ALUMNI & SUPPORTERS
To qualify for admission, an applicant must:
1. Interview with the Director, the Artistic Director, or the Admissions Manager.
2. Submit a completed enrollment agreement together with the required payment.
The applicant will receive prompt notification of acceptance or rejection of admission.
Programs start throughout the year and students should contact the Studio directly for the latest schedule.
THE MEISNER TECHNIQUE
Six Week Intensive 3 times a week.
6 Weeks. Work every class.
This class is for the beginning or experienced actor. The work explores improvisational exercises and scene work to improve concentration and responsiveness through listening, responding, and activity work.
ADVANCED MEISNER TECHNIQUE
2 times a week.
Month to month. Work every class.
This class fosters the development of an actor’s deepest possible emotional connection and full spontaneity through a wide range of imaginative experiences, both improvisational and scripted.
CHARACTER INTERPRETATION & SCRIPT ANALYSIS
2 times a week.
Month to month. Work once a week.
In this class, students work with complex texts by iconic writers to increase their expertise in script analysis and to create vivid, alive, and deeply human, three-dimensional characters. This course covers the essential principles for cold reading and audition technique.
ON CAMERA AUDITION TECHNIQUE
1 time a week.
Month to month. Work every class.
This class develops techniques unique to the auditioning process, including working on-camera, cold reading and participating in mock audition exercises. Insights provided through interactions with visiting directors, producers, and casting directors. Admission Criteria: Evaluation by instructor and Admissions Manager.
ADVANCED SCENE STUDY
1 time a week.
Month to month. Work every class.
This class focuses on working on a wide variety of scripts with the goal of stretching and expanding acting mastery. The actor will work on scenes and monologues chosen in collaboration with their teacher. Evaluation by instructor and Admissions Manager.
MASTER CLASS (INTENSIVE)
Advanced Scene Study
Industry Master Class
Film Master Class
Four day intensive taught
at a state of the art,
100 seat theater in the Los Angeles area.
Weekly classes or private lessons available.
Michael Frederick, Los Angeles’ premier Alexander teacher and Baron Brown Meisner Alum, teaches ongoing classes. The Alexander Technique offers a clear, systematic look into the underlying principles that govern human movement.
Call 310-451-3311 for more information.
Students Working in the Field
Congratulations to our Current & Former Students!
ABOUT BARON BROWN
The Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio has been a wellspring for the theatrical casting and producing community for over forty years. The Studio continues to produce gifted actors, writers, directors, and producers who bring their training and talent to all aspects of theater, film, and television.
Joanne Baron studied under Sandy Meisner in his private class, having originally trained with renowned acting teacher, William Esper, the head teacher of Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City for over 14 years. William Esper eventually formed the William Esper Studio in New York City where Baron trained with him to act and subsequently trained to become an instructor. After several years teaching with Esper, she opened The Joanne Baron Studio in New York and sometime after, created the Baron Brown Studio in Santa Monica, California with her husband; writer/director, D.W. Brown.
Today, The Baron Brown Studio continues this legacy and is teaching the same body of work that Meisner and Esper taught: a specific training program designed to create an emotionally alive actor of depth, imagination, and truth. All those individuals who are inspired to train at the highest level in order that they may learn a craft intended to shed light on the truth of the human condition and at the same time experience an extraordinarily nurturing creative environment are encouraged and welcome to apply.
JOANNE BARON is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Baron Brown Studio. Ms. Baron studied the Meisner Technique under Sanford Meisner and William Esper in New York, the latter whom she trained to teach. Ms. Baron was one of William Esper’s first teachers at his private Studio and later opened The Joanne Baron Studio in New York. Ms. Baron is also a highly regarded actress in theater, television, and film, whose credits include Spider-Man 2, Real Genius, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Mad Men,” and the series “Love.” She has also produced several films including Perfume which she costarred in with Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Williams and Allie and Me where she played the title role opposite Lainie Kazan and Dyan Cannon.
D.W. BROWN is the co-owner and head teacher of the Baron Brown Studio. He is a writer, director and actor. Mr. Brown wrote and directed the feature film On The Inside with Nick Stahl & Olivia Wilde as well as directed several critically acclaimed short films, including Chloe with Peter Facinelli and One Clean Move with Harry Hamlin; he has also written and directed numerous theater productions, including his adaptation of Ibsen’s “Little Eyolf .” D.W. Brown has starred in such films as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, A Haunting in Connecticut; and the NBC series “Jo’s Cousin.” He has written three books, You Can Act: A Complete Guide for Actors, 2500 Years of Wisdom, and his latest book, You Can Act: On Camera, all published by Michael Weise Productions (mwp.com).
TOM PATTON is in his 25th year of teaching at the Baron Brown Studio. As an actor he’s worked with everyone from Academy Award winning directors such as Francis Ford Coppola (The Outsiders), Hugh Hudson (Lost Angels), and Phil Alden Robinson (In the Mood). In addition to teaching acting he also is a graduate of the Master’s College and Seminary where he received his B.A. in Organizational Management and a M.Div. in theology.
SHARON HOGG has worked with the Baron Brown Studio since 1998. She is also Assistant Director of the nonprofit organization, Kids In The Spotlight, and Co-founder of Celebrating Youth; organizations that inspire underserved youth to pursue their dreams through film media and live performance.
DAVID STANLEY graduated from Michigan State University and has been with the Baron Brown Studio since 1991. He has participated in the casting of major studio films and concept created the reality series “The Arrangement” on LOGO.
MARY RILEY is a senior teacher at the Baron Brown Studio who began her association with the studio over 30 years ago. Mary also is a director who annually works with over 100 children creating plays at the Steven Weiss School.
CHARLEY BOON has been with the Baron Brown Studio since the year 2000 and has instructed students both nationally and internationally. His acting career spans over 3 decades in theater, television and film.
MICHAEL FREDERICK started teaching the Alexander Technique at the Baron Brown Studio in 1984. He originally trained as an actor at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the early 1970’s and then studied with Joanne Baron at her Los Angeles Studio in the 1980’s. He is a Master Teacher of the Alexander Technique with over 40 years of experience and a fully trained Meisner actor.
You say that this is a "technique" class and not "scene study". What's the difference?
In a scene study class the actor enters the class and finds someone to work with and chooses a scene to do, or is given one, and they rehearse that scene and then present it in front of the class and are given notes. They then bring it back, usually after several classes of watching other people’s scenes, and do it again. This would be much like learning architecture by building a specific building and then being given notes on that job and watching other students do likewise. You can learn that way, but it takes a long time.
A technique class teaches the basics for how to build any building, or in this case, any scene, starting with the most elemental steps and leading eventually to the most sophisticated performances possible.
By improving your technique, you improve yourself as an actor forever. You don’t become good by doing one specific scene, starting over and hoping you were fortunate enough to have learned something useful for your next scene. This work highlights the issues you must address with every scene, and will reveal particularly those things that you personally need to work on, which can often be masked by doing certain kinds of material. And you work every class.
The studio offers an excellent scene study class but virtually everyone who has been to the studio says: “Do the Meisner training first!” Once an actor has the foundation and the ability to operate with self-sufficiency, then they are able to understand and make use of the wonderful insights these directors have to offer.
Is the technique you teach better for television and film, or stage plays? How about comedy vs. drama?
Is this technique what's called "The Method" or "Method Acting"?
What is the difference between "internal" and "external" acting techniques?
External acting is acting that emphasizes the representation of behavior, “to show” or to indicate behavior, and stresses the technical requirements of acting, such as speech and movement.
Internal acting emphasizes having the performer actually live through the experience, engaging their own emotional life and relating in such a way that it produces behavior consistent with the character.
External acting is associated more with the stage which requires a performance to reach to the back row of a large theater. These techniques still predominate at most university drama departments, as well as several prestigious academies.
I've heard that in some acting classes you have to talk about your personal life. Is that true with this school?
No. While internal acting does require an actor to draw upon their own true feelings, this program is not per se psychological. The instructors know nothing of the students’ private lives. It’s true that many acting schools are open forums for this kind of thing, but we think our job is to train actors to function as performers, not psychoanalyze them.
At the same time, it’s nearly a universal response among people who attend the training to say: “Everyone should do this. Not just people who want to act.” That’s because, through the process of being in the moment, getting in touch with the emotional life (even under fictional circumstances), asserting yourself and losing self-consciousness in front of an audience, there is a transformational payoff in entitlement and the tranquility of being in one’s own skin. In this way the work is not “therapy,” but it is highly therapeutic. Internal acting tends to be more intimate and grew out of a desire to represent average people in a naturalistic style. It became especially popular with the filming of performances where subtlety could be appreciated.
In truth, there is no such thing as a completely internal performance in that there must always be some accommodation for theatrical demands. Most successful external actors enhance their performances by engaging themselves emotionally.
If I start this program, will you tell me if I have any talent, or if I shouldn’t pursue acting?
We don’t talk too much about talent at the studio. We teach craft. There’s a lot of uninformed opinion about acting, and how it can’t be taught, and you either have talent for it or you don’t. That’s silly. Can you think of any other pursuit in which that’s true? Acting can be taught, just as anything can be taught; and anyone through hard work can achieve a certain level of competence.
Another problem with answering this question concerning whether someone has talent or not is you never know when someone might blossom. The cultivation process (if the talent is the seed, the craft is the cultivation) can be indefinite and, as long as someone is applying themselves, it’s possible for that seed to germinate and a huge, fruit yielding plant to emerge. Part of the excitement of teaching is you never know when this is going to happen. A student might not excel immediately, their classmates sympathetic to their initial efforts; then suddenly something kicks in and they are among the best in class, causing envy for the tremendous power of their imaginations. You never know.
…if you’re not at the top of the game, you will be because you are in this room. You have been part of this brilliant collective and you understand the concept, I think, of beauty.
“I’ve studied with lots of different teachers, lots of different schools, lots of different cities and places in the world and you’ve got the best teaching that you can possibly have.”
I’m here because [one of the students] asked me to speak who is a friend of mine. She has told me that this is the finest acting school and it has changed her life.
Robert De Niro
This is a great school the teachers are serious and the students get fantastic training.
I’m here because my daughter studied at the Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio. There is a great discipline in the classes, if you want to do this for the thing itself, that’s a higher purpose.
D.W. has a way of communicating complex actions with such simplicity and clarity that the heartbeat of the scene suddenly appears thrillingly within you. He guides you to the tools you are already holding, and then reminds you how exciting it can be to really use them.
I remember feeling a sense of security from D.W. He provided an atmosphere within which the insecure, novice actor could safely strive, explore, and even fail.
…seeing acting through [D.W. Brown’s] brilliant eyes, I found myself again passionate for the nuts and bolts of craft and the simple beauty of expression he so gorgeously clarifies.
Working with Joanne was life changing.
If you’re serious about being an actor, read this book [“You Can Act!” by D.W. Brown]. D.W. Brown knows what he’s talking about and he communicates it with inspiration, humor and simplicity.
I think Joanne has the ability to see very clearly in people, what they don’t see in themselves… One of the greatest gifts that you taught me, Joanne, is how to listen. Truly listen.
I owe D.W. Brown so many thanks for teaching me the craft of acting. The work I did with him changed my life and my career.
Thank you for having an extraordinary school here. This organization is fantastic…You do an amazing thing. The time and the skill and the care and the involvement and commitment of the school…congratulations to this school. I am here to support you.
Paula Wagner, Producer
D.W. Brown guided me in how to work with actors. I’ve incorporated the basic premises he works under and he gave me a lot of tips. We’ve spent time talking about the character and he raises interesting questions and suggests approaches we might take in pulling off certain scenes.
Sam Raimi, Director
Robert De Niro
Paula Wagner, Producer
Sam Raimi, Director
Directors, Writers, & Producers have all studied this technique. Find out why.
Directors of The Baron Brown Studio (partial list):
- Michael Rymer (Jennifer Jones, The Man in the High Castle, ‘Hannibal,’ ‘The Killing,’ ‘American Horror Story, Battlestar Galactica,’ Queen of the Damned, Angel Baby)
- David Rogers (‘The Mindy Project,’ ‘Parks and Recreation,’ ‘The Office’)
- Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty, Patch Adams, Nutty Professor)
- Martha Coolidge (First Woman President of DGA, ‘CSI,’ ‘Angie Tribeca,’ ‘Madame Secretary,’ ‘The Night Shift,’ Real Genius, The Prince and Me, ‘Sex and the City,’ Rambling Rose, Dorothy Dandridge, Valley Girl)
- Andrew Fleming (‘New Girl,’ Michael J Fox Show,’ The Craft, Nancy Drew, Dick, Hamlet 2)
- Jason Hall (Thank You For Your Service – currently in production from Amblin Ent. and Dreamworks)
Writers of The Baron Brown Studio (partial list):
- Jason Hall (Oscar Nominee, BAFTA Nominee, and Writers Guild Nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay: American Sniper)
- Adam Simon (Man Down, starring Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, and Kate Mara, ‘Blacklist’)
- Anthony Yerkovich (Emmy Winner – 111 episodes of original ‘Miami Vice’ and also worked on the remake, 31 episodes of ‘Hill Street Blues’)
- Rachel Sweet (‘Hot in Cleveland’)
- Tom Shadyac (youngest staff joke writer for Bob Hope, Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura)
- Bob Oschack (comedy writer for over 962 episodes of ‘Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,’ ‘Best Damn Sports Show Period,’ 58 episodes of ‘Mind of Mencia’)
Producers of The Baron Brown Studio (partial list):
- Brian Wankum (‘Once Upon a Time – almost 100 episodes,’ ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ ‘V,’ ‘Firefly’)
- David Rogers (‘The Mindy Project,’ ‘The Office’)
- Doug Claybourne (Nights in Rodanthe, North Country, Fast and the Furious, Mask of Zorro, Jack, Money Train, The War of the Roses, Apocalypse Now)
- Ron Taylor (Former Vice President of Development and Programming – Colombia-TriStar , Former Vice President of Diverse Programming and Content – FOX)
- Mickey Liddell (The Grey, The Details, The Collector, Go, ‘Everwood’)
- Rachel Sweet (‘Hot in Cleveland,’ ‘George Lopez,’ ‘Dharma and Greg’)
- Tom Shadyac (in development for HBO project Kinison with Josh Gad)
STUDENTS & SUPPORTERS
Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers
- Halle Berry
- Robin Wright
- Julia Stiles
- Jeff Goldblum
- Patrick Dempsey
- Leslie Mann
- Sam Raimi
- Mariska Hargitay
- Paul Walker
- Sherri Shepherd
- Kirstie Alley
- Keanu Reeves
- Jay Baruchel
- Jamie Kennedy
- Stacey Dash
- Clifton Collins
- Kim Delaney
- Mariel Hemingway
- Rita Wilson
- Doug Claybourne
- Martha Coolidge
- Tom Shadyac
- Gary Busey
- Harry Hamlin
- William Atherton
- Michael Vartan
- Andrew Fleming
- Jennie Garth
- LL Cool J
- Bret Harrelson
- Donna Dixon
- Kenny Edmonds –
- (aka Babyface)
- Rick Springfield
- Dolph Lundgren
- Mick Fleetwood
- Carol King
- Belinda Carlisle
- Danny Nucci
- Nadine Velasquez
- Justin Chon
- Andrea Parker
- Catherine Bell
- Lisa Rinna
- Josie Bisset
- Jacinda Barrett
- Pat Muldoon
- Kevin Sorbo
- Nicollette Sheridan
- Clare Carey
- Jeff Conaway
- Jon Gries
- Marguerite Moreau
- Traylor Howard
- Janice Karman
- Laura Leighton
- Jennifer Grant
- Julianne Phillips
- Renee Taylor
- George Wendt
- Freddy Soto
- Nora Dunn
- C. Thomas Howell
- Amber Valetta
- Charles Matthau
- Anthony Yerkovich
- Gillian Raimi
- Lance Gentile
- Mickey Liddell
- Jerry Levine
- Henry Simmons
As the leading institution specializing in preparing people for careers in acting, writing, directing, and producing, the Studio has always had a strong commitment to the success of its students. Efforts are undertaken to assist students including introductions to agents, managers, and casting directors. The Studio assists in casting theater, film, and television and recommends actors to the theatrical community for these productions. The Studio also recommends specialists who provide personal counseling in job search techniques, resumes, interviewing, and presentation skills.
While the Studio cannot guarantee placement or bookings, we are committed to providing useful and up-to-date employment information whenever possible.
Speed Reels – Demo Reels shot and edited.
Now Casting – Online casting and submission website that submits your headshot and resume to projects posted by casting directors.
Actor’s Access – Online casting and submission website that submits your headshot and resume to projects posted by casting directors.
YouCanAct.net – Official website for D.W. Brown’s acting manual entitled “You Can Act: A Complete Guide for Actors”. Contains Excerpts, videos, blog, and more!
IMDB.com – Internet movie database
CAZT.com – Provides casting notices and feedback from casting directors.
CastingFrontier.com – Provides casting notices, Hollywood news, and more.
Backstage.com – Website for the indispensable actor’s newspaper. Has news, casting, submissions, and more.
Sam Christensen Studios – Sam Christensen has over a decade of experience teaching actors how to define their image.
Creative Actors Alliance – Free Industry Network Event held the 1st Saturday of every month.
Women in Film – WIF recognizes the importance of developing pathways and opportunities to encourage current and future generations of women to explore and pursue careers in all fields of the entertainment industry.
The Inner Actor – The personal side of performing.
You Can Act: Blog – D.W. Brown’s blog – Contains Excerpts, videos, and more!
2500 years – by D.W. Brown
Studio Manager of Operations