I always say Trent is like my brother and that is the reason I get mad at him. Never for a long time and mostly for petty reasons. I remember one particular time that took place in theater during FiiF.

It was a result of a night poorly slept, skipped dinner and pushing myself too hard. Instead of taking a break or eating something, I got angry at Trent for not mentioning my name on stage when he mentioned few other people. Surely not something he did on purpose or anything that would have bothered me if I hadn’t been so tired.

It was a stupid and small thing but inside my head it grew into huge and awful thoughts: “I’m not important”, “I don’t get any credit” and “I’m just a producer so nobody cares what I do”. I never felt the need to jump on stage, but at that moment, I envied everyone who was standing on that stage under those bright lights and getting all the applauses.

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In reality, I was the only one who felt I was “just a producer”. Everyone else made me feel special and important. During my almost four years producing FiiF, I’ve heard the words “thank you” in at least 30 different accents. I’ve gotten roses and other gifts. I’ve gotten support and love when I have felt tired or stressed. And the best reward has been being a part of such an amazing community of people from all around the world.

Trent once said to me that it’s easy to make yourself look good or funny on stage, but it’s much more harder and sometimes more important to help someone else look good and funny. Improv is not about being the funniest and most talented person on stage. It’s about supporting other players and helping them look good. It’s about being the straight man when everyone else gets to be in a crazy character. It’s about doing what is best for the scene and doing the groundwork for a joke someone else gets to shout out.

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FiiF is about our amazing staff doing the groundwork so the performers and instructors can look good. We make sure they have a nice hostel so they can rest well, good breakfast so they are full of energy, guidance so they don’t get lost and magical workshops that’ll give them new inspiration to perform better than ever before. And the performers make sure the staff is rewarded with wonderful shows, happy faces and the possibility to say “yeah I was working on this festival that was super cool and amazing and everyone loved it”. Also hugs… everyone gets so many hugs it’s impossible to count if we have been breaking some records.

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My mother always says, there are stars and people who make stars. When it comes to FiiF, we only have stars. Without the producers and the staff there would not be performers on stage, without the performers, there would not be an audience and without the audience there would not be an improv festival to produce.

It doesn’t matter if you are the person on stage playing in a brilliant scene with your team or the one who is in the audience yelling the weirdest suggestion ever or the staff member who guides people to workshops or the instructor who is blowing everyone’s mind with their improv wisdom. Everyone is equally important.

So I’m going to warn everyone who will attend FiiF2016. When someone cracks a joke on stage or makes the whole audience feel emotions they’ve never felt before or sings the best improvised song ever…. I’m going to gather all the other staff members around me, point at the stage and say: “We made that happen”.

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Siiri Kärkkäinen
Producer of FiiF 2012-2016