Kids & Teens Classes

Guest Teacher Policy for Casting Directors / Associates

PLEASE NOTE: All of our classes with guest casting directors/associates/assistants are a learning experience, not an audition or employment opportunity. When the workshop/class is over, the casting director/casting associate/assistant (whichever is applicable) teaching will not be taking home nor be given access to your headshot, resume or any other of your promotional materials.

Guest teachers scheduled for a particular week(s) in our multi-week classes are based on their availability which may change at the last minute due to their casting duties, are not guaranteed, and may be subbed out for another teacher. (Most of our teachers at the Green Room have extensive experience as current or former Casting professionals at major Chicago or LA casting offices. Those without casting experience have developed successful careers as professional actors.)

Standard Kids / Teens On Camera Program

In short- a bit about our program overall.... The primary focus of the our kids curriculum is on-camera commercial audition training, and was designed by Casting Directors who've worked extensively in the Chicago marketplace. Our teachers and guest teachers include current and former casting directors/associates/assistants from major casting offices including O'Connor Casting, PR Casting, and Karge + Ross Casting, as well as actors who have extensive professional experience and successful careers. The local casting directors stay active in our curriculum, and we keep in conversation with them as to how effective the training is and what modifications we can make to keep the Chicago talent pool moving forward to attract even more work to our town. Styles change rapidly in this business, and so must an effective on camera curriculum. Most sessions we are able to bring in a current local casting director to work with the kids for one or two of the class days.

Can I just call to figure out the right class for my child? (click for answer)
Yes. But we have a very small staff, and don't keep regular office hours. Email is by far the easiest contact method as we can get to it in between auditions or classes. We will work with each student & parent to direct them towards the class that is best for them, but PLEASE explore the website as much as possible! The info here can probably answer most of your questions! See the class descriptions below for our teaching approach and curriculums. This top section is all business stuff! 
Can my child be placed in an age group that is slightly older or younger than what they really are?
In short, yes. We trust your judgement.
Sometimes a child is rather mature for their age, rather shy, or simply because their sibling is in the other age group, the family can't carve out a full four hour chunk on every Saturday, and it would be way easier if the kids could just be in the same class!  Our policy is thus: we are open to that within reason, and the parents are typically far better judges on whether it is an appropriate move or not. Here are a few bits of info that can help you make your decisions:
  • Being off by one year is usually fine, two years only occassionally works,
    three or more- no way.
  • You are the parent. You know the maturity level of you child. Be honest about it.
  • Each class uses scripts that are typical for that age group. More often than not, it behooves a child that looks like a six year old to work on scripts that are written for a six year old, regardless of how mature they may be. A six year old reading at a 13yr old level still looks like a six year old, and will be cast accordingly. But this is by no means a deal breaker.
  • The basic concepts and issues taught in each age group are, for the most part, the same. There are some scripts that are different to fit the age groups, and a few of our approaches on certain topics may be modified and simplified for our youngest groups, but the overall approach is intact and similar in each of the age groups.
What kind of kids & teens take classes at The Green Room?
Our students range from child actors who are already out there in the business, to kids who have never taken an acting class in their lives; From extremely precocious to painfully shy. Some take our classes to help further their careers, some to help them out of their shells and gain some self-confidence in their everyday lives. We approach all of our students as if they are here to learn how to succeed in the on camera business in Chicago and beyond, and are here to guide our students and their parents through the maze of issues including talent agents, headshots, casting directors, bookings, etc. But if you want to join us for classes and have no interest in actually getting into the business of it all, that's fine too!

All classes are limited in size- See particular class description for details. Not all classes are offered each term- see schedule for classes available currently.

Teens On-Camera (13-17yrs)

A modified version of our On-Camera adult curriculum geared towards the on camera commercial and TV/film roles that teens will audition for. The Green Room's curriculum is known for being far more in depth that a "typical" kids acting class. We cover a wide range of topics in commercial and TV/film acting from the perspective of casting directors. Limit 12 students.
  • Work in a classroom setting with other teens on roles written for teens.
  • Learn how to analyze a variety of script structures.
  • Learn an effective audition strategy that may differ from other mediums.
  • Learn how to use and develop your own personality.
  • Work towards “keeping it real”.
  • Incorporate tips and tricks that many actors overlook.
  • Strengthen your business and communication skills as you discover
    what is expected of you.
  • Develop your ability to use Simplicity / Specificity as an incredible tool.

Kids On-Camera (Two different age groups:  8-12yrs and 5-7yrs)

Our curriculum combines modified theatre games and simulated on-camera auditions to free up the young actors creativity and comfortability while providing them with hands-on knowledge of the on-camera audition process. They will leave class knowing what is expected of them in an on-camera audition, and how to have fun while being successful. The Green Room's curriculum is known for being far more in depth that a "typical" kids acting class. Subject matter and games are specific to each age group. Each session, we typically are visited by a guest industry professional such as a Casting Director, Talent Agent, or Director (schedule permitting). There is also an informational meeting with the parents to help them know what is expected from them, and how they can be a part of their child's on-camera interests. Limit 12 students.

Teens On-Camera On-Going Workshop (13-17yrs)

This is a place for teens who have taken class with us before to continue their On-Camera work and dive into new, more challenging scripts. This is designed to be a class that can be taken more than once.

Kids On-Camera On-Going Workshop (8-12yrs or 5-7yrs)

This is a place for kids who have taken class with us before to continue their On-Camera work and dive into new, more challenging scripts. This is designed to be a class that can be taken more than once.

One-On-One Coaching and Audition Taping

Do you need an audition recorded or some one-on-one time to focus on a specific training issue? The Green Room is your professional resource for coaching and taping. We will record your coaching sessions so you can review them at home, or we can help you create a professional looking audition using our studio space and equipment. We help coach you to your best performance so you feel confident about your audition, and edit it into an easily downloaded format for submission. Email or call for pricing and availability.

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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!!!

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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?”

Share on Twitter if you agree!

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!