Academy offers new courses for actors

11 August, 2014 by Don Groves

Los Angeles- based The Australian Film & Television Academy (TAFTA) is introducing two new programs later this year, one designed to coach teenage actors, the other involving workshops with top casting directors.

In another innovation, the Academy is opening its LA Experience course, which started several years ago to enable Australian actors to display their skills to managers, talent agents and casting directors, to international students from around the globe.


The Teen LA Experience will run twice a year, based on the LA Experience but condensed to 10 days and aimed at teens aged 12-17 years.

The Casting Director Intensive (CDI) workshops will enable actors to sharpen their audition and cold reading skills and time management over two days in six individual sessions with six different casting directors, including David Rapaport and Lyndsey Baldasare.

Founded by John Orcsik in 1994, TAFTA is dedicated to teaching and helping develop the craft of acting in film and TV to students of all ages and helping them towards professional working careers.

The Academy runs acting schools in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth, as well as the workshops and courses in LA.

Orcsik tells IF that many graduates have gone on to successful careers in Australia and internationally.  They include Chris Pang (Tomorrow When the War Began, I Frankenstein, The Mule), who has just landed a co-lead role opposite Jet Li in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2; James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom, Adoration, TV’s New Girl); Deniz Akdeniz ((The Water Diviner, TV’s Graceland); Aaron Jakubenko (Blinder, Neighbours, Spartacus); and Neighbours regulars Saskia Hampele, Madison Danielle and Tessa James.

Among other alumni are US-based Sophie Tilson (The Wedding Pact, Crimes of the Mind), who is now shooting Merry ExMas with Dean Cain; and Teressa Liane (Any Questions for Ben? The Cup, and Neighbours semi regular).

“TAFTA’s original international program LA Experience started several years back and has since become one of the most successful programs for Australian actors,“ says Orcsik’s daughter Jessica Orcsik, TAFTA’s LA Network and Program Director and Sydney administrator.

”Through our program, actors have been seen by managers, talent agents and casting directors, and this has enabled a lot of them to set themselves up with US visas to pursue international careers.

“TAFTA has seen students book various roles in Malaysia, the UK, Australia and the US. This 10-week program initially invited Australian actors only to travel to Los Angeles and learn not just about the craft of acting but the business side to their career and industry practices including audition etiquette, self- marketing and self-tests.

“TAFTA will now open the program to international students from all over the globe and bring new components into the course including workshops specialising in commercial, sitcom, acting for film, primetime, soap opera and cold reads. There will also be new casting agent sessions, talent agent showcases, management seminars, casting website seminars with Breakdown Services and union and non-union seminars with SAG-AFTRA.”

The details:

LA Experience
Program runs twice a year – April & September.
Hosts a maximum of 16 students. Audition based acceptance.
Applications open now email.
For bookings & student guide email:

CDI Casting Director Intensive
November 22- 23 2014
Hosts a maximum of 22 students.
Individual sessions, day passes & full 2 day workshop available.

Teen LA Experience
December 5 – 15 2014
Hosts a maximum of 10 students.
Applications open now and by audition only