Workshops for Inclusion
GO FUND ME for the MEET THE BIZ Program
Workshops for Inclusion
In 2008, after teaching for about eight years through the Media Access Office, I decided that the acting workshops that I was putting together needed a change. We needed them to be more inclusive. Not only actors with disabilities, but we needed to expand, be open to all actors and performers.
This new workshop became known as ‘Meet the Biz’ embracing a diversity that we called family.
Actors with and without disabilities; Blind, Deaf, hard of hearing, Wheel-Chair Users, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Autism, White, Black, Gay, Straight, and the list goes on.
I wanted to bring together everyone to learn from one another, to celebrate our differences and to recognize our sameness. I wanted to train artists to be the best in their game so that they can work in the world of stage, television and film.
I also wanted to invite industry and celebrity guests to share their experience in the Entertainment Business. Whether it be Acting, Dancing, Singing, Writing, Directing, Producing, Casting, or being an agent or manager. Our classes presented a well-rounded vision of the workings of a business, and through team work and creative influence, how the “magic” happened or didn’t happen.
As time went on, I realized that those teachers, the industry guests, learned just as much, if not more, during their time with our group of Inclusion. As a result of the connections made, there has been advances in getting diversity on the stage and the screen.
The classes have been very low priced, pay what you can, and many have been free. For over 10 years we have received grants and donations from the incredible Friends of Californians with Disabilities, Inc. to keep our program running. Throughout the years we received other grants through from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for a program with Actors For Autism, Michele Spitz: Woman of Her Word, and also some private donations. We have been putting off using Crowdfunding, but we are now in need of it to keep our program going.
Several years ago, the Media Access Office after 30 years of service, was closed down by the State of California due to funding. However I did not want our cherished workshops to be closed down as well. I felt the importance of keeping 'Meet the Biz' as an integral part of the business.
Not only did we have the workshops, but also it served as a bridge in a varied amount of venues; working closely with many organizations - including the Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA, The Writers Guild, Actors For Autism, Performing Arts Studio West, Inclusion Films, the Los Angeles LGBT Village at the Ed Gould Plaza, the McCadden Theater, and Evolution Dance Studio, to name a few.
A few years back, our dear friend, Actor/Producer, Danny Woodburn was teaching improv. The door opened, and a new student entered. As I was sitting in the corner of the room, observing, I noticed this student’s mouth drop open by the obvious diversity in the room.
Danny was in front of the group speaking, and next to him were two girls who happened to be wheelchair users, next to them was an actress who had Down syndrome talking to a blind man, and there were also two students signing to one another.
You could tell by his demeanor, that this new student was a little taken aback, but as I watched the magic of that evening unfold, I also noticed the change in that new student. By the end of the 3 hour workshop, he was laughing and thoroughly enjoying being a part of this amazing group of people. That student has become a part of the group and has continued taking classes to this day!
My intention has always been to bridge the gap between ability and disability by embracing diversity, breaking down social barriers and opening the once locked doors of opportunity. In doing so, the acceptance of diversity becomes commonplace.
Starting in 2016, bringing inclusion to an even greater expression, the 'Meet the Biz' program has merged and is now a program at the Performing Arts Studio West which is now celebrating its 19th year.
To successfully accomplish what we need to continue our workshops and for being all inclusive through the end of 2019, we will need to hire Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Stipends for Guest Instructors, Materials, Transportation, an Annual Bond and Insurance, Organization, Transportation, Publicity, Photographer and Equipment for Filming and Editing.
The projected total needed for Meet the Biz program through the end of 2019 is $36,000.
When reaching that goal of $36,000, ALL 'Meet the Biz' workshops will be at no charge to the students through January 2020. With the economy being what it is today, this would be the difference between not being able to attend due to lack of income, and being a part of something that will give us the skills to use for the rest of our lives.
*** Additionally, any amount exceeding the $36,000 will go to help funding film or art projects in association with the Meet the Biz program, promoting inclusion of diversity, and creating a higher standard in the arts.
Thank you in advance for any amount you are able to give.
In Solidarity and Love,
David S. Zimmerman
Creator / Founder of the MEET THE BIZ workshops
and DSZ Productions
BREAKDOWN OF FUNDS
Breakdown of Funds for classes through December 31, 2019.
Organization / Putting together the workshops - $5,000
Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - $9,600
Guest Instructors (18 x 150) 2015/2016 - $2,700 Guest Instructors (18 x 150)2017/2018 - $2,700
Materials / Transportation / Events $1,200
Christopher & Dana Reeve Gifts $200
Bond and Insurance - $2,500
Space Rental - $1,200
Photographer / Editing - 300 x 12 $3,600
Publicity / Website - $3,000
Special Events - 4 Workshop "EVENTS" for the year of 2019 - Includes Guest Instructors, Bond, Publicity, Filming, and Interpreters. (Used to be Equipment for Filming) - $4,300
Total needed: $36,000
Photos by Michael Hansel and Deb Halberstadt
Videos by Marc Saltarelli and Sean Willis;
Rich Tamayo and Henryk Cymerman.
Photo #1 - The Angela Rockwood Manifestation Workshop
Photo #2 - The Naomi Grossman Acting Workshop
Photo #3 - The Dot Todman Singing Workshop
Photo #4 - Auti Angel's Dance Workshop
Photo #5 - Danny Woodburn's Improv Workshop
Photo #6 - Tobias Forrest's Music Workshop
Photo #7 - Jamie Brewer's Acting Workshop
Photo #8 - The Charlene Tilton Scene Study Workshop
Video #1 - A Family Affair : The Landers - Acting and the Business of Acting
Video #2 - Charlene Tilton and Cherish Lee Acting and Singing Workshop
Video #3 - Lainie Kazan on Acting, Singing and Classes
Video #4 - Danny Woodburn's Improv Workshop
Video #5 - Auti Angel's Dance and Movement Workshop
Video #6 - The Harlan Boll Interview
For all those who donate, your name will be added to a donation page on our www.meetthebiz.net website unless requested not to.
Thank you again for your love and support.
"Meet The Biz Workshops do not guarantee employment."
Enjoy our Meet The Biz Interview with one of the best out there... B Harlan Boll. An incredibly focused and loving man whose talents and history shines. A publicist who cares so very much about his family of talented Legends. Thank you Harlan for you.
What can I say... this woman is one of the best actors out there and her comedy can lift you up when you are down. An actress, activist, and friend. She has taught a couple of Meet The Biz workshops over the years and also has donated her time performing Stand-Up at several fundraising events. As you know, she is the first person with a visible disability to have a recurring role on a prime-time series, as well as the first actor with cerebral palsy to be featured on a TV series.
She is a legend. A shining star. A healing force.
She helps us all breathe.
Thank you Geri.
Danny Woodburn is an incredible teacher who has given so much to our students through his improv and acting workshops.
Here is a short fun video from one of his classes at Meet The Biz.