I was studying at the Groundlings for several terms and kept seeing postcards and fliers for the Actors Comedy Studio and would take them thinking I'll call when the time is right. It took a while, but boy am I glad I finally called! I had heard about a different comedy coach teaching a similar style and met with him first. I found him pompous, rude and it took his staff weeks to call back to schedule me into a class. Thank heavens for that because I am much happier in the presence of the exceedingly bright, straight forward-without-being-rude, freaking FUNNY Gunnar, who takes comedy very seriously. He studies it, eats, lives and breathes it...to my benefit! My husband and I were actors 15 years ago and left for the wine industry and have just recently come back. This makes me feel like I have sooo much to catch up on and do, but just not enough time. What I dig most is that with Gunnar, we have have eeked out a plan for my career. So much has changed since I was previously in it, so it might seem lame to appear that I am not doing the plan entirely on my own, but I am not too proud to say that I appreciate Gunnar's expertise and SO appreciate the help. Now, among other things, we have a production company and my husband and I wanted help with our scenes in the film. I had worked with a couple of people whom I felt were not really that helpful. I made an appt. to meet with Gunnar to see what he had to offer. We clicked! I joined the master class, filled with all sorts of inspiring talent, and my husband and I did privates with him as well. Things that just weren't clicking at read-throughs were fixed in a NY minute with Gunnar (who used to be known as Todd, just for clarification.) We fleshed out our characters, bringing them to a much deeper level. Good stuff! I love being in the presence of people who are constantly working as well. Class opens with "good news to share", and there's often a boat load! There are so many things offered such as $20 workshops, 10 week Comedy Intensives, an Industry Showcase with nothing but top-notch attendees. I very much recommend the Actor's Comedy Studio to youth and adult actors and look forward to carving out another career for me doing what I love! Thank you to Gunnar and your entire staff! (They are very efficient and good to work with)
I just finished taking the Sitcom Essentials 8 week course and it blew my mind how amazing the course is. First of all, the teachers who taught the different classes are all very passionate, knowledgeable, giving, encouraging and supportive. There were performers from all levels: from just starting out to seasoned professionals. And the teachers made it challenging, fresh and interesting for all above. The amount of information I was able to walk away with from the course is mind blowing. I learned about the different comedy character archetypes, how to breakdown a comedy script (so huge :) ), improv techniques to keep the scene fresh, what happens during auditions from the pre read to network testing and booking a series regular, what adjustments I need to make to create a single camera and multi-camera performance and what a casting director is looking for in pictures and in your auditions. Oh and let me not forget to mention the live performance. Each performer was paired up and given a different scene unique to what they would be cast for in the field. And we worked on the scene during the course of the time and performed it in front of an audience with three different cameras going....multi-camera sitcom style. Even though I've had previous experience of performing on multi-camera tv shows, I still learned a lot.....things I wish I learned before.I came away from this course confident about who I am as a performer and what my strengths and weaknesses are. I am so glad I took this course. Actor's Comedy Studio is creative and innovative in the way they teach their classes. They are passionate and serious about what they do. And they really know how to prepare their students for working in the professional world. Thank you so much Gunnar and Lauren, you are truly wonderful and a gift to actors.
ACS is THE ONLY place to train for sitcoms as far as I'm concerned. I have studied at ACS for over a year now and I have nothing but the most positive things to say about this studio and the people who run it. Gunnar and Lauren are some of the most intelligent people when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of what it is happening in situational comedy today and right now. They're eternally focused on keeping on top of what's going on in the industry and making sure they are teaching they're students what's important and how best to understand how to create the best auditions possible. Not only is ACS an AMAZING place to train and hone your skills, but it is also a place that has felt like another home for me. Having a network of like-minded people has always been important to me for my "artistic health" and I'm so glad to say that ACS has provided a community of hard-working passionate artists that I am continually inspired by. I have the utmost respect for my peers at the studio and for Gunnar and Lauren who are two of the most inspiring individuals I have ever met. The studio that they have created is nothing short of amazing. If you are looking for amazing training in a positive environment taught by people who are on top of the industry than ACS is the right place for you. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Actors Vocal Program they offer with instructor Corinne Dekker. Yes, you heard me right. An Comedy Studio that offers amazing voice lessons. Whether you are a beginner or experienced professional, Corinne is an amazing teacher. She understands the voice and the vulnerability it can bring and she makes you feel comfortable in the classroom and explains things in a way that make you feel like you just encountered a miracle.Go to this studio for the BEST training around.
Woohoo is right my friends. I have found a fit for me in LA. I have a degree in theater and I have studied and done numerous shows and even showcases in LA. The transition from coast to coast from Stage to Film is extremely difficult. Actors Comedy Showcase is making me grow immensely week by week connecting talent to WORK. It's an Honor to work with both Lauren Bertoni and Gunnar Todd Rohrbacher. When I met them, they asked me what they could do for MY career and they gauge what they can do with each and every actor separately. In this studio, you compete against yourself, because there is only you. I haven't been asked that sincerely in my acting career. ACS provides on Camera sitcom acting class in which I'm enrolled currently. To think i went to so many auditions not knowing the rules of acting on film and especially in the audition room. I have learned more in 2 months than I have the many years I have already spent in LA. They have an amazing Staff that give specific notes and you get to work through your notes after you watch yourself on Playback. To Correct and learn your mistakes. It is an efficient way to learn and improve every class. They offer different classes, private coachings, career coachings, intensives, and schedule out several Industry showcases each month and its ONLY $20 for students and non students all the time. The class I take begins with announcements and discussions about the trade and what is happening in the industry. At first I just learned by listening, and now I am reading everyday just to share every week. Its such a great knowledgeable vibe at the studio, actors and staff. It's worth the interview with the Co Owners right at the studio. I recommend this to any Actor or actress as it creates a network of HONEST, healthy improvement in your career.
I cannot recommend the Acting For Sitcoms class at ACS ENOUGH. Gunnar has an unparalleled passion for and understanding of comedy. At the beginning of each class he gives a brief but always amusing update on the current events in the industry, knowing that as actors it is imperative we are kept informed and on our toes and therefore empowered when it comes to taking the reins in our careers and steering in the right direction. He knows what’s up and stays current. Class is made up of actors from pretty diverse backgrounds, from actors who just want to loosen up and be more comfortable with comedy to stand-up comedians looking to branch out and get some solid technique for translating their personas to on-camera work. And every class, they all progress. You will see it. Each week is a chance to improve your cold-reading skills, audition technique, learn to nail taking direction, and watch your second take on playback at the end of the night. The cost of class here is crazy low and as other people have mentioned ACS offers legit $20 casting director workshops and endless networking opportunities through its Facebook group and well, the other 15 or so working actors in class every night being encouraged to self-produce and just plain make-it-happen. I’m only half-kidding when I say Gunnar is the Dumbledore of comedy. He can take any muggle struggling with finding the funny and with the right combination of spells turn them into a competent comedy wizard. Do yourself a favor, Accio your cellphone, conjure up an orientation meeting with Gunnar, and you’ll find your patronus has mysteriously changed to a whimsical, bespectacled little man charging down dementors while giggling and bellowing out, “Hello, everybody!”
The essence of a coffee shop is usually not its coffee, but its comfort. How comfortable is it to get some work done? How comfortable is it to hang out and relax with the morning paper? For while the coffee itself is important, if it were the most important part of a coffee shop, I'm afraid, McDonalds and 7eleven might be the Shangrilla of coffee.But seriously, I am not a fan of the overly strong Starbucks coffee that gives me a heart burn every time I take a swig. Rather, I prefer light, tasty coffee, a la Dunkin Donuts.So when it comes to coffee shops, I prefer to rate it on "ambiance, attitude and allure". I think I should patent this - the 3 A's. Anyway, Swork has all of the above. They have free Wi-Fi, ample tables for singles and accessible power outlets to juice those laptops.They have great outdoor seating as well for those babysitting their dogs or those interesting in people watching.Inside, they have a couple of computer terminals for pay-as-you-go use. So it serves as a decent internet cafe. But bring your own laptop, buy a coffee and you will get free Wi-Fi.So why the 4 stars? Well, the coffee is still a part (albeit a small part) of the experience and it does not measure up. It is way too strong (even their breakfast blend is strong).Also, while some might consider being infant friendly a plus, I really have no patience for loud toddlers. Swork has a play pen area inside for young boys and girls to play around in while the parent catches a break. Some might give that an extra star and maybe one day I will too, but not today
Honestly, this is some of the best food I've ever had in the Los Angeles area. The restaurant is a bit difficult to find, tucked on a side street in the heart of east downtown L.A., but if you know the restaurant State & Church, it's just across the street. It's a big red door.So, first let's talk about the beer. The menu is filled with artisan Belgian style beers, both imported and domestic. You can't go wrong, but talk to your waiter about what you like, or what you feel like having, and you'll get a good recommendation. Be bold - the selection changes all the time. I highly recommend the Ommegang Witte, if available - sweet, summery, just great.Then the appetizers. There are several mussel dishes to choose from - just pick one. I love the smoked salmon bruschetta - it's out of this world. And the mushroom risotto ... ay yi. I got a taste of the salmon sandwich and one of the burgers - they're pretty much fantastic. But let me tell you, it's all about the smoked wild boar sausage, with pureed roasted sweet potatoes, black kale and pearl onions. I haven't tasted boar sausage like this since my last meal in Venice (Italy, not the beach town). And if you're not adventurous for the boar, head straight for the grilled smoked salmon and taste a bit of heaven. Seriously, this is my new favorite restaurant.
IF YOU DONT KNOW - NOW YOU KNOW!...I have been studying at Actors Comedy Studio for 3 months now, when i was given the opportunity to take a class for 8 weeks learning all about sitcoms- i jumped on it. Not only is Actors Comedy Studio the ONLY studio that offers this class but the teachers not only are extremely credited- they bring in outside sources that are also extremely credited. This studio is ran by LAUREN BERTONI and GUNNAR TODD ROHRBACHER - 2 of the elite in the business. These people not only know EVERYTHING but they know EVERYONE! And if you are in LA- you know thats what matters. Check their credentials. Facts don't lie.Being blessed enough to be in the same room with them and be taught by them is out of this world. These are 2 people in hollywood who ARE NOT SELFISH with there knowledge. These people know the business and they tell it like it is. In this sitcom class, i was taught the truth of what happens in the real world of sitcoms. It moves fast! They know all the secrets that is imperative for actors who want to WORK! (Because thats why we are here!) the things i was taught now have me prepared for anything thrown my way...You want the secrets? Well, then take the class. You will be just as protective and territorial over this studio as i am.
Wow. I'll admit, I have shyed away from here just because it kind of looked a little corporate coffee-ee. Well, whatever it is, they serve up good coffee and awesome customer service. I'll warn you, not a lot of electical outlets here- when I asked about plugging in my laptop, the staff here went on a mission. When they were all taken, they offered an extension cord from the back bar. They said we could move tables. There happened to be an empty table near said back bar, but when the extension cord and my laptop didn't work, the staff climbed under the counter to see if they could make the cord stretch. It did. Viola. The barista on staff was great- double-checked with me if my in-house coffee size was okay, if I didn't like my milk choice, let her know and she would redo, the works. Apologized to ME because of the weird tipping- can't tip on a credit card. She apologized that they did not have a workable system on a credit card. I am impressed. I hope I see this staff again. Very customer oriented. Very rare to get this level of interest in most coffee places!
If you are one of those actors whose dvr is full of prime time comedies, and want to be part of the magic, than this is this class for you I LOVE this class. One of the best classes I have ever taken.This class as helped me prepare for auditions and help me to analyze a scene in a short amount of time. The Ten Characters of Comedy is part of this, and wow; it really helps breaking down a script and help understand the angle to approach from. I have booked things because of this alone. Todd is brilliant. He genuinely cares about the person within the actor and pushes you to get it right. He also is VERY informed about the business side as well, giving us weekly updates and all the insider trade secrets :)The school also offers $20 dollar workshops, bringing in agents, casting directors, and important people in the biz. Its almost unfair that its $20, because every workshop is so valuable and legit. They aren't like those workshops you get in mass emails that promise you this and that and are so vague. I HIGHLY recommend this class and will continue to take it.
There has perhaps never been a better tool for do-it-yourself home handymen than the internet. With detailed instructions and videos explaining how to perform a number of common maintenance and renovation tasks around a house, an untrained homeowner might be surprised at how much he or she can accomplish with a quick search online. But even with all of this information, there are still many jobs that lie far outside the scope of most DIY enthusiasts. General contractors are there to fill in this gap.
A general contractor specializes in seeing a home remodel or repair project through from start to finish. To do this, the contractor works with the client - whether they are a homeowner or business - to nail down the scope of the work. Then he or she will turn to one or more subcontractors for specific tasks, like equipment operation, design, electrical work or whatever else is needed.
In essence, general contractors could be thought of as middlemen between a homeowner or business owner and any number of specialists. To get their money's worth, many assume they should just "cut out the middleman" and hire specialists directly, but this often proves more difficult in practice. General contractors won't be completing an entire project by themselves, but should have a long list of dependable experts who can work together and accomplish any task. They might also serve as the manager on the site of a construction project, overseeing workers and providing guidance and assistance when needed. For larger projects, though, the contractor might only handle administrative matters and employ a foreman or other professional for on-site supervision.
There are many general contractors who also specialize in certain tasks themselves. There is usually at least one general contractor on hand to organize the construction of an entire home, for example. But general contractors could also help a homeowner add an additional bedroom, build an in-ground pool or complete a major landscaping project. They could also work with a business to add or improve office space, whether that means making more room or converting a commercial building from a nail salon to a restaurant. Basically, if it's a job that involves building or repairing, a general contractor probably knows how to get it done.
No matter what the exact job may be, a contractor will probably need to accomplish several other essential tasks in pursuit of the ultimate goal, which may include:
- Understanding and applying for building permits to meet local regulations
- Organizing a budget and adhering to it throughout the project
- Gathering all the necessary tools and equipment, from hammers and shovels to large excavators and generators
- Securing the construction site and equipment after work hours
- Working with personnel on-site to address any issues
- Keeping records of materials, labor and all other expenses
Every general contractor performing any kind of work on a project must be licensed to do so in their state. The guidelines for the specifics on licensing vary from state to state. Some states might only require registration of contractors, which is different from licensing. Registration typically means that there must be a written record of what work is being performed and by whom, but it does not guarantee professional knowledge. Licensing, on the other hand, involves an examination process to assess professional competence.
Whether your state requires licensing or registration of contractors, there should be a record of most professionals willing to complete certain projects in your area. Check your state or county website for more information. In states that require licensing, every licensed contractor's contact information is available online or from another public source.
Not every project needs to be completed by a licensed or registered contractor. If it's just a minor job that won't take more than a day or two, and will cost less than a few hundred dollars, it's likely not necessary to find a licensed or registered contractor. However, anything bigger or more expensive, or a project involving plumbing or electrical work, needs to be completed by a licensed or registered professional.
General contractors also must be covered by an insurance policy. This should include liability coverage for any property damage that could be inflicted in the course of a job. It should also include a worker's compensation policy in case anyone is injured on the job. Before hiring a contractor for anything, ask for written proof of this insurance to see exactly what is covered.
A number of trade associations for contractors in the U.S. exist. Some of the biggest include:
- Associated General Contractors of America: Represents more than 6,500 general contracting firms and more than 9,000 specialty contractors nationwide.
- Associated Builders and Contractors: Represents non-union contracting firms.
Most trade associations for general contractors will provide references for anyone looking to hire a contractor for a specific project. They may also provide a number of benefits for their members, including assistance with licensing, training, insurance and business development.
Hiring a General Contractor
No matter what you need accomplished, you want to choose a contractor who can get the job done right at a reasonable price. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure you find a trustworthy general contractor.
Finding general contractors
The first, and perhaps most reliable, way to find a general contractor is to ask friends and family members for a recommendation. If you know anyone who has had major work done on their home, particularly if it's a similar job, ask them who they hired and if they were pleased with the result. You could also ask neighbors about who they've hired if you notice work being done on their house. Many remodeling contractors post signs in front of homes to advertise their services. As a general rule, it's rarely a good idea to hire a contractor who solicits work by going door to door.
If you are considering hiring a contractor without a personal recommendation, ask the contractor for references from past clients, and do as much background research on them as possible. Look for any complaints (or compliments) online to get a better idea of their track record. There are a number of websites specializing in connecting contractors with people or businesses who need work done. These sites may also allow past clients to submit their own reviews of the contractor.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you are both in agreement on the project's budget. It's normal for most contractors to charge clients a premium not only for the labor expenses and zoning expertise, but for acquiring the materials as well. Be as clear and concise as possible regarding what you'll be purchasing yourself and what you will be paying the contractor to complete. Homeowners may be able to find a better deal on raw materials when they purchase these directly, but they first need to be sure they aren't buying the wrong things.
Don't forget to discuss how the project will be finalized and what will be done about cleanup. Plans for how the work site will be cleaned at the end of each day as well as at the conclusion of work need to be put in writing. An experienced general contractor should make every effort to keep the workspace clean and prevent dirtying or damaging any other area. Even so, talk with the contractor about the daily schedule, the logistics of transporting workers and equipment, and how cleanup will be handled.
As previously mentioned, you need to make sure to follow any state and local regulations regarding construction work, which includes hiring a licensed or registered general contractor. Ask the contractor for proof of their certification before signing anything, as well as their proof of insurance. You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to see if they offer coverage for contracted work. You may want to call your insurance provider and ask for more details on what your plan will and won't cover.
Perhaps the best way to feel safe about a contractor and the work being done is to hire a contractor you trust. This is why relying on personal references from friends and family is so important, and will often provide a great deal of peace of mind. If you aren't able to obtain a reference, work to conduct extensive research on the contractor as well as the work you are hiring them to perform. This should bring everyone's expectations into alignment and result in a safe work environment.
Before any money changes hands, there should be a contract to sign. Make sure the specifics of the work to be done and all costs are listed in the contract, right down to the most precise details. If you forget to have something included in the contract after signing it, there's rarely a chance of recourse.
Once the specifics of the job are nailed down, be sure to discuss the payment schedule with the contractor. This is important because paying too much up front offers the homeowner minimal leverage if the quality of work does not meet expectations or contractual specifications. Try to establish a reasonable pay schedule with the contractor, such as paying 10 percent of the total cost for each 10 percent of the work that is completed. It's a good idea to include this payment plan in the contract as well.
Finally, look into getting a lien release signed before work begins. If there is ever a dispute regarding payment over the course of the project, a contractor or subcontractor could place a payment claim, or lien, on your property. This can trigger a long legal process that may be frustrating. To avoid this, ask the contractor to sign a lien release, which is a legal agreement that states that any payment accepted is final. This can come in handy if a contractor has his or her own payment issues with their subcontractors. Signing a lien release form certifies that any payment made by a client to the contractor is enough to pay for any goods or services rendered. A lien dispute could also be prevented by performing due diligence prior to picking a contractor, as any contractor with good credit and a long track record of satisfied clients should have no trouble paying for materials and labor once all contract conditions have been met.
Once work is underway, it's never a bad idea to check up on the progress of the job, either by staying in touch with the contractor over the phone or visiting the site in person. If you work with a trustworthy professional, it's probably best to keep your distance and allow everyone to stay busy. If you want to keep an eye on things, make sure workers wear the right safety gear and that everything looks to be moving along according to schedule. Finally, once work is finished and you are satisfied, be sure to thank your contractor and tell friends or family members about your experience.