For more opportunities to work with guest teachers curated by Heidi, check out the Acting Collective.


Class size: Limited to 8 students
Prerequisites: Open to all
Location: Online
*$250 deposit is required to guarantee your slot. Non-refundable, but transferable to a friend.

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Class content

Revitalize and fortify your acting technique to invigorate your on-camera work.

Get your skills in order so that when the camera turns on you, you’re ready. (Re)inspire your work by strengthening the foundations of your craft.





Every audition should begin with the actor asking themselves these five questions: Who am I? Where and when am I? What do I want? What do I do to get what I want?  What happens if I don’t get what I want? If you can answer these questions, you’re already on your way to a great audition or rehearsal. In this first class, I’ll teach you how to apply these questions to your character and how to use them in the scene to keep you grounded and specific.




How can you act well if you don’t know what you’re saying? In the second week of class, we will work on beats and text analysis so that when you’re acting, you sound like an actual human being instead of a robot. By using imaging techniques and classic concepts like beats, you’ll leave class with a better sense of what story you’re trying to tell, and how to tell it effectively.




How can your characters differ if they all exist in the same body? This week, I’ll teach you a quick and easy way to change your body’s energy centers and create physicality.  There are very simple ways to adjust your posture, stance, and energy so that your characters inhabit a different body than the one you walk around in every day.




Finally, what’s the most important key to great acting? Listening! This final week will be all about engaging with your scene partner, surrendering, and listening to what they have to say. With the foundation work done in weeks 1, 2, and 3, you’ll see how easy it is to let go and listen. This way, your scene has buoyancy and a spontaneity that can’t possibly be planned.




I’ll use my experience as a working actress along with the expertise I gained while acquiring my MFA at the Yale School of Drama to pass along exclusive tips from the best teachers in the country.




Each week, you’ll receive an assignment that addresses a specific building block of the actor’s process. Whether it’s where you are, what you’re doing, what you want, or what you’ll do to get there, these questions and corresponding scenes will provide templates for you to learn the areas where you can improve your specificity and skill.



We film your scenes and provide you with downloads after each class. It’s an excellent way to study your progress, see your “tricks,” and understand what the producers/directors are seeing on the television monitors.



“I am always available to my students to answer questions about the industry and to provide my experience, strength, and hope. My wish for you is that after you leave my class, you feel like a strong, badass, empowered artist: in other words, the person you were born to be.” — Carly

Who is this class good for?

Anyone who understands that acting on film is a craft! Craft takes time and attention to develop. This class is for actors who know they’re talented and who want to harness that talent using structure and craft.

If you’ve been in a million acting classes already, this class will take you back to the building blocks of your work so you can see what you’ve forgotten or what you’re missing.

If you’re new to acting, this class will help you build a solid foundation for work in theater, commercials, TV, and film.

If you’re somewhere in between and just need some more tools in your toolbox, this class will equip you with the right stuff to kick butt in your upcoming auditions.

All are welcome: all skill levels and ages. These tools are timeless, and they will serve you no matter where you are in your process.



You will need to plan for homework time to research your assignment and prepare your materials. All studio classes are designed to stretch and support your complete prep process as an actor for self-tapes and in-person auditions. The more you put into the class, the more you get out of it!



Artists teaching artists is the inspiration for bringing Guest Teachers to the studio. This class is intended to expand your process as an actor and to reinforce your skills, confidence, and natural talent.

What you get

  • 4 weeks, 4 hours each class   
  • Individualized coaching in class
  • Film your scene every week
  • Downloadable video files of your on-camera classwork for personal review
  • Intimate and non-competitive space: 8 students max
  • BFA and MFA drama school–level acting tips and insights
  • Specific instructions for how to:

    1. Analyze scenes and break down text
    2. Create an objective for your character
    3. Build a character’s physicality, given circumstances, and stakes



Let’s empower you with skills and confidence to play the lead.


A few years ago, I personally requested Carly to design and teach this class because I know how essential it is for the working actor.


Let’s get thinking about the big picture.


Thinking about the big picture of the story will help you strategize on how to approach a single scene in an audition.

How does this scene play within a character arc? How should I make the two audition scenes different?

These choices get revealed by thinking about the big picture journey. And, when you head to set and film your scenes out of order, you’ll already be piecing together where each scene fits within the arc!


Big picture analysis gives you incredibly valuable insights about your character choices in every single scene. Each scene is a building block to the next one. There’s a reason that scene is written.

What does it reveal about character development? Why now? Or, why isn’t everything revealed yet? Which choices can you make in Scene 3 that pay off later in Scene 56?

Oh it’s so much fun to analyze and build your character in the context of the story!


You’re a contributor to the WHOLE of the story. In this class, actors build one role in four weeks.

Let’s see you take the lead. You know you can do it. Yes, you can.

About Carly

Carly Zien

Carly is a working actress, business owner, intimacy coordinator, and audition coach for actors in all mediums.

Carly attended Yale School of Drama for both her undergrad and her MFA, and she was always involved in the audition process for their MFA program. From watching thousands of MFA hopefuls, she learned what makes a strong, well-crafted, and inspired audition. Carly is passionate about empowering artists and helping actors discover and rediscover their passion for what they do.

Carly served as Intimacy Coordinator on the following sets: Almost Family (FOX), Porcelain (short film), Geranium (short film), #LoveMyRoomie (web series), White Flags (independent film). She lives and works in LA.


Carly is an incredibly compassionate teacher and fellow actor-artist who deeply understands all the angles that an actor needs support for in their journey—from prep to performance to nourishing yourself for a lifetime in the career of acting. Her coaching and teaching skills are backed by a genuine love of the craft and art of acting. Carly is a gem of a guide for actors. Carly is also an alumna of my studio and shares a philosophy of empowering actors with inspiration and tools!

Conversations with Carly

What was a difficult challenge for you as an actor? 

Deciding between my passion for acting and my need for stability and security.


What was a crazy or silly moment on set? 

I’ve found that the best way to learn something is to teach it yourself. When I pass on my knowledge, it helps my students and me to stay in shape!


What is the main thing you wish you knew then but that you only understand now?

Salaries. We are at the top of our field and are being paid less than fifty dollars an hour for shows. I believe we should only be performing in six shows per week, and that we should demand higher wages.


What moment or experience as an artist do you feel most proud of?

Playing Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


Who do you really look up to in your field and why?

All of the women working towards 50/50 by 20/20. I’m excited to have more female directors, cinematographers, editors, screenwriters, art directors, etc etc etc.


Lee Hubilla
The class has had a great impact on how I prep for a scene. What I'll do differently is....follow Carly's guide! She gave us so many tools and revealed her exact process in how she preps for every character/audition. Following them really helps me understand the character, even more than I realize. Her in the moment coaching was super helpful in helping recognize and break certain patterns/habits. So great! I got a lot out of this! I also want to credit my fellow classmates for really bringing it. People brought great challenging scenes that really made a safe environment for us to be vulnerable and try things. Carly of course was amazing at pushing us to try these things and challenge ourselves.
Lauren Bell


I had the BEST experience!

Briana Reed


As a dancer transitioning to acting with no training, I’ve tried to be very pragmatic in building a technical foundation. I felt that this workshop fit perfectly. Its impact was how well Carly was able to simplify and summarize techniques and of course her infectious love of the craft.

Dave Weinstein


Carly is a great teacher. She creates a fun, warm atmosphere to learn in.

Amanda Goble

I feel much better about my prep process, and I feel more confident in general.

Brian Culbertson


Absolutely thrilled! One of the most useful classes I’ve taken that provides more resources to explore!

Gabriel Awan


I feel like a have a much more solid idea of what I need to do to prep and then let go and trust. It sounds basic but I felt lost before the class and I feel like I have the tools to work so that I may play now.

Dawn Vicknair


Loved, loved, loved Carly!! Wonderful supportive teacher and class. Would love to have a Part 2. As always, you always provide the best teachers and the most supportive environment! Thanks, Heidi!
It was beautiful, challenging and a safe environment! I feel more self-trust! Thank you, Carly and Heidi, for keeping the actor’s life meaningful! It gave me awareness of my body sensors! It reminded me that it is not about me! This class drew myself out ! I got the tools how to do it ! I will approach learning script with more depth!

Absolutely thrilled! One of the most useful classes I’ve taken that provides more resources to explore!


I feel like a have a much more solid idea of what I need to do to prep and then let go and trust. It sounds basic but I felt lost before the class and I feel like I have the tools to work so that I may play now.


I have been so BLOCKED recently, and this class was step one in loosening up the blocks and trying to get back into acting. It was a very useful first step. I think I will go from not auditioning at all, to prepping auditions and actually getting a reel together.


It has given me the confidence to look at a script or side and decipher the meanings, subtext and importance of what I am going to be presenting to my audience. It has also shown me that I have a true love for this art form that I want to pursue further.


Loved, loved, loved Carly!! Wonderful supportive teacher and class. Would love to have a Part 2.

Studio guarantee

Full disclosure — please note that we do not guarantee that actors in these classes or workshops will be hired for any project that we might direct, produce, or cast. We teach and coach because we enjoy supporting and nurturing actors as you develop your personal process for auditioning, working and creating your own work.