’s internship program allows students to work at the theatre in exchange for improv classes.
Internships are only available to currently enrolled students.
Please do not submit if you’re not enrolled in classes.
If you are interested in an internship, please fill out an application and return to the iO West Office or Box Office.
Applications can also be emailed to email@example.com .
To download the internship application Click Here
Please call the Training Center with any additional questions! 323-962-7560.