"Meet The Biz" Actors Workshop -- David Zimmerman Delights

David Zimmerman is someone you should know.  He’s a talented actor who has become a casting force that producers trust. You’ve seen him working with Dustin Hoffman and cult favorite Fred Willard.  He’s a frequent visitor to the sets of “24” and “Nip/Tuck”.   And with the little free time he has, he gives back by running monthly workshops dedicated to sharing experiences and teaching performers.  

Dustin Hoffman with David Zimmerman

When you follow David into a SAG event, the first feeling is the fury of a red carpet.  Everyone there wants his attention.  It takes him a good ten minutes to visit his friends: TV veterans, film actors and their entourages, then find a seat.  Simply put, everyone wants to keep him close.

David Zimmerman’s company DSZ Productions has hit a homerun with his “Meet the Biz” workshops. You can attend the 4-hour weekday session, network with peers and learn from this month’s guest host.  

Actor Sharif Atkins

In the past year, Zimmerman’s workshops have been visited by the likes of: actress Dee Wallace (ET, TV’s Sons and Daughters), actor Danny Woodburn (Watchmen, Jingle All The Way) acting coach/director Jeremiah Comey, director/writer/acting coach Tom Ardavany, Geri Jewell (Deadwood, The Facts of Life), Sharif Atkins (ER). Director Joe Wehinger, voice coach Constance Lamb, Casting Director Jeff Gerrard.

“That’s the fun part”, Zimmerman explains, “putting all these people in a room and letting it unfold.  How’s it gonna go tonight?  It’s always interesting.”

Most of the classes last four hours and cover material from improv to Q&A.  Zimmerman emphasizes spontaneity.  “I don’t want it to be structured.  That’s not real life.  Everyone should be ready for everything.”

Actor Danny Woodburn

And so begins a Thursday night in October when Director Joe Wehinger came to visit.  As the night began, it seemed like any other casting director workshop. A group of aspiring actors eager and longing to discuss the ins and outs of auditioning.  However, this workshop took place in no ordinary setting.  Tucked away in a beautiful and comfortable Hollywood home, the group sat comfortably on couches and were provided most delicious helpings of popcorn and pie.  These actors were also no ordinary group of people, a combination of newcomers, veterans and the disabled.

Wehinger began the workshop with his disclaimer of inevitable offensiveness and politically incorrect language and followed up with an inspiring photo-coordinated story map of his career. His accomplishments captured the attention of the actors, as it was clear that Joe Wehinger is a success story in the making.

Wehinger recalls, “I’ve done workshops before, but this one was different. David wanted loose and free-flowing, which meant it became my job to keep pushing and adventuring.  Honestly, I loved it.”

October class with David Zimmerman and Joe Wehinger in center

What ensued in the final hour of the workshop was transformative.  Wehinger directed and the actors performed on the living room stage.  And as the evening proceeded, all that could be seen was a roomful of rising stars.

"There was amazing talent in the room:  Gene Feldman, Ann Stocking, Victor Konovalov, newcomer Stephanie Drapeau and Antoinette Abbamonte, just to name a few." Wehinger contined to rave afterwards, "Everyone one of them should be working and most of them are consistently."

A light bulb went off in the mind of Joe Wehinger that night as the actors were given the chance to show off their talent. Wehinger’s willingness to spend an evening with an unsuspecting group of actors may have changed the course of his and their lives.

David Zimmerman's classes run through 2009.  You can receive a class schedule and more information on him and his workshops at:http://www.davidzimmerman.biz/

Joe Wehinger’s company is at www.PictureShowEntertainment.com

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