Finding the right sketch director for your show can be difficult. There are lists you can get from various comedy theaters, but how do you know which to chose? Also, I found that most people on those lists are already too booked up. So, how do you find the right person? How do you find someone who can bring life to the show, showcase your unique abilities, and has passion for what you’re doing?
My team got lucky. We found Adam McCabe who is, without question, the best sketch director/ coach/ friend that our team could have asked for.
Maybe you can be that lucky too? I can’t definitively help you sort through the lists and chose which director you should go with, but I can tell you the five things I cared about:
1. Someone Who Has The Credentials.
Th best director has been on a team at a reputable theater. Theaters like UCB, The Groundlings, Second City, iO, or Miles Stroth would be a good place to start. A theater that matches your writing style and sense of humor preferably. I wanted someone who had been on a house team at that theater for a while and hopefully coached several other teams.
2. Someone Who Won’t Take Over.
If you have a director who tries to make your show into his vision instead of yours, you’ll never succeed. Not only will it not be your best writing, but your show will probably resemble every other team he’s directed. You need someone who cares about your vision and tries to cultivate that, making you the best version of yourself. The way I found that was to meet as many people as possible. Once you spend time with someone you can generally tell if they tend to take over. If they don’t listen to you when you talk to them in general, they probably won’t listen to you when you’re running a show with them.
3. Someone Who Has A Similar Sense of Humor.
No matter how talented or professional a director is, if they don’t at least resemble your sense of humor, it’s going to really hard to get anything done. In your writers room, there should be several different senses of humor, ideas, passions, and points of view, but your director should get you. He should be able to lead the show into the type of show that you would find funny. This will come with watching his shows or videos on YouTube. What kind of sketches does he write? Do you find them funny?
4. Someone Who Has A Passion for Comedy and Teaching.
I’ve had improv teachers who simply didn’t want to be there. For one reason or another, their career hasn’t gone the way they wanted and now they’re “stuck teaching improv and sketch.” This mentality blows. When our coach talks about comedy and teaching he lights up. It’s something he loves to do and he’s great at it. Getting to teach comedy is a dream job for him and when he teaches, it shows. You need someone like that. It’s so encouraging and brings life to your team. Honestly, the only way to find out if someone is like this is to have a trail period where they direct your show. If the director drags you down at all, find someone new.
5. Someone Who Loves The Song, “Better Off Alone” by Alice DeeJay.
That junk is important.
And those are my qualifications for a sketch director. I hope you find someone who helps you become the comedian you set out to be.
What do you think? What are other qualifications? Are you looking for someone?