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The Actor's Director Workshop

February 4, 2023 - February 5, 2023, 10:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.

The Michelle and Kevin Douglas IMAX Theatre @ The Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts (RZC), 3131 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The USC School of Cinematic Arts invites USC Students to participate
in a special weekend workshop


The Actor's Director: A Creative Workshop
for Directors, Actors, and Writers

Taught by Sheryl Lee (Twin Peaks, Backbeat) and
Gary Hershberger (Six Feet Under, Sneakers)


10:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.

Saturday, February 4 - Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Michelle and Kevin Douglas IMAX Theatre
The Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts
3131 South Figueroa Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089

This workshop has been previously taught at the USC School of Cinematic Arts several times, and we are bringing it back by popular demand. By special arrangement with the School of Cinematic Arts, the Workshop costs $245.00 for undergraduate and graduate students for the entire weekend. The Workshop is also open to the professional community for $425.00. Early registration is recommended to reserve a space.

To Register, e-mail:
Visit the Official Website:

About the Actor’s Director Workshop

There is that rare breed of Director that just “knows” how to get the best out of the actor -- giving them a sense of freedom, inspiring courage, and bringing clarity. The challenge in collaborative storytelling is learning to speak the same language, and finding ways to bring out the best in each other.

Taught by actor/director Sheryl Lee and actor/writer/director Gary Hershberger, this workshop opens up deeper understanding of how artists can interact with each other, and move from controlling a performance… to finding the moment-to-moment truth together. We will explore creative techniques such as staying present, the magic of silence, the art of connecting, the power of vulnerability -- learning to understand not only the intentions of a script, but the language of the heart. Discover the most important aspect of filmmaking and performance -- the communication between directors and actors.

About the Instructors


Sheryl Lee has had a long and adventurous career as an actress in theater, film and television. Her credits include David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Backbeat, Winter’s Bone, One Tree Hill, Dirty Sexy Money, Love Letters and Salomé with Al Pacino. She has taught the “Directing The Actor” class at UCLA and works privately with actors, directors and writers offering creative guidance and support. Sheryl is grateful to have collaborated with many wonderful artists who helped mentor and inspire her along the way, and enjoys teaching all levels of students, passing along her wisdom of experience.


A professional actor, writer and director for over thirty years, with dozens of film and television credits such as Six Feet Under, Big Love, Grey’s Anatomy, The West Wing, Sneakers, Twin Peaks, and the upcoming independent feature A Marriage Made in Heaven, Gary knows his way around a productive and effective set.

He has worked with such greats as Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Naomi Watts, Peter Falk, and many others. Gary, a produced screenwriter, is now in active development for several projects, including the upcoming feature A New Normal, produced by Matt Morris and Anne Marie Sanderlin. Gary works with screenwriters and directors privately, and for the School of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University.


"Whether you’re a student, just out of film school, or working professionally, this class is a MUST for all of us filmmakers. It is THE most important aspect of filmmaking, yet no one really teaches it... on the relationship and communication between directors and actors.”

-- Luke Greenfield, Writer/Director, USC Alum (Let's Be Cops, The Girl Next Door)

"... they get right to the heart of communicating with an actor and do so with the empathy and kindness that they teach you to direct with. I would highly recommend taking this class whether you are an actor, writer, director, or even producer. The insight that they have from their years of combined experience is invaluable to any creative that desires to work in the industry."

-- Justin Chien, Writer/Director, USC School of Cinematic Arts

"Gary and Sheryl share wisdom that can only be earned the hard way - from decades of experience working with the best. Both are generous and kind as they take you through their thoughtfully-designed course."

-- Kazu Takeda, Writer/Director, USC School of Cinematic Arts

"If you are a director who is serious about getting the absolute best out of your cast, you must take this class. Don’t be like so many directors whose work suffers, because they simply don’t know how to work with actors. Gary and Sheryl will take the mystery out of it, because they have something you can’t fake: decades of experience. Use it to your advantage and get in this class and become what every director really wants to become… the actor’s director."

-- Robert Krantz, Writer/Director/Actor (Faith, Hope, and Love, Marriage Made in Heaven)

"...combo of actors and directors was GREAT!! It's taught by people with TONS of experience... kind, thoughtful, supportive teaching."

-- Sara Fenton, Actor/Director, USC Alumna

How to Register

This workshop requires a registration fee of $245.00 for undergraduate and graduate students of all majors. The Workshop is also open to the professional community of writers, directors, actors, DPs, and all creative artists with a registration fee of $425.00. Space is limited. Payment will be processed via PayPal. In order to register and to send a non-refundable deposit, e-mail:



We recommend Parking in the USC Shrine Parking Structure, located 686 W 32nd St. Parking passes may be purchased at the gate. Metered street parking is also available along 32nd street.

The USC Robert Zemeckis Center is located at 3131 South Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90007, one block north of Parking Structure D, on the North side of the Shrine Auditorium. The RZC entrance is located at the rear of the building, behind the red fence on 32nd St.

Contact Information