Judith Weston

Studio For Actors And Directors

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The Q&A Series

This series of special events at our Los Angeles Studio has been amazing. Entertainment industry professionals come to our Studio for Q&A or special presentations—film directors, television directors, executives—people with seemingly endless supplies of experience, knowledge, advice—and funny stories—who are supporters of Judith’s work. Many of them have taken classes at our Studio with Judith. All these events are free, and are open to people currently or recently in class with Judith, who are allowed to bring guests as space permits.

We’ve been able to roll out very cool guests, terrific audiences with smart questions—evenings of energy, knowledge, and inspiration that have blown me away.

Two of my favorite things about every single event we’ve had:

  • Every one of the guest speakers has been generous, open—and funny!
  • All of these very successful people say exactly the same things that I tell directors and actors! They make it constantly clear, with all their advice and anecdotes, that the process-oriented tools and principles that I teach in my books and workshops are practical and time-saving on a professional set.

I find the generosity of these busy and accomplished people personally moving. To me they are the best of Hollywood, evidence that creative and personal integrity, hard work, and generous impulses, count. Awesome guests keep wanting to come, so we’re going to keep having them, and if you haven’t been to one, you should really start coming.

People have sometimes asked whether these amazing events could be recorded and posted, but—with apologies to those who can’t travel to be here in person—I feel certain that the magic of these events has had something to do with the intimacy that comes with the no-recording policy. So there is no video or audio recording permitted at these events.

But there are PHOTOS! 

And, below, some links to recent events. There is really helpful advice here—inadequate though the notes may be to convey the excitement and inspiration, the knowledge and insights that were imparted.

9/4/12 Q&A with director DAVID JACOBSON (DAHMER and DOWN IN THE VALLEY)

2/1/12 Special comedy night with director BRIAN ROBERTS (EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, THE DREW CAREY SHOW, MADtv, THE HUGHLEYS, SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH, KING OF QUEENS)

1/11/12 Q&A with television director SEITH MANN (DEXTER, CALIFORNICATION, FRINGE, SONS OF ANARCHY, LIE TO ME, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, NURSE JACKIE, GREY’S ANATOMY, ENTOURAGE, THE WIRE)

7/7/11 Film Screening – “The Red Machine,” followed by Q&A

6/6/11 Q&A with television director FRED TOYE (THE GOOD WIFE, CHUCK, FRINGE, CSI:NY, HAWAII FIVE-O (the new one), MELROSE PLACE (the new one), LOST, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, GHOST WHISPERER, ALIAS. As well as a producer of FRINGE and ALIAS.)

4/12/11 Q&A with television director MICHAEL NANKIN (CAPRICA, LIE TO ME, CSI, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, HEROES, MONK, PICKET FENCES, LIFE GOES ON)

12/7/10 Q&A with TOM KEEGAN, Videogame Director

11/12/10 Film Screening – “Like Dandelion Dust,” followed by Q&A with director JON GUNN

9/28/10 Q&A with MICHAEL YOUN, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development with LIONSGATE

6/16/10 Q&A with VICKY JENSON, director of animation (SHREK, SHARK TALE), commercials, shorts (FAMILY TREE) and features (POST GRAD)

4/14/10 Q&A with television director NORMAN BUCKLEY (GOSSIP GIRL, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, CHUCK, GREEK, the new MELROSE PLACE, 90210, THE O.C., etc.)

2/25/10 Q&A with film and television director JOHN BADHAM (film: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, DRACULA, WARGAMES, etc. Television: CRIMINAL MINDS, PSYCH, THE BEAST, IN PLAIN SIGHT, NIGHT GALLERY)

1/12/10 Q&A with television and film writer-director-producer LAWRENCE TRILLING (PUSHING DAISIES, DAMAGES, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, INVASION, ALIAS, NIP/TUCK, SCRUBS)

11/12/09 Q&A with writer-director MARK FERGUS (FIRST SNOW, and co-writer on IRON MAN, CHILDREN OF MEN)

10/19/09 Q&A with feature and documentary director ANDREW JARECKI (ALL GOOD THINGS, CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS)

10/12/09 Q&A with writer-director SHANA FESTE (THE GREATEST) and BRIAN KAVANAUGH-JONES, Film Finance agent at CAA (THE WRESTLER, MILK, THE HURT LOCKER)

9/29/09 Q&A with television director LEV L. SPIRO (WEEDS, EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, UGLY BETTY, PSYCH, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, MY NAME IS EARL, THE O.C., GILMORE GIRLS, DAWSON’S CREEK)

8/12/09 Q&A with writer-director DOUG ATCHISON (AKEELAH AND THE BEE)

6/25/09 Special Event. Audition Demonstration by writer-director BILLY RAY (SHATTERED GLASS, BREACH)

  • "Judith taught me how to communicate with actors in a completely new way, and what I learned from her has had a huge influence over both my work and my life. She is an incredible communicator, a gifted teacher, and a remarkable human being. I can't recommend her classes highly enough for directors and actors who want to bring more emotional truth to their craft."

    JULIUS RAMSAY, director, THE WALKING DEAD
  • "All the scary transformative moments I've had in your class really paid off. And I can never begin to thank you for all that you've done for me. I'm simply not the same person I was when I started my journey with you."

    ANDREA TOYIAS, Voice Director, Blizzard Entertainment, WORLD OF WARCRAFT / DIABLO / STARCRAFT
  • “I really wanted to thank you because I know that I could have not done it without the knowledge I got from you. You will always be one of the greatest teachers I've ever had and I'm truly proud to be one of your students. Thank you for teaching me to love my actors.”

    TANEL TOOM, writer-director, THE CONFESSION (nominated for Academy Award, Live Action Short Film, 2011)
  • “I took a seminar with an acting teacher named Judith Weston. I learned a key insight to character. She believed that all well-drawn characters have a spine, and the idea is that the character has an inner motor, a dominant, unconscious goal that they’re striving for, an itch that they can’t scratch. I took to this like a duck to water.”

    ANDREW STANTON [from his Feb 2012 TED Talk] writer-director, WALL-E, FINDING NEMO, A BUG’S LIFE; writer, TOY STORY, TOY STORY 2, TOY STORY 3
  • "Directing my first movie would have been impossible without Judith's book, 'Directing Actors.' Her insights taught me how to audition actors, how to cast intelligently, how to rehearse. When production began, I cribbed a set of Weston reminders on to a 3-by-5 index card, and kept it in my shirt pocket every single day of shooting. She saved me."

    BILLY RAY, writer-director, SHATTERED GLASS, BREACH; writer, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, THE HUNGER GAMES, STATE OF PLAY, FLIGHTPLAN
  • "Judith, you're the one that gave me the tools for success with actors!"

    KAREN GAVIOLA, director, SONS OF ANARCHY, CRIMINAL MINDS, CSI, NCIS, BLUE BLOODS, CSI:MIAMI, CASTLE, PRIVATE PRACTICE, LOST, GHOST WHISPERER, PRISON BREAK, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, NYPD BLUE
  • “Judith Weston taught me how to listen – what she called ‘listening with your whole body.’ She taught me about the power and the magic of the subconscious world. She showed me doors and windows and portals into creative possibilities I scarcely knew existed. Her wisdom changed the way I write, the way I direct actors – and, with no exaggeration, the way I look at life.”

    MARK FERGUS, co-writer: CHILDREN OF MEN, IRON MAN; director: FIRST SNOW
  • "Judith Weston is a great teacher. She's inspired me to be interested in people more than concepts, behavior more than attitudes, process more than results. In her classes I've learned to ask more questions, to trust what is happening, and to always be willing to dig deeper. She is the kind of teacher who makes me excited about taking chances." 

    NORMAN BUCKLEY, director, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, RIZZOLI & ISLES, THE FOSTERS, THE CLIENT LIST, SWITCHED AT BIRTH, GOSSIP GIRL, CHUCK, MELROSE PLACE, 90210, THE O.C.
  • “You've taught me the essential tools so I could carry on with the visions that haunt me day and night and to embrace the process which I will continue to learn. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

    DEJA PREM, writer/producer/director/actor, at Green Coco Production
  • “Your workshop was wonderful in letting me know that many of the things I am already doing are the correct way of dealing with actors and taught me other things that add to that knowledge. And your patience and unbridled energy and passion for what you teach is more than admirable, it is inspiring. So thank you once again for this wonderful experience, one I will never forget and that will continue to help me on this path on which I am forever learning about new and wonderful things.”

    MICHAEL TRIM, director, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, WEEDS, PARKS AND RECREATION
  • "Judith Weston is not a drama teacher, she is an art teacher. She understands that at the heart of great drama is a powerful mystery. What she shows you in her workshops and her book are simple and effective tools that help you get deeper and deeper into that rich, complex and surprising place."

    DAVID JACOBSON, writer-director, DOWN IN THE VALLEY, DAHMER
  • “In your classes I learned to love actors and acting. The experience opened for me the secret door to the magic I witnessed when actor and material find each other in just the right way. What I once thought were 'happy accidents' and performance miracles are now the kernels of creativity I relentlessly pursue with an actor finding a performance. You helped me find that part I could play in the process and how to capture it.”

    FRED TOYE, director, THE GOOD WIFE, PERSON OF INTEREST, RIZZOLI & ISLES, FRINGE, CHUCK, CSI:NY, LOST, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, GHOST WHISPERER, CHUCK
  • “Judith Weston gave me the greatest gift you can give to a first-time director - she gave me confidence in my ability to work with actors. I will be forever grateful for her extremely hands on and applicable advice for directing actors and I know I will use it for the rest of my career. She has a contagious love of the process and an unbelievable understanding of human emotion. I would not be where I am today if it had not been for her.” 

    SHANA FESTE, writer-director, ENDLESS LOVE, COUNTRY STRONG, THE GREATEST
  • "Judith's method is wonderful because it is practical. She has given me numerous tools to solve problems on the set and to earn the trust of actors. Her classes and her book are invaluable resources to any director."

    LAWRENCE TRILLING, director, MASTERS OF SEX, PARENTHOOD, PUSHING DAISIES, DAMAGES, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, NIP/TUCK, MONK, SCRUBS, INVASION, ALIAS, FELICITY
  • "Every time I step on a set, I think of what Judith taught me. Every time I begin a project, I review a notebook I kept during the years I studied with her. Every time I'm in rehearsal, I'm using her techniques. Every time I'm in a bind within a scene, I go back to the foundation she gave me. I didn't go to film school. I sat in Judith Weston's workshops, took everything she said to heart, then went out and started telling my stories. I'm so grateful for that path - and for her."

    AVA DuVERNAY, director, SELMA (2015 Golden Globe nominee for Best Film, and Best Director), SCANDAL, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (winner of the Best Director Award at Sundance Film Festival and the I
  • "Judith's ideas and principles are incredibly useful when it comes to giving clear, actionable direction to actors. To anyone aspiring to direct, I would recommend making her classroom one of your first stops."

    LEV L. SPIRO, director, MODERN FAMILY, UGLY BETTY, WEEDS, EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, ARLI$$, THE O.C., EVERWOOD, GILMORE GIRLS
  • "Everything you taught me was more than useful. I am deeply grateful."

    ALEJANDRO GONZÁLEZ IÑÁRRITU, director, BIRDMAN, BIUTIFUL, BABEL, 21 GRAMS, AMORES PERROS