Fellow actors that are here for you.

 

OUR TEAM

Every one of our team members started out as a client of the studio.  We were all drawn to the genuine collaborative spirit here.  Our collective perspective combines a scholastic approach with industry experience to guide our clients through their professional journey.  Time and again, clients return to our studio because of their inspiring experience with our team – and to us, that is the greatest feedback of all.

 
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JESSALYN GILSIG

Owner

Read our Q & A with Jessalyn

What initially got you interested in acting?

I can’t remember when I didn’t want to be an actress. When I was very little, I saw a Shakespeare performance in a department store and thought “that’s what I am going to do!” - and from that day on I was relentless in asking my parents to let me be an actress. By the time I was twelve, I was balancing school with a busy acting career and I have been doing it ever since.

I know now that what drew me to acting was the idea of embodying other people’s stories and how that can be an escape from my own life and worries. It always felt like a timeless vocation to me - something that has always been and always will be.

I believe in the power of entertainment - that we can forge connections through performing for people, whether in the form of drama or comedy. The escape for an audience into the fictional world - the suspension of disbelief - is part of our humanity. As hard as the career itself can be, the work always feels meaningful to me.


Where did you receive your education or training?

My initial training began during my time on productions as a child actor. When I realized I wanted to make acting my career, I studied at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University. This program was very important to my development, but my education didn’t stop there. The craft of acting is a study that never really ends, there is always room for growth and improvement.


Do you have any unique skills or hobbies?

I wish! I speak French because I grew up in Montreal … and I can carry a tune.  I have always been a painter as well and I try to find time to create art. I think self expression can come in many forms. If this is for a job, then I can do anything! Or I will at least learn how to do it by the first day of shooting.


What are some notable career highlights for you?

I have had so many amazing experiences thanks to acting. Perhaps the most thrilling moments have been working with really great actors. On the TV series ‘Vikings’, I had the opportunity to play opposite Gabriel Byrne. To be on the receiving end of his performance was the greatest master class. In my experience, the best performances I have observed have been simple, honest, and generous.  Really good actors pull their information from the person they play opposite of. Rather than thinking of the end result, they merely react to what is present and from there, a truthful and trustworthy performance emerges.


What do you enjoy most about your interaction with clients?

I am very protective of actors. Putting yourself out there and using your own body and emotions to tell a story is a very vulnerable and noble thing to do. I always want actors to feel that the space we are creating is without judgment - that I am always on their side and that every performance is a part of their artistic journey, as opposed to a destination. When an actor makes a discovery and I can feel the temperature shift just a little, it’s like magic. They know it and I know it - and that is the greatest feeling.


What is your coaching methodology or technique?

I always start with the script. All the information and opportunity is in the writing.  I believe your job as an actor is to elevate the words on the page.  Be present, listen, and truly use the script - these are the keys to a dynamic and meaningful performance.  Where did you just come from? Where will you go when you leave us? What do you want?  How will you get it?  Being specific about these things will actually create more freedom in your performance because you have the vital anchors.  Breaking down the script and finding the beats transforms what can be an overwhelming undertaking and instead makes it approachable and playable.

When auditioning, it is important to see a scene as an entire piece of performance. Where are we when it begins? Where are we when it ends?  What do you (and the audience) know now that you didn’t know when we started? Working from the inside out is important, but for an audition it is sometimes just as helpful to work from the outside in. Pick shoes that make you feel powerful if you are playing someone powerful. Wear something that makes you feel unsure if you are meant to be unsure. Let the clothes you wear inform you physically and that can be a great stepping stone for your character.

And always remember, you are an entertainer. Entertain us!


How has Speed Reels Studio influenced your acting career?

I am always engaged in my own career and have found that Speed Reels Studio is an incredible compliment to that. I get to watch and participate in inspired performances all the time. Sometimes the most green clients are the most educational as they can remind me of the fundamentals of being present and playing your truth.


In what other ways do you engage in your Los Angeles community?

It is important for my daughter and I to be involved in helping our fellow neighbors.  We volunteer on behalf of LA’s homeless and support causes such as Vibes 365, an organization that provides assistance to homeless women.


Anything else your clients should know?

I want people to know that a career in entertainment is a marathon.  I have had years when I was double booked and never had a day off, and I have also had years when I haven’t worked at all.  I want to be honest with my clients so they understand that your career is always in flux and that is totally normal. Riding those waves can be the hardest part.  By creating Speed Reels Studio, I am establishing a space where it is safe to be right where you are right now. With the studio, I can stay connected to the craft I love and support others in ways that I would wish to be supported in my own journey as an actor.

Jessalyn Gilsig is an award winning Canadian-American actress best known for her roles on popular television series such as Boston Public, Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Scandal, Glee, and Vikings.  Her early interest in performing arts developed into an accomplished acting career by the time she was a teenager and eventually led her to enroll at The American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University.  She credits her years of experience working opposite of industry icons as her ultimate master class.  In addition to her extensive television resume, she has also appeared in multiple theater and film productions, all together amounting to roles in over fifty major production titles.  Having accomplished an undeniably successful career in the entertainment industry, she now also aspires to support other actors in their endeavors with the creation of Speed Reels Studio.

Put blinders on those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head.
— Meryl Streep
 
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SOPHIE GOTBERG

Editor and Coach

Read our Q & A with Sophie

What initially got you interested in acting?

I have always loved performing and entertaining, even as a kid. Movies have been my outlet for as long as I can remember.  As I grew up, I knew I wanted to work in the film industry in some sort of capacity.  I really enjoy bringing characters to life and playing make believe, what could be more fun!


Where did you receive your education or training?

My initial exposure to acting was through my High School theater program.  After graduating, I moved to New York City to begin a more formal training with television and film classes at HB Studios.  Since then, I have studied at Lesly Kahn, Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), The Groundlings, and The Actors Company. Of course, working with Jessalyn Gilsig everyday at Speed Reels Studio is like being in a master class!


Do you have any unique skills or hobbies?

I am a certified spin instructor and I do a little photography on the side. I am also studying to learn French as a second language.


What are some notable career highlights for you?

I made most of my closest friends through acting.  It is especially rewarding to see our shared ambitions develop into valuable collaborations. Some of my favorite memories involve late night writing sessions and hilarious on-camera improv moments together. The acting community is very dear to me and I am thankful for the opportunity to continuously meet new people and engage in combined creative experiences.


What do you enjoy most about your interaction with clients?

I love the collaboration element of my work.  I truly enjoy helping fellow actors discover new things about a scene or character.  Together, we can come up with ideas that you might not have had on your own.  I especially find fulfillment in watching actors transform during their session - when they arrive a little unsure or nervous and then after working with them, they leave feeling very proud and confident in what they’ve accomplished.  That is a great feeling.  Auditioning can be stressful and I want actors to remember why they chose to do this and have fun with it!


What is your coaching methodology or technique?

I find it is important to encourage actors to make strong choices.  I always spend extra time working with you on the opening beat (and the moment before!) and the closing beat.  This is particularly important in self tapes, because the moment before you begin can be the strongest (and most watched) part of your audition - so you want to get it right.


How do you help your editing clients in creating a strong demo reel?

I like to let the actor dictate how I handle their editing session.  If you know exactly what you want, then I will support you in those decisions.  If you are looking for guidance and you are open to ideas, then I will offer my expertise in a more involved manner.  I tell actors to include your most recent work, and to lead your reel with your strongest work that shows the type of characters you often audition for.  Don’t be afraid to reduce your reel so that it only includes your best work – and don’t hesitate to cut out other people in your scene.  This is your reel and it should constantly be focused on you.  Your reel does not need to tell the story of the scene, but it needs to showcase your best work.


Anything else your clients should know?

I want actors to know that we are all in this together.  If I help someone feel like they made a great self tape or if they perform really well in an audition after coaching with me, then it feels like a victory for me too.  I am truly guided by the love and support I have for other actors.

Sophie Gotberg began her career as a commercial actress in Miami and New York City.  Her lifelong interest in film and television led her to seek further theatrical training at HB Studios.  Exciting opportunities later inspired her to move to Los Angeles, where she produced, co-wrote, and co-starred in two short films and an eight episode web series.  She also produced a short documentary that followed the stories of refugee women around the world.  Sophie continued her studies in Los Angeles at renowned theaters and studios such as Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), The Groundlings, Lesley Kahn Company, and The Actors Company.  She joined Speed Reels Studio as an editor and a coach in her continued pursuit for meaningful involvement with the acting community.

Be so good they can’t ignore you.
— Steve Martin
 
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MAT HAYES

Coach

Read our Q & A with Mat

What initially got you interested in acting?

Growing up, it seemed like a safe place to live.


Where did you receive your education or training?

I have a BFA in Musical Theatre from Auburn University.


Do you have any unique skills or hobbies?

I play the piano and I have performed in venues across the world.  I held a 10 year record for fastest typer in the state of Alabama during High School and beyond.


What are some notable career highlights for you?

I really enjoyed my four years as a singer on international cruise ships.  I am also proud of the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award I received for my performance in The Boy From Oz.


What do you enjoy most about your interaction with clients?

I believe this studio is a second home for our clients – a place where they can seek answers and ultimately grow in their art.  I love seeing our clients walk out of the room feeling like they just worked and created something that only they could create.


What is your coaching methodology or technique?

I employ a variety of techniques - from Meisner to Adler to Stanislavski. Different methods work for different people, so I try to see what happens naturally during a rehearsal read before working the material. In order to accomplish great results, the actor MUST come in prepared and ready to work!


In what other ways do you engage in your Los Angeles community?

I volunteer with my church to pass out food and clothing to the homeless of Hollywood. I’m very active in LGBTQ charities and causes, including the annual AIDS Walk LA, Desert AIDS Walk, and more.

Mat Hayes (you can call him Hayes) is equal parts musical and theatrical prowess.  His acting resume includes appearances on television shows like Jane the Virgin and How I Met Your Mother as well as theatrical productions such as The Boy from Oz, of which his performance earned him an LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award.  He has performed in venues all around the globe playing the piano or singing on major cruise liners.  Hayes earned his BFA in Musical Theatre from Auburn University and he now continues his studies in Los Angeles with Jeffrey Marcus.  Before joining Speed Reels Studio, he worked for various casting agencies and gained valuable insight that he now shares with his audition clients.  His broad understanding of numerous coaching techniques allows him to customize his approach to meet the needs of every actor he works with.    

To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

OUR READER PROGRAM

 
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Exchange your time for tapes.

 

READER PROGRAM

We started our Reader Program to give actors an opportunity to offer their time as readers in exchange for credit towards their own self tape sessions. The best part is, you get to network with your peers, practice your craft, and gain insight into valuable audition techniques. See what some of our readers have to say about their experience.

 

Thank you for your interest, the reader program is full at this time but we will open it up as soon as spaces become available

 
 
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“Working as a reader at Speed Reels Studio has been an invaluable experience! It has given me a chance to practice cold reading and taught me to be flexible and present with text I’m just reading for the first time.  It has also been exciting being in a room that is so judgment free, allowing actors to make bold choices and in turn inspiring me the next time I am on the other side of the camera.”

- Daniela Rivera, Actor

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“My experience of being a reader at Speed Reels Studio has been so amazing.  I have learned so much from watching and working with so many talented people on and off camera.  I’ve been able to improve both my audition skills and my cold reading skills and I feel stronger and more confident as an actor because of it.  The studio is such a fun and safe environment to explore the work and it is comforting to feel that from the moment you walk in.  Every actor comes in bringing something different, so being a reader gives you plenty of opportunities to learn, listen, connect, and ultimately grow as an actor.”

- Will Rives, Actor

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“Since self tapes are now such a crucial part of casting in our industry, I wanted to better understand all of the necessary components that make up a successful audition. Being a reader at Speed Reels Studio has given me the insight and tools needed to fine tune the art of auditioning. Breaking down numerous sides within a limited amount of time has absolutely strengthened my skills as an actor. Becoming a part of the Speed Reels Studio community has given me the opportunity to surround myself with fellow passionate, talented, and hard working actors in a supportive environment.”

- Rebecca Forsythe, Actor

 
 

Apply now.

 

If you are interested in applying for our Reader Program, please fill out the online application form by clicking the button below.  Applicants who meet our criteria will be called in for an interview. Applications are accepted online only so we kindly ask that you do not call or email us to inquire.

 
 
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