SAG-AFTRA Chicago Launches “Piece of the Pie For Chicago Improv: We’ve Got Your Back!”

SAG-AFTRA Chicago Launches “Piece of the Pie For Chicago Improv: We’ve Got Your Back!”

The SAG-AFTRA Chicago office announces their latest Piece of the Pie series, specially designed to help local improvisers know what the union is doing to protect them and their creative works. “Piece of the Pie For Chicago Improv: We’ve Got Your Back!” will run Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 7 through Oct. 28, in the Kaufherr Members Resource Center (KMRC) located at 1 E. Erie, Suite 660, Chicago, IL 60611.

“We are excited to offer these free workshops to Chicago improvisers,” says Executive Director Eric Chaudron. “We will also have freshly baked ‘Support Your Partner’ pie to enjoy each week. And, those who attend all four sessions will be entered into a drawing to win two festival passes to November’s Chicago Comedy Film Festival.”

The workshops are modeled on last year’s successful eight-week Piece of the Pie series. This four-week version for improvisers will cover topics like, Your Improv Auditions--What Union Commercials Mean For You, and Your Improv On Film & Online--Protecting Your Brand & Your Content, and present a panel with well-known improvisers who are union actors.

The series happens just weeks after the hiring of three Chicago improvisers as Saturday Night Live’s newest cast members.

“It’s great to see Chicago talent succeed and work on union TV shows like SNL,” says SAG-AFTRA Co-President Ilyssa Fradin, “and it’s also great when local performers know the benefits their union can give them while they are still working on their craft here.”

Since Chicago is known as an improv mecca, many commercials are cast using the abundant talent pool of local improv performers, who sometimes get thrown by the process.

“More and more,” says Organizing Committee Chair Grace McPhillips, “we hear about improvisers who go on commercial auditions and are told to ‘improvise,’ and they don’t always know what’s expected, so they walk out feeling frustrated. We want to help change that, and make sure these performers aren’t being taken advantage of when they do get hired.”

The workshops are designed to empower improvisers with tools to make good career decisions. And, says Steve Scholz, an alumni of iO Chicago and moderator for the series, it’s all about supporting each other. “When I first moved to Chicago and took classes at iO, Second City and The Annoyance, I only had a vague idea of what the union offered me. While I don’t expect everyone to join SAG-AFTRA tomorrow, I would love every improviser to know what I’ve learned and understand how to use what’s already there for them.”

Performers may register for this series by contacting Andy Larson at or (312) 573-8081.