Not everyone has aptitude they think they are good at.

Let's look at American Idol as an example. Time after time, Simon and Co have to tell aspiring pop-stars that they are, actually, terrible singers. It's become a cliche scene in reality television for someone to rage at the judges, begging for another chance, fall out, break into tears, etc. It's because they have deluded themselves into thinking they have a talent they do not have.

So when school improv teams are getting started, beware the person who says they would be good at the _______ role. Fill the blank with either "Host," "Emcee," "Lights," or "Sound" - the Ringleader positions. It is very unlikely anyone who volunteers has ever done the job before. So how would they know? Even if they had done improv for a long time, how would they know if they had aptitude for them? The answer is they don't know.

Three things: First, In reality, I think we have to accept everyone will start off as a bad Ringleader. Second, I also think anyone CAN be a GREAT Ringleader. Finally, I also think some people have an aptitude for those roles. The difference between someone with aptitude and someone without is the amount of time it will take them to go from bad to great. When you are starting off your program, you need to start quick, so you are looking for people with the aptitude for certain positions.

The easiest way to go is to have someone who has a wealth of improv experience make the selections for you. In my case, I and all the other hosts were selected by the Artistic Director. Does it need to be so formal? Not really, I suppose. But my bias is usually for some executive power somewhere in improv families - it's nice when one person is responsible for making that decision. It's quicker and less messy. When a group picks, it gets more political.

By the way, asking for help from a CORE Improv coach - or similar group - is a nice way to get that experience without having to spend years gaining it yourself.