- You can't call yourselves good—someone else has to. Words like "best" and "premiere"—anything about quality level, really—don't mean anything unless it comes from the press. Preferably within the last 12 months.
- Yes, experience counts. But "longest-running" and "a combined X years of experience" don't matter unless you combine them with other descriptors. We've all seen improvisers in KC and plenty of other cities who have been reinforcing bad habits as long as they've been playing. Time doesn't always make you good.
- And if you're going to talk about experience, look around at context. It's hard to boast about improvising professionally for 5 years when 3 out of 5 groups have been doing it for 10.
- Honestly, even the word "professional" is pretty suspect. If "professional" means "I've been paid for being in a show," my high school kids became professionals the first time they played at the Corbin. Do we call ourselves professionals any time we rent a space and charge admission? Or when someone else—a director, a client, a venue—hires and pays us? Is it about money or professionalism?
Maybe all this sounds petty and nitpicky. It probably does. (And I need to take my own advice on a lot of these counts.)
But we're finally getting dang close to where we want to be—regular media coverage, bigger audiences, more people to learn from and play with. The Improv Brand—and our troupes' brands—matter. The way we position ourselves to the press and the public matter. Even the way we present ourselves to other improvisers matters.
It's a good place to be—but it doesn't mean things get easier. More than ever, choices we make as producers, directors, troupes and performers mean something.