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Meisner Intensive coming August 2016! We condense the first year of Meisner technique training into a twice-weekly, four-week class. Learn more!

ROGUES of LA: The Studio-Based Web Series!

Rogues of LA is a web series created, shot, edited, scored, and of course, performed by students of both the Westlake Acting School and Cal Lutheran University where Markus is a professor in the theatre dept. Watch the previous eight episodes!

About Our Studio

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Westlake Acting Studio was created in 2008 to bring professional acting training to Ventura County. Why Ventura County? We found that acting students had to travel to Los Angeles for the very same instruction that we could provide in a less-intimidating setting.

We’re one of the few schools outside of the city to offer the Sanford Meisner program, which was developed at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse.

Westlake Acting Studio Offers Something for Everyone!

Westlake Acting Studio was founded to provide a variety of performance opportunities in a safe place where you can explore your creative interests. Our mission is to help you become a better performer whether you want to pursue a career in acting or simply express yourself more confidently.

Though we started with just Meisner training back in 2008, we soon added on-camera commercials and beginner scenes training so that our students could jump-start a career in the industry. Then we created dual improvisation and stand-up comedy classes to help students become more well-rounded performers. And finally we created a Meisner Master Class to hone students’ listening skills through the authenticity of real dialog and connection.

Our improv and stand-up performance classes are an adjunct to our acting training. Improvisation sharpens the instincts and builds self-trust. Stand-up comedy polishes presentation and increases one’s ability to tolerate risk in a performance setting. Each provides a different set of challenges and together they help us overcome barriers by building confidence. But acting remains the foundation of Westlake Acting Studio training.

Bringing Real-World Practice to Traditional Training

Our most hands-on effort is the studio-based web series, ‘Rogues of LA. Why a web series? Acting studios have a long history with associated stage companies. We’ve brought that online. With Rogues you feel the camaraderie of working with a theater company while gaining important behind-the-camera and crew experience. Not only is Rogues of LA an opportunity to step into a working film production; it may also be your ticket into Screen Actors Guild membership.

Westlake Acting Studio also hosts the very popular “Conversations with…” speaker series. Past guests include Melissa Gilbert, Alan Ruck, Stacy Keach and more. We’re now in our fifth year.

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-RoguesSo 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.