Frequently Asked Questions
But just to offer a fair explanation of how it affects us: Most of our classes have a limited number of spots- often 10 students. Most of our classes are not financially or logistically viable and will thus be canceled if they don't have 6 or more students in them. So we have a sweet spot of only 6-10 paying students in any given class. As a business- those class spots are our product, and where we make our living. Once a class term comes and goes, we can no longer sell that spot- it's fallen off the shelf and smashed to pieces. So obviously we are not able to take returns on those items (or refund money when an actor's schedule changes, etc). If we were to give a credit for a class, that students is still basically taking TWO class spots up for the price of one. If we try to fit students in to future classes, then our sweet spot grows smaller and smaller. Obviously a class at paid 10 students we can't fit in any "credited" students. If we are in the super sweet spot of 6-9 students, we COULD fit one in...but of course we won't know that until the day that class starts in case other paying students want to sign up!! Even then, the question becomes "who do we let in on a credited class"? Because trust us- you're not the only one in this situation. So now we are called upon to play favorites!
We really try to work with everyone and be as fair and generous as possible, and appreciate your business greatly, but because it's a business and we do also value our own time- the stated policy is unfortunately thus: No credits, no refunds.
Option Two- (more common) You need to remember what week # you missed. (Count up from the first week of class!) Then just come to that week # in the next session that you are able to. It may be 8 weeks down the road, but at least you'll get the lesson in!
Remember though- we will not be tracking you down to remind you to make up a class. You need to keep track yourself. And PLEASE email us the week before you are coming in for your make up class to let us know that you will be attending. Schedules may have changed, or there may be a RARE weather cancellation, etc- so you should make sure that you have the right date!!! Makeups are good for one year from the date of the initial class.
One studio is located in what is currently referred to as "West Town." The realtors of Chicago are constantly renaming the neighborhoods - you may also hear our area referred to as the "East Ukraniane Village" or the "East Village." (Nice. "East Village" is synonymous with "West Town." Go figure). Anyways . . . It's a hip and trendy little area just south of Bucktown/Wicker Park. There's lots of great shops, restaurants, and bars around. We even have a McDonald's and a Subway for all of you fine food connoisseurs out there!
Our other studio is just on the west edge of the Lakeview neighborhood in the Ravenswood corridor. Ravenswood runs along the train tracks and cuts through lovely residential neighborhoods. The street itself is a bit unique in that's an isolated row of old rehabbed industrial buildings, many of which now house arts groups, production companies, and various other small businesses. There's usually ample parking right out from- but BEWARE the parking situation on CUBS night games! On those nights restrictions are in effect, and you'll need to park WEST of the train tracks. It's still pretty easy. Just go north on Lincoln from Addison and there's stuff right there. A 1 block walk.
***just an example - the following is what you will see on the page when you click Pay Now***
Don't have a PayPal account? Use your credit card or bank account (where available). Continue >
***just an example - the above is what you will see on the page when you click Pay Now***
You should just click on the "continue" for the credit card option. NOTE! Don't click on the above- it's just an example!!!!
Adult Class Questions
You may take Level 1 and still feel like you're "the best actor in the class." That doesn't necessarily mean you're better than the material being taught! Don't worry about the rest of the people in class, worry about yourself. You'll likely find that you'll learn a ton from people with less experience than you (if you're open to learning the things you need to learn). Many Eastern cultures' approaches to art are centered on the principle of spending years trying to attain the state of the "Beginner's Mind." Its largely what Meisner and many other acting approaches are based on. Perhaps then it'd be helpful to actually have some fellow classmates that are closer to that "Beginner's Mind" than you are! Again- trust us. We've done this for a long time, and have had all types and levels of actors in the session room and the class room. More often than not, in the commercial world, directors are looking for what we call "Real People" types. And that feel is different than the type of acting that one may see on stage at quality theatres like The Goodman or Steppenwolf. We often have a student in class that has far less experience than anyone else, yet is able to show their true self far better than the "really good actors" because they have nothing to prove and approach things with an utterly refreshing simplicity. They lack a command of structure and story components -but that is the stuff they pick up in class. Our students who know structure and storytelling and have far more experience learn different things perhaps. Some of the most important and lucrative lessons: How to make it all look like you have no idea what it is that you are doing! (That, and loads of strategic and stylistic approaches to the audition process that have probably never been presented in any other class you have taken). So again- trust us. If you're one that really feels the need to be in a higher level class, and always feels "better and more skilled" than the other students, then you are likely pretty good- but have stopped growing as an actor. You'll probably also stay where you are at in your art and your career for a good long time. Be open to the process - or we probably can't teach you effectively anyway! And again- we're not here to waste your money. If you take the class and are above this stuff, we'll put you in another level at no charge.
(sorry- get the feeling that we are asked this question all the time?? :)
OCTP- The OCTP is where the Green Room started. If you are really solid in your acting skills and want to learn more about stylistic issues and technical skills that will increase your success in on camera auditions- then the OCTP is the place to look. If you are coming from a college acting program or are very solidy theater trained and are looknig to make money in the on camera world, then the OCTP is the place to look. If you've been refered by word of mouth to The Green Room and the person refering didn't mention Steven Ivcich specifically, then this is probably the program they were talking about.
GRPP- If you've been around acting for a while and are looking at growing your overall acting skills while still getting experience in front of the camera and have a serious commitment to developing as an artist, then the GRPP is the place to look. If you are newer to the acting world- or making a transition from modeling to acting, then the GRPP may still be the place to look, as it will build a foundation of acting skills that will prove to be invaluable. If someone recommended the Green Room to you and ranted and raved about Steven Ivcich - this is where you'll find him.
If you are truely serious- take both! (Honestly). Chances are if you are newer to this world you'll want to take the GRPP to build a solid foundation, then continue in the OCTP to build awareness of current styles and technical approaches. But here are some thoughts for different categories you may find yourself in:
THE EXPERIENCED ACTOR: Many times actors don't know (or won't admit to themselves) that it's their basic acting skills that are in need of help. (and remember- basic acting skills are ANYTHING but basic!) But if you really are SOLID in your acting, and are finding that you still fall short in your on camera auditions, then the OCTP is the place for you. This is where you will experience a true makeover in your stylistic approach and technical skills. If you take a class or two of this program, and we find that your performances are reasonable, yet still a bit unsupported, lacking in story structure, or rather lifeless, we may nudge you towards the more encompassing approach of the GRPP. The GRPP will re-invent your basic acting skills and then some- all while still providing you with on-camera experience.
THE TRANSITIONING MODEL: Many times models are encouraged by their agents to take on camera classes to tap into the potential of the many non-speaking commercial auditions that they are called in on. There are LOADS of non-speaking commercial roles out there, and the OCTP will show you ways to put you leaps and bounds above the competition through development of simple skill sets that are almost always overlooked by even seasoned actors. The OCTP will also expose you to a large amount of speaking roles- and you will find your way through a process that works for you to keep them real and engauging. If you find that you easily fall into the speaking roles, heed our instruction, and succeed with natural, engaging performances, this may be the only program you need. Very often though, once this type of actor gets into speaking roles, the lack of a personal acting process becomes apparent, and you may want to switch over to the GRPP to take things to the next level. We do a LOT of speaking roles in this program, and as the class progresses we don't have a ton of time to slow down and teach basic acting to the performers who are unsupported, disconnected, or struggling with story structure. But you may not know where you stand till you take the class!! So often times the OCTP is a good place to start, assess your skills, and modify your game plan if needed. Main question for yourself: Do I want to take class to make more money in commercials, not really care too much if my future jobs are speaking roles or not, and not have any desires to pursue tv or film roles down the road?? Then take the OCTP. If you know already that you aspire to be a true actor, but have no acting experience- take the GRPP. If you aspire to be a true actor but think maybe you are just a "natural", try the OCTP level 1- and then switch to the GRPP if need be. Or if you really want to cover all your bases in pursuit of a long term acting career, take the first level of OCTP AND start up the GRPP at the same time, pause with the OCTP after level one, finish out the GRPP, then pick back up in level 2 of the OCTP. That way you'll have a sense of where we'll be going stylistically in the OCTP while you grow your acting skills in the GRPP.
THE NEW ACTOR: This is very similar to the transitioning model, but you'll have less experience to draw from. Sometimes the new actors are actually the most refreshing and natural in class, and blow away the experienced actors who are no longer capable of just letting go! Take a look at the above section- and the questions are still kinda the same: Do I want to take class to make more money in commercials, not really care too much if my future jobs are speaking roles or not, and not have any desires to pursue tv or film roles down the road?? Then take the OCTP. If you know already that you aspire to be a true actor, but have no acting experience- take the GRPP. Do you intend to pursue theater as well?? Take the GRPP. If you aspire to be a true actor but think maybe you are just a "natural", try the OCTP level 1- and then switch to the GRPP if need be. Or there's always the option of doing both.
Kids and Teens Class Questions
By: Courtney Rioux
As a recurring character on a network television show and an acting coach, I get a lot of emails from people asking what they can expect from their first day on set for an episodic.
I remember my first day on a network TV set, as “EMT #1” on Chicago Fire. I was excited, but mostly nervous. It was a hot Saturday in July. Most people I knew were at Lollapalooza and I was on 290 in an ambulance.
At lunch, I was eating alone and my background EMT partner sat at another table alone. I called him over. He told me he wasn’t allowed to talk to “1st team”, which is why he didn’t automatically sit by me. It wasn’t my first time on set ever, but it felt like it and I could have used some company. I hope I can shed some light for you here on a day in the life on set, so you can be less nervous than I was on day one.
The night before, you’ll get a call time from the Key 2nd AD (assistant director). Don’t ask your agent about your call time. They won’t know. This is because your call time depends on when the crew is wrapping for the evening before your shoot. They need 9-12 hours of turnaround time from one day to another (depending on actors and crew turnaround times.)
When you get on set, find the 2nd AD and get their name. They’ll sign you in and get you to your trailer/honeywagon. There you’ll read, sign and take a picture of your contract. Make sure your rate, your name and everything is correct. If not, reach out to your agent or SAG-AFTRA.
If your name is incorrect, that’s how it will show up in the credits of the show. If your rate is scale, check and see that there’s a + 10% for your agent. If not, your agent can’t take money out of your scale pay. Look out for them, too. If it’s above scale, they’ll take the 10% out of your pay, or have your agent negotiate 10% on top of your above scale pay.
Always take a picture of your contract and keep it for future reference! Don’t feel rushed. You’ll have time.
Get dressed in your trailer. They’ll call you to hair and makeup so you’ll be ready to head to set for rehearsals. First you might have a private rehearsal for the actors, director, DP (director of photography), script supervisor, and writer. There will definitely be a marking rehearsal for the crew. After that you’ll get wired (your mic) and sit around to wait until the crew sets up the shot.
You’ll be on 1st team, and they’ll use a 2nd team (stand-ins) to get lighting and shots set up.
On set, the director and the 1st AD will be running the show and giving you direction. The script supervisor will let you know if you’re getting your lines wrong. Make sure you’re matching up where you say your lines on each shot. This will help in the editing room.
There will be a lot of “hurry up and wait”. You’ll film your scene from multiple angles and shots with lots of set up in between for the crew. We get paid to sit around and wait!
SAG-AFTRA actor, Ilyssa Fradin, is often asked how long an actor will be on set for the day. She says to expect 8-12 hours. Just come prepared. Bring your chargers for your electronics, some work and reading materials. Fradin recommends bringing your own food in case you can’t get to Craft Services or have specific nutritional needs or food allergies.
My advice to you is to know your lines and your mark, and LISTEN!
Have a good attitude. Have fun and be yourself, but read the room. Know when to talk and when to stay quiet. Take direction and listen to everything being said to you and around you. When the director yells cut, go closer (but not too close!) to the conversations if you can.
Nicole McGovern, 2nd 2nd AD (no, that’s not a typo) on Chicago Med says, “Observe what’s happening. Be self-aware, but not in the way.” McGovern also says to be prepared for anything. Scenes get changed and moved to different days. “If you’re working multiple days, we may add another scene if we are ahead of schedule. A set may not be ready or an emergency may come up.”
When someone tells you their name, listen, say it out loud back to them, and write it down so you remember it next time you see them. Get a call sheet and study the names of the crew. They are making you look and sound good. They are awesome. Be friends with them. Thank them for their hard work!
Be aware of where the cameras are at all times, but of course don’t look into them.
Be prepared, but flexible.
Be willing to fail, and be willing to succeed.
Know that one mistake will not get you fired. Let it go, take a deep breath, and fix it in the next take. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I’d never be called in again, and four years later, I’m still there!
Don’t stop acting until someone yells cut, even if you think you’ve messed up and you want to start over. Keep going unless you’re told differently. They might be getting someone else’s coverage, and don’t need your lines to be right in that take. Keep going!
Never leave set without telling anyone. Find a PA (production assistant) or a 2nd AD and let them know where you’re going (ie: your trailer, the bathroom, to makeup etc). If you’re going to the bathroom, just ask, “Can I 10-1?” They’ll know what you mean.
If you’re like me, you’re probably worried you don’t know what you’re doing. No one really does his or her first day on set. Just pay attention to the veterans and learn on the job.
Sean Bradley, SAG-AFTRA actor and owner of The Green Room Studio says, “You don’t need to know everything. Feel free to ask questions.”
McGovern agrees, “You can ask the AD’s or PA’s questions. You might think it’s a stupid question, but it’s probably not.” (Fear not, there are a ton of PAs whose job it is to take care of you like you are a baby.)
Bradley adds, “Stay away from the dessert table. It’s a dangerous drug that will make you very sleepy for the rest of the day.”
Speaking of energy for the day, I always meditate beforehand. It helps me stay calm when action is yelled. I’m more focused and relaxed, and I find it helps me be best self in a stressful time. Need a guided meditation? Reach out to me and I’ll send one!
Finally, one of the stars on Med gave some great advice to a day player the other day. She was telling him there was food available for the cast and crew. She told him to go get a container and put it in his trailer before the food was gone. Then she yelled as he was leaving, “Act like you belong!” The first few times you are on set, you might not feel like you belong. You do. Act like it. Don’t be a jerk, but act confidently. You’re worthy of being there. Like the old saying goes, “Fake it ‘til you make it”!
And at the end of the day, find your 2nd AD who signed you in and sign out properly!
You got this!!
Check out our latest video in the series now!
We’ve just launched our new series of videos about The Acting Business in Chicago!
…where we will explore all sorts of business aspects of the acting world to help actors make more informed and strategic decisions – both in their business decisions AND in their audition performances.
We’ll release a new video each week. The first video is an introduction to the series- and the educational info starts next week – – so subscribe to our newsletter now!. Upcoming topics include:
– How the commercial business is structured
– How Casting Directors Prep the auditions for commercials
– How the actual commercial audition process works
– How the Prep for a TV & Film audition differs from commercial
– How the actual TV or Film audition process works
– Who’s the best talent agency in town
…. and loads more!!!
Here’s the video below, and check us out at www.thegreenroomstudio.tv and sign up for our newsletter now!
We appreciate the LIKES – and we love the SHARES !!!