Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelsey Cooke and Chris Guerra.
Hi Kelsey and Chris, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
We are Kelsey Cooke and Chris Guerra, a married couple and acting/writing/producing partners originally from Los Angeles and trained in improv for many years, studying many different styles.
When we moved to the Nashville area last year, we always had a goal of starting our improv training center, where we could find a group of actors to form a company and perform together, so that is what we are gearing up for now. We recently formed “Oddity Improv”, a non-profit 501(c)(3) that is aimed at helping showcase local talent and help build up the filmmaking community right here in Nashville.
We are getting the word out about Oddity Improv, where we are training every one of all levels, even if you aren’t a professional actor and just want to have fun. We will eventually be training and performing at a permanent space at The Factory in Franklin by the end of this year!
Right now, we are offering single 2-hour “Introductory” classes for anyone interested in checking us out, and then we have various levels of our “Core Classes” which are 12 classes, twice a week for 6 weeks, and build upon each other.
This is where we will find our core performing group, which we hope to form this year.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Smooth? Oh gosh no. We are thinking about filming a reality television show about our journey, hah! Moving out here with two kids was challenging enough, it’s been a year of adjustment, but we are VERY grateful to be here in this great state.
We also have never started a business before, and we have started two recently and seeking ALL the help we can get. We are lucky to have smart people stopping us from making stupid mistakes. There are a lot of rules and policies to learn, especially when forming a non-profit organization.
Marketing has been a challenge too but we are just beginning, and mostly getting the word out through word-of-mouth. The amount of people who have gone through our classes since we opened our doors 3 months ago alone, has taught us that there is a clear need in our community for Improv Training and performance. But we want to grow quickly and see as many people as possible.
Luckily, we will be on a PR campaign soon, so look out for us on your local news!
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
During the pandemic shutdown in LA, we co-wrote, produced, and starred in a fully-improvised comedic feature film, which is now available to stream (WatchReopening.com)!
Our production company (@thisishardtoreadproductions) was formed in 2020 and we write and produce “Comedy with Heart”. You can check us out at thisishardtoreadprod.com.
Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
Anything motivational and inspiring. We are “ever-growers” we have a growth mindset when it comes to life and profession. There is always something to learn, ways to do better and work smarter.