What is the Boston Annual Improv Tournament? It’s a friendly competition for independent improv team from around the area. Lots of fun, lots of community, lots of laughs...and a real trophy. This is our third year. Last year exceeded all our expectations, so we’re setting the bar even higher this year.
When is BAIT? The shows are on 5 consecutive Sundays from July 23 through August 20. The first four shows are qualifying rounds in the Underground Theater at The Regent Theater in Arlington. The Championship Show is on Sunday August 20 in the Main Theater at The Regent. All shows start at 7:00 pm. Call is 6:30.
What is the format of the show? (THIS IS IMPORTANT) Each team will be asked to present three types of improv “forms” during the show...a long-form for 10 minutes, a short-form for 5 minutes, and a line game for 2.5 minutes.
What’s a long-form? Which one should we do? Maybe you shouldn’t be registering if you don’t know this, but a team can choose any of the standard long-forms that we’re usually familiar with like a Harold, a Close Quarters, an Armando, a Living Room, a free-form montage, or something they’ve made up themselves. You’ll have 10 minutes to do your thing.
And short-form…? Think Whose Line is it Anyway. Party Quirks, Ding/Shoulda Said, 5-Headed Broadway Star, whatever. One or more games that you can complete in 5 minutes.
And the line game? World’s Worst, 185, Sex with Me, I Like My Men are all popular line games. Or you can make up your own. You’ll have 2.5 minutes to make ‘em laugh.
Wait...the Championship Show is in the Main Theater? Yep. Last year the final show drew >200 audience members. This year, we’re shooting for 300+. It’s a little thing we call “heightening.” And any team that performs in the Qualifying shows gets free admission to the Championship show (and all the other Qualifiers).
This is a tournament for independent improv teams. What qualifies as an “independent improv team”? Any team that isn’t part of the regular programming at the main improv theaters in town. So, no current House or NXT teams, no ComedySportz, no current Harold Night, Face-off or Mainstage teams (Studio 40 teams are indie teams, so they ARE eligible to participate). We want to use this tournament to celebrate the hard-working indies who continue to pursue stage time and who are committed to getting better on their own.
Can I just construct an All-Star team for this show only? Sure, if you have a great combo pulled together just for this tournament and you want to showcase, go for it. We’re improv fans, and we want to see the best perform together.
How big is this tournament? We’ll have four weeks of qualifiers, with 6 teams each week. So...24 teams. Six will make the Championship Show. One will win the whole shebang. Could it be you?
How does registration work? You fill out a form. Click the link for Eventbrite. Pick the night that works best for you. Pay the registration fee. You’re in.
What if all the slots are filled? We have slots for 24 teams. If more than that want to participate, and the slots are all full, send up an email at BAITBoston@gmail.com and we’ll put you on the waitlist. We typically have a few teams on the waitlist, and each year a spot opened up.
What’s the $30 (plus processing) registration fee for? We’re renting the Regent Theater in Arlington for five nights. The registration fee goes toward covering some of that cost. We will make up the rest with admission fees. PLUS, when you sign your team up, all its members get free admission to the Championship Show and all the other shows.
Is the registration fee refundable if we can’t make the show? I guess, but cancelling after we’ve cast the show would be kind of sad. If we can fill that slot with another paying team, then we’ll give you the cash back.
So why the Regent Theater in Arlington? It’s a great room. It comes at an affordable price. We played there the last two years, and it was great. It’s relatively easy to get to. It has free parking. Did I mention it’s a great room?
What’s the order? Every team will do their long-forms first, then intermission. Then we come back and every team does the short-forms, then every team does the line games. We’ll randomly choose the order of the groups the night of the show.
What if we go over our time (e.g. our long-form takes 11 minutes)? It won’t happen. You can call your own set at any time. You’ll get a light from us (long-form light at 8 minutes, short-form at 4 minutes). You should wrap up. We’ll start looking for a button at 9 and 4.5 minutes respectively and blackout if we find one, or we’ll do a hard blackout at 10 and 5. For line games, we’ll just blackout at 2.5 minutes.
Why be such a hard-ass on timing? We have 6 teams performing each night, and we need to run a tight ship. You understand. We’ll give you a blackout on a big laugh if we find one because we want a great show, but we can’t go over time.
How do we win our Qualifier Show? (ALSO IMPORTANT) During the Qualifier shows, the audience will vote for who advances. They’ll vote for their top 3 preferences after each round, and the team that gets the most votes for that round gets 6 points, the second highest total gets 5 points, and so on. We’ll announce the top 3 teams after each set. So if you get 18 points (6 points for all three sets), you’re a shoe-in for the Championship week.
What if there’s a tie? Then whichever team got the most total first place votes wins. If it’s still tied, we’ll do live audience voting between the two top teams (or a shootout or something).
What happens when we win our Qualifier? The first place team from each of the qualifying rounds will appear in the Championship Show. We will also select up to two wildcard teams to round out the performance and to reward any teams that could/should have advanced.
How do we win the Championship? For the Championship show only, we will have a panel of respected improv notables judging the show. It will be legit. To win it, you’ll have to show technical skill, have great game, and make ‘em laugh.
What do we get if we win? First of all, you get bragging rights for a whole year...you’ll be the best indie team in Boston. Next, you get to use the 2017 BAIT Champion logo in your marketing (that’ll get you more gigs). You’ll also get a trophy. And the top three teams will get a Showcase night at ImprovBoston. Maybe we’ll dig up some more stuff too.
So what do I do now? Sign up. Click here to do it.
Once we sign up, then what do we do? Get ready. Work your art. Choose your forms.
Okay. What then? Market the heck out of your show. The more people you put in the seats, the more potential votes you have. So push it.
What will admission cost? Admission for the Qualifying Rounds will be $5 per person. The Championship Show is TBD (probably $7). We’ll have online ticketing or they can pay at the door (assuming we don’t sell out). That’s a super cheap night out for 2+ solid hours of laughs.
What if I have more questions? You’re a needy one, aren’t you? Shoot us an email at BAIT.Boston@gmail.com or seek out MIke Cox or Jeff Brisbin.