Julian Faid is a senior member of Rapid Fire Theatre having performed in weekly improv shows for more than 17 years.
As the co-creator of TEDxRFT – The Improvised Ted Talk, he has performed at improv festivals in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Austin, Toronto and Oslo, to name a few. Off stage, Julian is a Masters student in Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta studying the future of Urban Transportation.
TV Show: At the moment The Walking Dead
Actor: Don Cheadle
Food: A rack of lamb
Video Game: Anything from the NHL series
Books: Improvise Scene from the Inside Out, Mick Napier; Im With The Brand, Rob Walker; Stiffed, Susan Faludi.
Clothing: My red cardigan, its classic.
Music: Sufjan Stevens, The Roots and Cee Lo Green before he got huge.
Vice/Guilty Pleasure: reddit.com
I was extremely introverted though elementary and junior high.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO IMPROV?
I entered RFT’s high school improv tournament the Nosebowl. Improv was all we did. Apparently we had a reputation going into the Nosebowl as that team that does improv in the halls. It was great. We won and the winning team got to go play the Varscona. That was 11 years ago.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE THE FIRST TIME YOU STEPPED ONTO THE VARSCONA STAGE?
I remember my parents were there and we were playing a game where I had to sell virgin olive oil. So naturally the gimmick I used was to pour it all over myself and rub it around. I was a 17-year-old kid at that time, and it was nerve wracking knowing that my parents were watching.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORIES OF BEING AN IMPROVISER?
Travelling to do gigs. I’ve been to Vancouver, Regina and Atlanta has a great festival. It’s always fun and exciting to play in front of crowd that doesn’t know what you can deliver. That makes it exciting to be on stage. With that being said, Improvaganza is also amazing. When I play in Improvaganza I’m spreading the word, and that opens the door to playing other festivals, which means representing Edmonton.
CAN YOU GIVE SOME TIPS ON PROVIDING IMPROVISERS WITH GOOD SUGGESTIONS?
The funniest suggestion is not the best suggestion. If you take a blatantly funny suggestion then the joke is already there. The best suggestion is something that surprises the improviser. If I ask for a location and I get a post office or doctor’s office, which I get on regular basis, that’s fine. But if I get something that’s super specific like the back room at an Amazon warehouse, that gives us so much more to work with, because it’s a detailed and specific suggestion.
HOW DO YOU USE IMPROV IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY-LIFE?
Improv influences my life in so many ways. I was extremely introverted though elementary and junior high. I was nervous with very low self-esteem and after I started doing improv I grew so much as a person. Improv has taught me to be creative, work as a team and to accept ideas and build on them, which is a great asset in marketing. It also helps me to bullshit through situations sometimes.