Acting Coaches Los Angeles
Founder & CEO (27 years of experience teaching acting) Teaches: the Golden Box Master Class, Scene Study I, II, III, IV & V, On Camera Cold Reading, Scene Study and Script Analysis I, Scene Study & Shakespeare, The Business of Acting, On Camera Acting II, III & IV, Work on a Full Length Feature, Golden Box (Filmmaking), & Directing Scenes I & II, and teaches privately.
Michelle Danner is a film and stage director, an author, and a world-renowned acting coach. She teaches the Golden Box Acting workshops in South America, Europe, Toronto, Vancouver, Dubai, New York, Sydney and Australia.It was her father, Alexander Valdez, who opened the very first William Morris Agency in Paris, France, that instilled a strong passion and work ethic that has stayed with her throughout her life.
Michelle has taught acting for the last 27 years and has worked with many A-List Actors privately and on set including: Chris Rock, Gerard Butler, Seth MacFarlane, Penelope Cruz, Melanie Brown, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Verne Troyer, Grant Bowler, Kate Del Castillo, Michael Pena, Isla Fisher, Common, Jennifer Grant, Salma Hayek, Chris Martin, Brian McKnight, James Franco, Marcia Cross, Christian Slater, Catherine Bell, Zooey Deschanel, Gabrielle Union, Justin Chatwin, Jennifer Coolidge, Justine Wadell, Rob Estes, Rick Fox, Henry Cavill, Michelle Rodriguez, Seychelle Gabriel and many others.
Voted favorite acting coach by Backstage readers. She was brought in for her expert coaching on the W-Show The Starlet and was featured with Andy Richter on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Michelle trained extensively in Paris and New York with Stella Adler and Uta Hagen. She was the Managing Director of the Larry Moss Studio since it’s inception in Los Angeles for 20 years.
She is the Founding Director of Edgemar Center for the Arts and raised $1.3 million to construct the two theaters and the art gallery at the Center. At the opening ceremony, Steven Spielberg commented, “Here we have a venue that can turn out some extremely experienced, daring and resourceful artists.” She is currently serving as Artistic Director and teaches ongoing classes at the Michelle Danner Studio, housed at the Edgemar Center for the Arts.
Michelle has directed and acted in over thirty plays and musicals in New York and Los Angeles. Her favorite acting credits include Tennessee William’s The Rose Tattoo, which garnered critic’s pick and awards including best actress; House of Yes, Bright Ideas, Ibsen’s Ghosts, and One White Crow.
Her highlights at Edgemar have been pioneering new works that include The Night of the Black Cat, a world premiere and winner of the 2005 Best Musical of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards, which had a revival as recently as 2016. She directed the world premiere of Mental the Musical, winner of several 17thAnnual TicketHolder awards for acting and musical score. Michelle wrote and directed the world premiere of You’re on the Air, an improv based comedy which is in development to become a movie. She directed the west coast premiere of Hello Herman by John Buffalo Mailer and co-directed Jane Fonda in The Court of Public Opinion starring Anne Archer. Her last play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang won 5 Scenies, StageSceneLA Awards, including for best actress in a Comedy for her portrayal of Sonia.
In 2006, she made her feature film directing debut How to go Out on a Date in Queens, which was nominated and won four L.A. Film Awards including Best Director. It starred Jason Alexander, Esai Morales, Ron Perlman, Kimberly Williams, Rob Estes and Alison Eastwood.
Michelle also produced and acted in the award-winning short film Dos Corazones, which premiered at the Nashville Film Festival and went on to win Best Cinematography & Audience Favorite at the Malibu Film Festival.
Her second film Hello Herman starring Norman Reedus (AMC’s The Walking Dead), Martha Higareda with Garrett Backstrom premiered at the Hollywood Film Festival to a sold out audience and had its international premiere at the Monaco Charity Film Festival where it won the award for social relevance. It opened theatrically nationwide and was distributed by Warner Brothers.
Her third film, The Bandit Hound, a family comedy starring Catherine Bell, Lou Ferigno, Judd Nelson, Paul Sorvino, and Verne Troyer, was released in 2016.
Michelle just finished principal photography on a supernatural thriller, Bad Impulse, with a wonderful cast including Paul Sorvino, Sonya Walger, Grant Bowler and Dan Lauria. Her acting film credits include playing the part of Alexandra, the psychic, in the feature film “Ovation” directed by Henry Jaglom as well as Mrs. Mack in “Reach” directed by Leif Rokesh.
She is in development for several projects with All in Films. The comedy “The Italians”, a romantic comedy called “The Will To…”, She is putting the finishing touches on her acting book, The Golden Box, which will be released this year.
Teaches: Acting in a Short Film, Work on a Full Length Play, American Film History, Directing Actors, Directing Scenes I & II, Editing and Presenting Scenes, and is one of the top acting coaches Los Angeles.
A founder and the Creative Director of Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, CA, he directed the show for the first Edgemar benefit event that was hosted by Jason Alexander and included: Hilary Swank, Michael Clarke Duncan, Sally Kellerman and Chad Lowe. His technique has evolved through his work with noteworthy acting teachers: Uta Hagen, Milton Katselas, Larry Moss, and Terry Schreiber and his collaboration with writers and directors: Neil Simon, Herbert Burgdoff, Gene Sachs and Margret Edson. Mr. Drillinger has produced, coached and acted with: Jason Alexander, Ron Perlman, Anne Archer, Norman Reedus, Patrick Dempsey, Tony Shalhoub, Kimberly Williams Paisley, Wesley Snipes, Blythe Danner, Traylor Howard, Esai Morales, Lou Ferrigno, Judd Nelson, Catherine Bell and Paul Sorvino.
Brian produced and stars in the feature films: The Bandit Hound and Hello Herman, and How to Go Out on a Date in Queens for which he won “Best Supporting Actor” at the LA Indie Awards 2006. He also produced the short film Dos Corazones winner “Audience Favorite” Malibu Film Festival. In LA he produced Four-Thought and The Rose Tattoo at the Hudson Theatre, Scene Bites at the Tiffany Theatre and the workshop production of How To Go Out On A Date In Queens directed by Larry Moss.
Drillinger has directed: Stopping By at Ensemble Studio Theatre LA, The House Of Yes, Chip Chop and It Must Be Him at Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica CA, Lost In Yonkers and Almost, Maine for the Steel River Playhouse in PA, Almost, Maine for the Gasworks Theatre in Melbourne AU, and The Dreamer Examines His Pillow at The Complex in Los Angeles. He directed the workshop productions of Fifth of July and The Laramie Project for the T. Schreiber Studio in NY.
He has taught scene study, cold reading and voice for Edgemar Center, Larry Moss Studio, Michael Woolson Studio, and the UCLA Extension program. As a visiting artist he’s taught in Melbourne AU, The Philadelphia Acting Studio and Steel River Playhouse both in PA. Judy Kerr lists him as a “Recommended Acting Coach” in the industry guidebook, Acting Is Everything.
Brian graduated with honors from the SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory program. He played Stanley on Broadway and in the film version of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs and the National tour of Broadway Bound. The Substance Of Fire at the Old Globe in San Diego, the original production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Wit at the South Coast Repertory, the Seattle Repertory and the Alley Theatre in Houston, also at SCR Death Of A Salesman and Boundary Waters, The Real Thing at T. Schreiber Studio and An Enemy of the People for the Bristol Riverside Theatre. His television credits include: The Agency, Wings, Life Goes On, Reasonable Doubts, and General Hospital. Brian starred opposite Sally Kirkland, in the indie feature Starry Night, and Janeane Garafalo in I Shot A Man In Vegas.
Born in the Bronx and trained at the Juilliard School, Ms. Dunford began her theater career in NYC. Upon graduating from Juilliard, she was cast in Joseph Papp’s NYSF production of Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. She spent the next two years working at Mr. Papp’s Public Theater in the American premiere of Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money(both the off-Broadway & Broadway runs) and in the lead role of Love’s Labors Lost, directed by Gerald Freedman.
Other NY stage appearances include Infidelities at Primary Stages and the title role in Tamara. On the West Coast, Ms. Dunford starred with Ed Begley, Jr. in the David Mamet plays Cryptogramand Old Neighborhood at the Geffen Playhouse. She also worked extensively with the experimental theater company Bottom’s Dream, and won a Dramalogue Award for her performance in their production of Losing Venice. Dunford has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the Edgemar Center for the Arts, where she developed and performed solo works in addition to appearing in many of their readings and film projects. Her last engagement as an actor at Edgemar was in The Shadow Box, directed by fellow Juilliard alum Keith David.
Since moving to Los Angeles, Dunford has appeared in over 100 episodes of television, both as a series regular (Good Sports with Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett; Hudson Street with Tony Danza; Something So Right with Jere Burns; Bob with Bob Newhart; and The Secret Lives of Men with Brad Whitford) and guest star (The Next Arrested Development; Law & Order LA; Harry’s Law; Two and a Half Men; Boston Legal; Seinfeld; Frasier; Without a Trace and others). She also co-starred with Jon Lovitz in the live broadcast of the FOX sketch comedy special: The Jon Lovitz Show.
On film, Ms. Dunford starred opposite Peter Fonda in the Oscar-nominated Ulee’s Gold. Other films include the indie-award winning American Dream, How to Go on a Date in Queens (opposite Jason Alexander); Love & Basketball; Reversal of Fortune; Slaves of NY and the award-winning shorts Dos Corazones and Lost People of Mountain Village. Her most recent film Hello Herman, directed by Michelle Danner, will be released this fall.
Ms. Dunford is also a writer and has performed solo plays at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival, the Edgemar Center, the Improv and Luna Park.
In addition to her stage and film work, Ms. Dunford has provided voices for characters on the animated television series Real Monsters; God, the Devil and Bob and Glenn Martin, DDS, as well as for television and radio commercials. She’s enjoyed narrating documentary films and museum installments for groups as diverse as the United Nations and the Pacific Science Center. Her voice has been featured in many popular video and online games including The Lord of the Rings; Civilizations; Dawn of War; Hitman; XCOM; Mass Effect & others.
Teaches: The Meisner Technique, Film Analysis, Casting Your Short
Valerie Debler is a private acting coach, one of the best acting coaches Los Angeles, a director and writer. She is a graduate of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC and studied acting at the Warren Robertson Theatre Workshop. Her directing credits include contemporary original works such as The Secretary, by William Bodes and The Theory of Everything by Nicolai Thecatus as well as classics such as Antigone by Jean Anouilh and Dirty Hands by Jean Paul Sartre. She has taken part in the Summer’s Director Festival at the American Theatre of Actors where she directed several original works. Most recently, she served as Executive Producer of the feature film Hello Herman, directed by Michelle Danner and starring Norman Reedus.
Derek Jeremiah Reid is half way through his second term as the best Obama impressionist in Los Angeles. LAWeekly says “Derek Jeremiah Reid’s Obama …is terrific.” He is the former host of the Fox Family Channel’s show The Basement and the Weekend Chill. Reid is the actor/writer/director of Top Story Weekly (Los Angeles’s longest running topical sketch show.)
Reid is a founding member of the improv team Robert Downey Jr.Jr. and the mastermind behind the Edgemar’s premiere team Hidden Fortress (the only Japanese improv team in the world).
Doug Kaback is a playwright, director, and actor and one of the top acting coaches Los Angeles, who has served on the Department of Theatre faculty at Cal State Northridge (CSUN) since 1994 to the present and as an adjunct on the faculty at U.C. Santa Barbara. He holds an MFA in Drama from U.S.C. and a BFA in Dramatic Art from U.C. Santa Barbara. At Edgemar Center for the Arts, Doug directed A Flea in Her Ear and adapted and directed Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts for its premiere last March.
He has directed new plays at the Old Globe, Cornerstone, and the Odyssey Theatre and is a co-founder of Genesis Theatre producing and directing The Survivor, a true account of the Warsaw Ghetto, at the Electric Lodge in Venice. He has written over forty plays including: The Eye Juggler – written with the Southern Ute Indian tribe in Ignacio, Colorado; and Not Here – featured at the National Association of Attorneys General Summit on Youth Violence. Not Here toured to a number of states as part of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws program focusing on drugs, racism, and gangs. It was produced for video at CBS. His stage adaptation of the Korean folk myth, Shim Ch’ong, was presented at the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices International Theatre Festival in Washington D.C. The Getty Center also produced the play, which then toured to the National Theatre in Seoul, Korea. His work with the Korean community in Los Angeles included directing two original works at the Korean Cultural Center.
As an actor, he has performed the principal roles in Hamlet (for director Charles Marowitz), The Immigrant, Talley’s Folly, Crossing Delancey, Tom Jones, The Elephant Man, and Woyzeck. For the past fifteen years, he has served as Executive Director of CSUN’s Teenage Drama Workshop (TADW) that received the 2010 CETA Professional Artist award. The longest running program of its kind in the nation, TADW provides secondary school students with a conservatory experience in the arts for six weeks during the summer (www.csun.edu/tadw). Also at CSUN, he has written and directed theatre and video projects in collaboration with the March of Dimes, VITAS Hospice Care, the Department of Probation, the Center for Community Engagement, and Pan African Studies. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the National Center on Deafness and toured The Taste of Sunrise to Deaf West Theatre. He is a co-founder of the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) in Los Angeles – an organization of artists, educators, and activists dedicated to bringing theatre for social change to a variety of underserved communities. Inspired by the late Brazilian writer and director Augusto Boal, the center hosted the 2005 International Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference. His direction of Vesta, integrating TO with a play about dying with dignity and hospice care, led to his award as a CSUN Visionary Faculty in 2009.
Javier Alcina graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. While still at school, he was personally cast by Academy Award Winner director Tom Hooper for his BBC production of “Love in a Cold Climate” with such stars as Rosamund Pyke and Sir Alan Bates amongst many others. He then continued his career in Film, TV, Theatre and Voiceovers. His debut in film came in 2002 with the feature Deserter, alongside Tom Hardy.
His career spans several countries including England, Spain, Russia, France, China, Morocco and the US. During this time he has worked with some of the best professionals in the business following his dream to never stop learning.
He recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
James Fowler has been teaching and performing for 10 years (LACHSA Summer Arts Conservatory, County of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation, Theatrical Education Group, Down Town Reparatory Theatre Company). After studying at some of California’s most prestigious institutions of Art (Los Angeles County High School for the Performing Arts, Berklee College of Music, American Musical and Dramatic Academy of the Arts), he spent a great deal of time on stage and on camera.
Most recently he has been producing and casting features and television.
James, one of the best acting coaches Los Angeles, believes in the ability of each student and has a keen knowledge of the arts that spreads over a vast amount of creative subjects: Acting, Cinematography, Dance, Singing, Musical Theatre, Stage Combat, Shakespeare Technique, Audition Technique, Acting for the Camera, Literature/Criticism, Creative Writing, and Voice/Speech.
Teaches: Making a Short Film class, Work on a Full Length Feature I, Fundamentals of Directing I, Production Management, Filming the Short I, Write a Full Length Feature I & II, Full Length Features and Brainstorming Ideas for Full Length Outline Treatment, Grammar, ESL for Business Jobs, Conversation, Voice and Speech, American Accents, Business Writing and is also one of the top acting coaches Los Angeles.
Everett Ray Aponte is a Puerto Rican filmmaker raised in Texas. In 2002 he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with an RTF degree, specializing in film production and receiving awards for his senior thesis film “S.O. Security Officer.” In 2004 he wrote, directed, and starred in his short film masterpiece, “Samuel DeMango” playing in 46 film festivals around the world and winning him numerous awards. For several years he worked with Lincoln Property Company in Austin, creating several internet videos and comedic industry videos for their entertainment events, including PenFu, his most popular short. In 2008 Everett got certified as a TEFL English as a Second Language Instructor. One year later, he helped create a short film in Korea called “Elicit” which won the local festival and was presented in Las Vegas. In 2010, he wrote and directed his first feature film, and arthouse entitled Manifesto. Two years later he was the Assistant Director and one of the stars in the German production of Atomic Eden, which placed 4th in Kuwaiti Box Office and will be released in America this year (2018). In 2013, he co-directed a family action film called Shilo, released by Shoreline Entertainment, and in the same year, Everett collaborated with the Germans again in Assassin’s Dawn, in which he was the Assistant Director and lead. Finally, Everett brought his talents in Los Angeles, shooting a short film called “Nature,” performing as the MC in the stage production of Black Cat Cabaret and as Mugsy in For Her Eyes Only, and most recently he worked as Unit Production Manager and Michelle Danner’s recent film Bad Impulse.
Teferi Seifu is an Ethiopian born filmmaker who has worked as filmeditor on movies like ‘The Bandit Hound (2016)’, ‘The M Word (2014)’ , ’Ovation (2015)’ and ‘Hello Herman (2013)’ with worldwide distribution deals from ALCHEMY and Warner Brothers available on Walmart, Amazon, iTunes, Redbox, VUDU, BestBuy/Cinema and Fandango. Now in over 100 million homes.
His latest project is a feature length independent film Bad Impulse, due to be released 2018.
Teferi’s work as an editor has been screened at Regal LA LIVE Stadium 14, Iowa Independent Film Festival, Cinema at the Edge Independent Film Festival and Cannes Court Métrage (Cannes film festival short films corner) to name a few.
He has tutored students in film editing theory and practice at the Michelle Danner Acting Studio for the past 3 years.
Teaches: Production Design.
Alessandra Manias is a Production Designer and Art Director in Los Angeles. She has more than 15 years of experience in Europe in set design for photo shoots, artistic installations, exibition stands, videos, etc…
After moving to Los Angeles she has done the production design for music video, web series, theatre plays, and movies movie.
She has a degree in Architecture, Master MBA, Master in Neuro Linguistic Programming. She works from the concept to the realization of the project.
Ed Debler earned his Master of Business Administration degree in 1992 and has gone on to Executive Producer many feature films. With his expertise he brings his class “Art of the Pitch” on how to pitch your TV or Movie idea to executives.
Teaches: Meisner Technique, Stella Adler and Auditioning for Film and TV.
Todd Weeks is an actor, theater director, teacher and one of the top acting coaches Los Angeles. He is an Acting Ensemble Member of the acclaimed Atlantic Theater Company in New York City, where he has taught its Meisner-based acting technique through the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Undergraduate Program.
Todd recently starred in the mini-series Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, HBO’s All The Way opposite Bryan Cranston as Chief of Staff Walter Jenkins, and in the ABC mini-series on the history of the LGBT movement, When We Rise.
On Broadway, Todd has performed in the musical The Full Monty (original cast), The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Summer and Smoke, Our Town, and the National Tours of Angels in America, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Todd has performed Off-Broadway in ATC premieres of The Voysey Inheritance, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The Jammer, Sea of Tranquility, The Cider House Rules, Distant Fires, Boys’ Life (also at Lincoln Center Theater), and The Lights (LCT) among others. Regionally, Todd directed the World Premiere of I Loved Lucy at the Laguna Playhouse, and as an actor has appeared at The Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Williamstown, Alliance Theater, and Dallas Theater Center.
Other starring roles for Television include Timeless, Modern Family, Detroit 187, Men of a Certain Age, The Defenders, Rubicon, Numb3rs, Medium, The Unit, Law & Order(s), Ed, One Life to Live, among others. Film: Cafe Society, Brightest Star, The Maiden Heist, The Deal, Heterosexuals, Love Thy Brother, Mind the Gap, Amos & Andrew.
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