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.
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***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
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!!!
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As we move through our careers as artists and attain a certain level of success (whether that be consistently booking guest stars and recurring roles, becoming a member of a reputable theater company or some other definition of success), it can be tempting to think that you’ve “gotten there” and that there’s no longer a need for training.
I’ve also seen students come straight out of conservatory training programs thinking that they’re all set. They have all the training they need, and they don’t need to attend class or regularly “work out” their acting muscle.
As an actors’ business coach, and an actress myself, I know that ongoing training is vital to success as a performance artist. This is true because not only is continual growth and expansion important to any art form, but also because your competition is training. If you want to book work, you must train.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve interviewed some important industry voices on the topic of training. Here’s what they had to say…
Is ongoing training Important?
Michael McCracken, actor and founder of the Vagabond School of the Arts and former talent agent: “I do think that ongoing training is important. We as artists/humans are ever-changing; we are inherently students of life. Life never stops changing, so you can’t, either!
“As actors/artists, we must always be looking to better ourselves and hone our craft. Not only through working on a project, but through work that truly challenges us. To get better and deeper in his art, a painter gets up every day and paints; a writer gets up every day and writes; a musician… you get it.
“Why shouldn’t actors get up every day and do their art in a way that challenges and fulfills them?”
Sean Bradley, Actor, co-founder of The Green Room Studio and former casting associate: “I think if acting is approached as an art form then growth through training and exploration on a regular basis is the defining feature. A personal definition of ‘art’ for me has always been any endeavor one engages in that provides a lifetime of continual growth and exploration.
“The journey is training. It does not have to be constant involvement in an institution that takes one’s money; most of all deep learning is taught through one’s own self-discovery, practice and examination, but most of us lack the ability to sustain self-involvement without an organized class environment on at least a semi-regular basis.
“A great teacher can spark questions, tempt us with new ideas, and inspire one to go searching for new breakthroughs on how this art form of communication lives and breaths and works. An actor should feel out that balance between time spent in classes and breaks (where they step away and deeply explore on their own).”
Brian King, Actor and Teacher at The Green Room Studio: “I think continuing to learn as an actor is as important as it gets. But also continuing to learn as a person in general is important. Every bit of in-class knowledge and experience as well as out-of-class knowledge and experience is worth collecting to put in your acting tool box, whether you end up using it or not.
“The longer you’re in the business, the more you grow. The older you get, the parts you go out for start to change and you have to be able to evolve with that. Absorb it all. Your training should never stop.”
Jimmy Carrane, Performer, Teacher and Author: “I don’t know too many actors or improvisers who are content where they are in their career. If you are, you can stop reading right now. But, if you are an improviser and you want to do TV and film, and you have no experience doing it, by all means, take an on-camera class. If you are an actor who is asked to improvise in commercial auditions and you are not very comfortable doing it, take an improv class.
“People sometimes think, ‘I am an accomplished stage actor,’ or ‘I am on a house team at an improv theater, I don’t need any more training.’ In most cases, the credits don’t transfer. Just because you have mastered one medium does not mean that you will automatically master another one.
“My experience is that it will take less time to master a new skill because of your prior experience, but it will not happen over night, which is why ongoing training is so important.”
The verdict seems to be in: ongoing training, at least to these industry heavy-hitters, is very important. So, where do you train? What do you think about the idea of continuing to train and develop your skills as an artist? Leave a note in the comments area, below!
We’re not done with the conversation yet! Next week, we’ll dive a little deeper with Michael, Sean, Brian, and Jimmy and talk about how Chicago actors can keep up with actors in New York and Los Angeles.
Courtney Rioux, The Whole Artist coaches actors and other creative talent who feel stuck in their career and want more out of life. She’s here to help you shift your mindset from stuck and unhappy to empowered and joyful — all while making it feel fun and easy. It’s like therapy without the therapy.
Check out My Big Year 2016 to join a coaching group with other artists who are continuing to develop their skills!