Saturday, October 8, 2011

iO West alum to watch: Echo Kellum

If genius is indeed 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, then iO West alumnus, Echo Kellum must use some strong deodorant.

Since graduating last October, he’s been busy balancing his secret identity as Echo Kellum, actor and waiter, with Echo Kellum, improvisor extraordinaire.

Catch one of the teams/shows he performs with at iO West, or collect all four:

> Bobby Hotstuff, the first team he ever performed with, starting way back when he was a fresh-faced student in Level 2. Bobby Hotstuff is still going strong every Friday night at 9pm in The Loft.

> Manifest Destiny, a Mainstage team of fellow 2010 alums whose specialty is 'the slacker.' Manifest Destiny likes to keep you on your toes, so check the iO West site often for upcoming shows.

> Cherry Crush Hosted by Cherry every Monday night at 10:30p on the Main Stage

them., a Harold you can catch on Fridays in the DCT  

I recently “sat down with” Echo (via the internet, because, really, it’s 2011 and why physically talk to people when you can email them?)

Hailing from Chicago, Kellum came to LA with some commercial training, but he was completely new to improv, as so many of us are.

Like many Level 1's he knew he wanted to learn more and found himself at iO West, asking the hard hitting questions like “What does improv mean?” and “How soon can I start performing?”

Also a UCB alum and current Groundlings student, what drew Kellum to iO West was the sleek mix of styles found within the Harold.

“The Harold is the ultimate piece because it can be anything, especially with an organic opening.”

In addition to gracing the iO West stages with his effervescent persona and big hair (you may have noticed him hovering around Dave Hill’s Level 7 with fellow alum and Shadow Cats partner Nate Caywood); he declined to confirm if his presence there is due to an interest in teaching or just a pre-requisite to a restraining order.

But either way Kellum believes in giving back, “I'm a very sharing person, and I believe this industry still stands today because of the kindness and shared sacrifice of all. If I can say something to someone, or share a life experience or my creativity with them, and it helps, then I'm doing my part.”

When Kellum's not crafting shorts with Shadow Cats, cracking up the masses, or manicuring his signature coif, he makes an effort to take in Waterloo and King Ten, “It's really about the chemistry of those teams. They make smart, confident moves, and you can see they really have each other’s backs. They have so much fun and it's contagious.”

Having been in the early stages where so many of us are now, he has this advice to offer:

“Go for it - boldly and with confidence. Become entrenched with the community, start practice sessions with friends from class. Approach coaches and teachers. Say it OUT LOUD. You'd be surprised how many people are saying the same things in their heads. Nothing in life comes easy. Talent isn't enough. You have to back everything up with hard work and perseverance. Be confident and believe in yourself!”

Wise words from an iO West wiz.

- Deviant Amelia

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