Actors Annex

“Actors make great writers because they understand process. There's a direct parallel between an actor making choices to articulate character and a writer making decisions about a character's in a story.  Actors tend to do well as writers due to their access to scripts and reading experience, and their headstart on the 10,000 hours, as Malcolm Gladwell would say, from the parallel process applied from acting to writing.”
-Writers Boot Camp founder Jeffrey Gordon

Scene Circus and Table Read Series

Our monthly Scene Circus on our stage in LA is usually the second Thursday of the month.  We invite actors to read three to five page scenes written by our professional members, who benefit greatly by seeing their work come to life. 

When a script reaches a certain stage of development, we produce a Table Read to give the writer a better idea of what is and isn’t working with their project. Hearing the dialogue, seeing how an audience of their peers reacts to the material – these are all invaluable to the writer.

 If you’d like to be considered for the monthly Scene Circus or occasional Table Read, please send your headshot/resume to: actorsannex@writersbootcamp.com.

Please include your personal contact info (phone numbers, e-mail and snail-mail address), as well as who referred you to us. We’ll keep you in mind for future readings and other actor-related events.

Actors Annex

Watch the schedule for events under the Actors Annex banner designed to assist and empower the actors in our community.  Past speakers reflecting the unique challenges as an actor, from addressing your craft, business issues, extending opportunity and developing your own material, have included Anthony LaPaglia, Eric Stoltz, Nia Vardalos, Top Agency Reps and our recent Pavilion Event on the important topic of "Attracting Representation."

Educational Opportunities

If you’re an actor with aspirations to become a double or triple threat (i.e. an Actor/Writer, Actor/Writer/Director, etc.), we have a variety of ways to support you in that quest. Most actors have the unique ability to immerse themselves in the stages of development necessary to create something entertaining and resonant. There’s a parallel process at work between acting and writing. More specifically, actors …

  • Are good with dialogue and adept at creating "recognizable human behavior."
  • Understand the importance of seeking out professional, paid instruction."
  • Often have flexible day job situations, giving them more time to write."
  • Are on the front lines of the industry, constantly creating new vehicles for themselves."
  • Understand the importance of long-term career development."
  • Are intuitive about collaboration."
  • Know how to generate “hot character choices” -- which translate into what we call Character Conceits."
  • Are on the front lines of the industry, know what’s going on around town and have an intuitive understanding of the business due to their relationship with peers who are actively working.

All of our coursework is designed to accommodate busy people with full-time jobs. 10 hours per week, outside of class, is the minimum time requirement. Actors usually have no problem meeting that because you know how to budget your time and prioritize.

If you’re an actor, or in an acting group, and you’d like develop something on the page, as opposed to just reading it, then give us a call at 310/998-1199. One of our staff members will be glad to direct you towards the right path. Depending upon your experience and goals, you may be even eligible for Professional Membership and our Work Study Initiative

If your career takes off and you find yourself out of town for a period of time, you needn’t worry: we never punish people for getting work. As long as there’s earnest, advance communication, we’re always willing to work with you towards the long-term, full development of your project and, ultimately, your career. This business may be fickle – but we’re not.

Noteworthy Writers Boot Camp Actor/Writer Alums include:

Hank Azaria, Jason Bateman, Julie Bowen, Connie Britton, Zooey Deschanel, Tate Donovan, Mark Feuerstein, Josh Gad, Bryce Dallas Howard, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Nestor Carbonel, John Henson, Jennifer Grey, Malcolm Jamal-Warner, Rob Morrow, Michael O’Keefe, Anthony LaPaglia, Samantha Mathis, Laurie Metcalf, Krysten Ritter, Ivan Sergei, Sinbad, Octavia Spencer, Mark Valley, Steven Weber, Peter Weller, Rita Wilson, Moon Zappa and Daphne Zuniga.

29 Distinctions

  • Our alumni work at the highest levels of the industry.
  • Writers Boot Camp employs full-time staff to support you during your coursework, and afterwards as an alumnus and working writer.
  • Though your commitment does not require quitting your day job or investing in school full-time, you need ten hours for writing outside of class, and we recommend that for at least 40 weeks out of the 52-week calendar year to scale the true learning curve and sustain a professional pace.
  • Professional Membership in LA and NY includes 48 sessions over 22 months, four script evaluations and conferences, monthly events and web-accessible streaming, weekly instructor office hours and online support.
  • You have the option of writing three feature scripts or five television series spec scripts, or a variety of either.

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Non-Linear Approach to Process

One of the evolving ideas here is a departure from the old view of writing. Screenwriting is challenging because, of course, we're in a visual medium. We have to show rather than tell. And in making the jump from the ideas that are in your head or in your heart and trying to get that on the page, it's crucial that you realize that you have to translate those ideas to a form that other people--readers, gatekeepers (the assistants to whom the executives delegate your scripts), the crew who are going to have to interpret (and hopefully not interpret too much) and eventually produce that material--can understand.

Screenwriting is a very conceptual process. The mentality of I'm-a-hard-working-person-and-can-write-120-pages doesn't quite work, because all content is derivative. Every story has been done before, at least in some way and to some degree. Even BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, an admirably original project, is based on the paradigm of switching bodies. There's just no such thing as a story that's totally unique. So, the approach that you take has to mitigate that problem. And in screenwriting that approach proves itself on the page through entertaining moments. Since the story moves through moments of interaction between people, your characters will ideally come across as people and not just props with feet. Hopefully, they're human beings at a significant stage of their lives, and that stage of life--that experience, that adventure--is going to change them forever.
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Full Development Philosophy

Based on an expedient first-draft process, including emphasis on developing tools like the Unity Page, the 3-6-3, the Horizontal and brainstorming of setpieces, Writers Boot Camp estimates that a feature-length script can be readable by industry standards within six months, working at a part-time pace of ten hours per week.*

The ratio of tools work versus writing during the first-draft stage would be 80% tools and 20% writing. Once the tools have been established, then the subsequent rewriting stages would flip that ratio to 20% tools, primarily updating and brainstorming for particular issues, and 80% emphasis on writing pages. Of course, the rewriting stages are the primary portion of a Six-Month Full Development process, even with earnest tools development and preparation.
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