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 five episodes!

About the Westlake Acting Studio

readers-choiceWestlake Acting Studio was crated in 2008 to bring professional acting training to Ventura County. 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.

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. Our mission is to help you become a better performer.

Westlake Acting Studio Offers Something for Everyone!

The goal of Westlake Acting Studio is to provide a variety of performance classes in a place where you can further your creative interests. Though we started with introductory acting classes 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 an acting ‘master class’ to hone our graduates’ skills (and to keep them practicing). Finally we created dual improv and stand-up comedy classes to help students become more well-rounded performers.

Our improv and stand-up performance classes are no less serious than our acting training. 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! Together they help students overcome barriers by building the confidence needed to succeed.

Of course, acting remains the foundation of Westlake Acting Studio training. Our Meisner technique classes improve listening skills and help new actors focus on their scene partners.

Beyond Traditional Training

Westlake Acting Studio continues to grow through our very popular “Conversations with…” speaker series. Guests have included Melissa Gilbert, Alan Ruck, and Stacy Keach – and many more. We’re now in our fifth year and continue to be hosted at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

Perhaps our most hands-on effort is ‘Rogues of LA,’ a studio-based web series. Why a web series? Acting studios with associated stage companies have a long history. We’ve brought the traditional acting company online. You will feel the camaraderie of working within a theater company while gaining important behind-the-camera experience too…because every cast member also works on the crew!

Rogues of LA not only gives Westlake Acting Studio students an opportunity to step into a working film production, working on the production can be your entry to SAG membership too!


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.