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Behinds the scenes of a video shoot

Acting for the Camera: The Reel Experience

Course dates

July 15 to July 28, 2019

Application deadline


Hone your on-camera acting with coaching from L.A. ​master teachers who will teach techniques to convey an authentic emotional experience on screen.

  • Understand the acting techniques required for on-camera work.
  • Learn to analyze the text of any script to make it more personal and infuse it with deeper meaning.
  • Develop a demo reel of on-camera work to share with agents and casting directors.
  • Explore your character type and learn how to pick scene material that showcases your strengths.
  • Navigate the film industry “business”: headshots, auditions, agents, managers, SAG/Aftra, and casting directors.

man standing  infront of digial camera in a classroom setting  


Undergraduate: DRAMA 421, 3 units
Graduate/post-baccalaureate: DRAMA 621, 3 units




This course is for those who have had a minimum of two acting courses beyond high school experience and who want to develop a diverse set of skills to make them more marketable as an actor. Theatre-trained students are especially encouraged to apply.


  1. Submit a YouTube video link (60 sec max) with the following:
    1. An intro about yourself and what makes you unique.
    2. A line-read from the side we send you. (Email the Course Coordinator for this.)
  2. Submit/upload the materials listed in step one when you apply online by May 13, 2019.


Professor Susan Abbey

Guest Artists

Hal Masonberg –

Hal Masonberg has worked for more than 20 years in the Los Angeles film industry in multiple capacities ranging from studio writer for Paramount, Disney, and STARZ, to casting session director for both commercial and theatrical auditions. Hal has worked with many of the biggest casting directors and actors in the industry on hundreds of commercials and such films as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and I’m Here. He has helped cast such actors as Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Andrew Garfield, John C. Reilly, and many others. He continues to write, make films, and work with actors as both director and teacher/coach at “Hal Masonberg’s Commercial Acting Workshops” in Los Angeles.

Vicki Goggin –

Vicki Goggin is the owner of Vicki Goggin & Associates Casting in Los Angeles. Her company currently casts commercials, webisode series, and digital content for film, TV, and internet comedy directors. Vicki's for-camera approach combines naturalism, humor, authenticity, and spontaneity to create performance that meet our current day trends in both advertising and programming. Vicki has taught throughout her casting career, sharing with actors the unique techniques and emergency survival tricks she developed for creative victory not just in their on-set performances but in the fun, fast, and unpredictable world of their auditions.

Dan Shaner –

Dan Shaner has worked as a casting director in film, television, and new media for every major studio and network for more than 25 years. As head of casting for six years at Wilshire Court Productions, he cast 75 movies for television featuring such stars as Neil Patrick Harris, William H. Macy, Marg Helgenberger, and Brittany Murphy, among many others. He teaches industry preparation classes at USC in the Masters, BA, and BFA Acting Programs. He also teaches Industry Preparation and Audition Technique at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Theatre of Arts, and the Art of Acting Studio, which is the Los Angeles branch of the Stella Adler Studio.

Michelle Cartier

Michelle Cartier is an educator, media poet, and community activist who teaches critical analysis and film studies courses at Humboldt State University. As a filmmaker and media poet, her work pushes the boundaries of the frame, often through interactive media performances, including short films, socio-political remixes of pop culture, and live DJing. Her filmmaking is usually dense with an eccentric mix of 16mm Optical Printing, super-8 found footage, and multi-media digital remixes. As a director of photography, she encourages her students to deepen their storytelling through psychological and physiological lenses that allow them to convey their unique agency and personality on camera.

Caroline Mercier

Dr. Caroline Mercier has taught, designed and exhibited her work for more than 15 years. She originally started in fashion design and after opening her own boutique and creating lines, moved on to performance art. As a costume designer, she is the recipient of a Les Masques award, the Quebecois equivalent to the Tony. She has collaborated for shows and directors such as Les Miserables in New York, Cirque du Soleil, Robert Lepage, Douglas Campbell and McGill Opera. She was just a guest artist at CSULA in Los Angeles this spring. As a make-up artist, she has worked on many sets in Hollywood and Las Vegas. She worked as a makeup artist for Cirque du Soleil show at the Kodak theatre in LA, and competed several times in the World Bodypainting Competition in Austria and Paintopia in England.

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