Dubbed L.A.’s best kept secret, the SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Conservatory is a benefit offered exclusively to union members. For a nominal fee, members can participate in classes, seminars and panels that cover a variety of industry-related subjects. Los Angeles Conservatory programs are held on the American Film Institute campus, located in historic Los Feliz and, for the first time this year, at SAG-AFTRA Plaza on L.A.’s Miracle Mile. 

The American Film Institute is a graduate school for filmmaking established by President Lyndon Johnson, and it is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. AFI collaborates with SAG-AFTRA to provide a venue for members to hone their craft in educational workshops, as well as on camera in student films. Each year, AFI’s class of first-year students create 84 films, giving the students the benefit of working with professional actors on their projects and offering performers the opportunity to gain on-camera experience and build relationships with budding young talent in the entertainment industry.

Los Angeles Conservatory members are permitted to register for any number of the season’s dozens of intimate lab-style classes, all taught by accomplished industry professionals. These classes are designed to teach professional performers through one-on-one instruction and small class-sizes, and to help them develop a community network. Course subjects include commercial and theatrical on-camera and cold-reading techniques, voiceover and improvisation methods, and technical and business skills, such as self-taping, marketing and social media. 

Beyond a full class schedule, the season includes special events that typically take place on weekends and focus on distinct topics, such as how to book a series lead or how to remove unconscious blocks while auditioning. Monthly Actors Evenings are another popular bonus, in which members can hear from and meet casting directors, agents and other industry professionals in a seminar format.

As summer comes to a close, the SAG-AFTRA Conservatory reopens its doors. Don’t forget to take advantage of this opportunity at AFI, the alma mater of some accomplished directors and a great place to meet tomorrow’s top talent. Check out the Los Angles Local page at sagaftra.org/la and click on the “LA Conservatory” tab for more details on how to sign up.

SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Conservatory members enjoy the opportunity for one-on-one on-camera instruction on the AFI campus.
SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Conservatory members enjoy the opportunity for one-on-one on-camera instruction on the AFI campus.

More than 50 member volunteers and SAG-AFTRA staff combined efforts to produce another successful Conservatory Summer Intensive.


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