Workshops for Inclusion

$22,943 of $36,000 goal

Raised by 245 people in 28 months

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 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 website unless requested not to.

Thank you again for your love and support.

"Meet The Biz Workshops do not guarantee employment."
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After today, we will have 5 days left to get the funding to keep our workshops and classes going for a full year for our 2018 push.
Day # 27 Update - Today I am posting photos from just a few of the amazing workshops that we have done over the years.
1) The Steven Wishnoff Acting Workshop
2) Animation workshop with Andreas Wessel-Therhorn
3) Meet The Biz Coming Together: A Breath of Inclusion at SAG-AFTRA
Pam Dixon Casting Director
Peter Kallinteris Agent
Albert Giannelli Manager
Jules Dameron Director
Jeanne Elfant Festa Producer
Moderated by Consuelo Flores
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Day #26 Update
The Landers.
What an amazing, incredible, giving family.
The talent and Hollywood entertainment history is overflowing within each of them.
Natalie Lander, Kathy Fields Lander, and David L. Lander.
They fill your heart up with love.
We were blessed to have them all come join us at the Writers Guild of America for one of the best events that we have ever had.
It started out with an interview and Q & A, and then went on to an audition technique workshop where everyone got honest and loving critiques to help them “be” more in the moment and learn the craft of acting.
Thank you Natalie, Kathy and David for being a blessing in all of our lives.

Photos by Michael Hansel
Video by Marc Saltarelli

Learning the art of auditions with David, Kathy and Natalie
The Landers Workshop
Meet The Biz: A Family Affair - The Landers
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Day #25 UPDATE
There are 8 days left of our push to get funding for our workshops of inclusion! We are about 2/3rd's the way there.
*** Today I am posting photos taken by the incredible Michael Hansel from the workshop of the Legendary Christopher Voelker. We had this one day, amazing workshop at the Voelker Studio. It was a discussion with Voelker and actor Robert David Hall from CSI about photography and acting and how the two interweave together .
Then Voelker got out his camera and did a photography session with two of our students. What a breathtaking experience to watch a master at work.
The event was sold out and was one of our most memorable workshops. Having both Chris and David Hall there electrified the space.
About a year later Christopher Voelker passed away. He was one of the most astonishing artists ever.
Thank you Christopher Voelker for enriching us all.

Christopher Voelker in session with model/actor JJ Dubon - Photo by Michael Hansel
Christopher Voelker and Robert David Hall - Photo by Michael Hansel
Brock Waidmann - Photo by Christopher Voelker
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Day #24 Update
Bob Bergen : The voice of Porky Pig and Tweety Bird joined us and showed us how to create magic with characters in animation.
One of the biggest names in VO and one of the most popular workshops that we've ever had.
Bob is one of the sweetest and most loving people in the industry . His knowledge and generosity makes him one of the most sought out Voice-Over Instructors.
We just found out that he will be visiting us again during the 2019 season.
Thank you Bob for your love and support.

The Bob Bergen Workshop
Giving out the assignment
Bob working with actress Rebecca Rodick
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Read a Previous Update
1 month ago

can you please donate to autism arts my name is Manu and I am trying to make a autism club I’m only 16 I’m trying to make friends with other people like me and I want them to embrace their creativity

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Kay D'Arcy
27 months ago

Every time I see the photo.s I am reminded of the generous spirits in our group and how the " Me '" energy is missing when we work together. Bless you David for giving one and all the chance to shine.X

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$22,943 of $36,000 goal

Raised by 245 people in 28 months
Created July 10, 2016
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Laura Gardner
5 hours ago

Join in!

Jonah Blechman
6 days ago

I've participated in this program and it is as inspiring and groundedly helpful as any in our business. Go David Go!!!

1 month ago

can you please donate to autism arts my name is Manu and I am trying to make a autism club I’m only 16 I’m trying to make friends with other people like me and I want them to embrace their creativity

+ Read More
Kay D'Arcy
27 months ago

Every time I see the photo.s I am reminded of the generous spirits in our group and how the " Me '" energy is missing when we work together. Bless you David for giving one and all the chance to shine.X

+ Read More
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