Submission guidelines

The submission window for the 2020 Countdown Improv Festival has closed. If for some reason you are still interested in browsing the submission guidelines, though, read on!

Troupe size

As the only national festival dedicated exclusively to small-group improv comedy, the Countdown Improv Festival accepts groups in configurations of one, two, and three performers only. If your group contains more people than that, we can recommend some other top-notch festivals to which you should apply. All submissions (including videos) should reflect the group’s lineup as it would appear at the festival if accepted.

Early vs. regular submission window

We encourage you to submit early! That said, submissions will be not be judged until the end of the submission period. (In other words, early submissions are not privileged over later ones in the evaluation process.) Early acceptances will not be provided.

Countdown Improv Festival and COVID-19

We have decided to waive all submission fees this year due to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Playtime with Patrick and Preston have found a new favorite festival. Countdown Improv Festival was one of the most, if not the most, fun times we’ve ever had at a festival.” –Patrick Newson, Chicago

Experiments welcome

The Countdown Improv Festival welcomes and celebrates experimental work. If you’re wondering whether or not your show is too weird for us, don’t worry, it probably isn’t!

Performance video

It is important to include a representative performance video with your submission. A video, more than anything else, gives the selection committee the best sense for not only the caliber and quality of your show, but how to program your troupe/solo act within a lineup if you are accepted. Please know that your submission will be at a disadvantage if it does not include a video.

***NOTE: We realize that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it much harder for many troupes to get a good performance video this year. If you find yourself in this situation, never fear: We’re willing to work with you. Just note your situation on your application, and give us as detailed a description as possible of the sort of show you hope to perform at the festival. We’ll do our best to give your troupe all due consideration.***

Tips on preparing your video

  • Above all else, if you’re choosing from several videos, pick the one that you like the most. Give us a video that you think best represents your troupe and the sort of show you would be excited to perform at the festival.
  • Test your video quality, camera angles, and sound quality beforehand. If any of those three factors strike you as unsatisfactory, please consider submitting a different tape. We’ve gotten more than a few videos with really poor production values, and it is hard to accurately evaluate a tape where you cannot hear or see the performers.
  • Make sure your entire cast is in the video you’re submitting. We want to see your show as it would appear on the HCC stage.
  • We’re looking for full-length performance videos; no clips, highlight reels, or trailers, please. Film your entire show, from intro to blackout.

Thank you for submitting your troupe to this year’s festival! If you have any questions that weren’t covered here, please email us at countdownimprovfestival at gmail dot com.

Click here to go back to the submissions page.