Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Why don't you ever answer the phone!?!
Honestly, because we're a pretty small ship and we're pretty darn busy. There's just a few of us that teach here, and we like it that way because we can make sure that the teachers really know what they are talking about! In order to pay the teachers enough to keep them around, we keep costs down and don't have a full time receptionist. Also, we just don't offer enough classes to warrant one because we are rather specialized in what we teach (and highly recommended because of it). So as far as the phone calls, registration stuff, etc. goes, we do it all ourselves, but at the same time have our hands in myriad other projects. We're currently in other ventures producing movies, corporate presentations, writing books, acting on camera and off, doing voiceovers, sitting on the SAG local council, etc. So a message may go unanswered for a day, sometimes two. We'll get back to you to be sure, but please be patient. It's not that we don't care. We sincerely appreciate your business. But you wouldn't want teachers who aren't out there working in the real world too now would you!? Email is often a quicker way to get a hold of us, as we get that even when we're away from the studio. Go to our contacts page to shoot us an email! We've also put a TON of info and resources on this website- and have made it easy to take care of most, if not all, of the registration process online. We'd love it if you would take full advantage of the website, but if there is something that you need that is not included amongst these pages, please don't hesitate to email or give us a call, or even text us at 312-685-2774 (Oh- a little hint: we are the most likely to be available by phone M, T, W from 4:00-6:30pm).
Do you offer payment plans?
Our favorite payment plan is called "a credit card" (insert smiley face here), and Pay Pal is now offering a service called "Bill Me Later." It should show up as an option when checking out. Unfortunatley we have had too much trouble in the past with other payment plan options and are no longer able to offer them. But we continually offer classes every 8 weeks or so- sometimes more often - so hopefully if you're able to set aside some cash for the next session you can join us then!
I know I will be missing two of the classes. Should I just wait until next time?
Well, you'll have to decide that one. But often times if you will miss two classes of the upcoming class session, there is a high likelyhood that you'd wind up missing two in the next session after that as well. Sometimes 8 or 10 solid weeks is hard to carve out. We do have a makeup policy that allows you to make up up to two classes, so you will be able to get in all of the material, just perhaps not in the ideal order. If you know you would be missing four or so classes, then it's probably not a good idea to sign up this time!
I just got cast in a show and I have to drop out this session. Why can't you refund my money or credit me a class?
Acting is a freelance profession, and schedules are always changing for everyone. When you are committed to a class and then get a conflicting offer for a show, something has to give. And somewhere, money has to give. Either you give up the money spent on the class, or you give up the money and experience that the show offers. That's a decision that's in your court. We certainly would never begrudge any student the choice to take the job over the class, but if we were on the hook for the financial loss each time that situation came up as opposed to the actor who is making the decision, we'd have been out of business years ago!

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.
How do I make up a missed class?
Option One- Are you taking a class that has two different sessions going on? Often times the On Camera Training Program levels 1 and 2 have more than one week night scheduled. Say you are in the Mon night level 1 and have to miss... you can just come to the Wed night group that week!

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.
What neighborhood are you in?
We now have two different locations in Chicago. Make sure you check on the schedule for your class's location!
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.
Can I just pay by credit card, or do I have to use Pay Pal?
You DO NOT need a Pay Pal account in order to pay by credit card on the website- but you have to look carefully to find that option. Just look to the left of the "Login" box on the Pay Pal page (after you click the "pay now" button), and there is an option to simply pay with a credit card over on the left hand side of the page.  It should look like this or something like this:

***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 >

VisaMastercardAmerican ExpressDiscovereCheckPayPal
***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

Do I have to take all the levels of the On Camera Training Program, or can I take just the first one?
Actors are certainly welcome to take one, two, or however many classes in the program they wish to take. There is absolutely no requirement to take them all, although many choose to do so. Some students will take level one, take a semester or two off due to schedule issues, then come back and take another class in a few months. We have set up the program so that if you ONLY take the first level you will still leave with a very solid base for most on camera situations.
Which level of the On Camera Training Program should I start in?
Honestly, this is one of the more popular questions we get. Yes, we acknowledge the fact that "level 1" sounds like a rather remedial class to take for an actor who has already been in the business, has a fair amount of experience, and has loads of other training under their belts. But we are at a loss of what else to name this class! Perhaps we just have the Training Program levels be named 27-32 !!?! The work we teach here is created directly from our years of running professional on camera audition sessions, and the actors we have worked with over those years have all been working professionals. The program is geared to address all of the skills that GOOD actors need to further develop to truely be successful on camera. MANY actors feel that they will be too advanced for this class and nearly ALL find out that is not the case. In fact, time and time again we hear actors who have taken many on camera classes already, and appeared in many commercials, films, etc say "This is by far the best on camera class I have ever taken. I wish I knew this stuff years ago." Please just ask around- ask your acting buddies who have taken class with us or your agents. Also- our program builds upon itself, and we use some terminology and concepts that have been CREATED here at The Green Room that you won't be familiar with. We don't teach someone elses philosophies that you may have run into elsewhere. So you won't benefit from the higher levels as much unless you have the foundation of all previous levels. (If you sign up for level 1 and turn out to be absolutely incredibly amazing and seem far and beyond that particular work, we'll certainly pull you aside and look at the possibility of moving you to a different class. But chances are if that's the case, you've already taken that meeting with Martin Scorsese and your schedule has suddenly gotten too booked up for class anyway!) All we can say is trust us. Come check out (audit) a class night if you'd like. Take level 1 and if it still seems too remedial- we'll put you in a different class. If you are only going to take one class- there is SO much stuff in level 1 that can make a HUGE difference in your success at landing jobs- it is certainly the one to take of all of them.
Can I start in a level higher than level 1?
See answer to the question above.
Oh, but I'm different. Really. I've got lots of experience, and I'm always in class with people who are way less experienced than me, and I don't want to spend my hard earned cash on a class like that anymore!
See answer to the question above one last time, then read on...

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?? :)
Which Program should I take: The On-Camera Training Program, or the Green Room Professional Program??
In a nutshell- we see it like this: The On-Camera Training Program (OCTP) doesn't teach acting (well, it does wind up teaching some acting by default along the way) but it's main focus is showing you how to modify your acting skills and instincts to match up with the current styles of todays directors AND be more successful in your on camera auditions. The Green Room Professional Program (GRPP) DOES teach acting. That's it's main focus. It also includes some on camera work, but it's main focus is finding and growing your own process to help lift your performances in any venue to a consistenly professional level. The GRPP gives you the skills to deliver on what the director is asking for. The OCTP trains you on the current styles of what directors are asking for so you can better self direct your audition material.

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

What can we do if we are not available on Saturdays- any other options?
Unfortunately we don't have any weekday options as of this time. Also, we don't typically approach one-on-one's as an alternative venue to present our regular on-camera training curriculum, as at a large percentage of kids auditions, the kids will be going into the audition room in groups - and we have no way to address that in a one-on-one! With our new space on Ravenswood we are finishing up touches on our after school programs- and will be offering some weekday options shortly. We have also in the past had parents organize a small group that can work together as a class outside of our normal schedule. Basically if you can get together 5 kids who want to take a class on a day other than a Saturday, we can probably find a way to make it work. If you can get together only 4 kids, it still may be possible. Any less, it's unfortunately difficult for us to make it happen.
We can't make all 8 Saturdays in a row. Won't my child get lost if they miss a week or two?
We do build our curriculum around the fact that almost EVERY student will miss at least one or two classes over the course of 8 weeks. Who has 8 consecutive Saturdays free in todays day and age!?! Each week's lesson is not completely dependent upon the week before (so if they miss a class, students will not be totally lost when they return) - We also often bring back and repeat topics from previous weeks to help the kids incorporate them better into their acting - so they're likely to get most of the material anyways. Remember- we also allow up to two makeups per session!
Do parents have to stick around during class?
Not at all. We do have a small waiting area you may sit in if you wish, but many of our parents go out and about in the great city of Chicago to run errands, do yoga, blow way too much money at the shops in the neighborhood, or make a trek to Target. We're on a relatively hip and trendy block of a pretty cool and artsy neighborhood, and an easy walk away from the ridiculously hip and trendy Division Ave. and all of its fancy boutiques. Heck, its only a 6 minute drive down to the Hancock Tower or the Water Place or 15 min to Milleneum Park if you're feeling wild and crazy. We do ask though that you return to pick up your kids ON TIME!!! We have classes going on all day long, and can't have parents strolling in 15 min late to pick up their kids!!!

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Audition notices, Acting tips, Class updates & more!

** Email is required.

** Invalid format.

By: Courtney Rioux

Courtney’s first day as EMT #1.

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
– Headshots
– Resumes
– Marketing
– Unions
– Bookings
…. and loads more!!!

Here’s the video below, and check us out at and sign up for our newsletter now!

We appreciate the LIKES – and we love the SHARES !!!