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readers choice

Ventura County’s Choice for Acting Schools!

Westlake Acting Studio Mission

Westlake Acting Studio started in 2008 with the idea of bringing professional acting training to Ventura County. Why Ventura County? Because acting students were traveling to Los Angeles for the very same instruction that we could provide right here in a non-intimidating setting. And we could offer new actors the Meisner technique to improve listening and to help you focus on your scene partner. We’re one of the few schools outside of the city to offer the program, which was developed by Sanford Meisner at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse. We know it will be helpful to both future professionals and non-actors who simply want to feel more confident in social interactions.

Our mission: To provide varied classes and teachers in an effort to create a place for people to further their creative interests.

Our goal is to help you become a better performer. Westlake Acting Studio may have began with acting classes, but we soon added on-camera commercials training and improv & stand-up comedy classes in order to build well-rounded performers. Then we created an acting Master class to hone our graduates’ skills (and to keep them in practice). ‘Rogues of LA,’ the studio webseries, just wrapped shooting and is now in post production. Acting studios have long created traditional stage companies. And some even support a theatre. We are taking that concept into the twenty-first century and onto the web. Not only will a web series give our students an opportunity to be seen; you will feel the camaraderie of working within a company while gaining crucial on-camera experience. Not only is it fun to act on ‘film,’ but it can be an entry point for SAG membership too. And our studio continues to grow through our very popular “Conversations with…” speaker series. Now in it’s third year, our past guests have included Melissa Gilbert, Alan Ruck, and Stacy Keach.

Westlake Acting Studio Offers Something for Everyone

Improvisation class sharpens your instincts and builds your self-trust. Stand-up comedy polishes your presentation and increases your ability to tolerate risk in a performance setting. Each provide a different set of challenges! Our personal expression & performance classes can help you overcome barriers by building the confidence that you need to succeed.

One Less Bitter Actor

Momentum!!!

Seth Godin has a mantra of  “do the hard work.”  I think this over writes the oft used; “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I just shot the second installment of a web series I created to have a place to “do the hard work.” Actors are always looking for a place to put their work, a place to deliver on all the training that really sits idle unless you are on stage or on a set somewhere. Our frustration about not being a star is because being a star means you get to go to work more than others.  We don’t get to “ship.”  This is a term Seth uses that is used to delineate those who think and those who do.  For example there are many writers who write great books, but never get to the part where they “ship” the book to the publisher. They rewrite and rewrite, but never put the product out, or worse, wait for someone else to put out a like product to feel safe enough to ship theirs.

Ben and Julian-Rogues

So I built us a place to ship. And it came down to forcing myself to set a ship date and keep asking until I had the minimum of what I needed, and then physically doing everything else that didn’t show up so I could get us started. I knew starting the series was everything. When people see a product, they will choose to join, or donate, but when it’s just a pitch…they tend to wait to see who else might get in. So the first episodes are coming out as we filmed the second set of episodes. I can tell you, I’ve never been more exhausted, and I mean the true sense of exhausted as I was from that first shoot last summer. But! We got 3 episodes out of it and the momentum needed to start a crowdfund and get a few more volunteers and the shoot last week was completely different. The community is being built. Students were part of a show, a place to create, what they didn’t know about the process they learned by being part of it, not watching it from afar. Having a hired crew for the technical things made for quicker set ups and therefore more elegant shots. The production value of the show grew by leaps and the sense of “shipping” was everywhere. This is what actors and creatives long for…we were doing it. There were smiles all day and “thanks for the opportunity” to come be free labor on a set for a web series that will only have the audience we can build. When you give Actors/Directors/DP’s a place to deliver their pent up understanding of what makes the world worth having…you make a place where no one is working, everyone is shipping what they love.