Today we’d like to introduce you to Giovannie Espiritu.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Giovannie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I moved to LA a year and a half ago from the Bay Area where I ran an acting school for kids and teens that were serious about getting into the industry in a non-scammy way (sfactorsworkshop.com). I still travel up to the Bay twice a month to teach.
My students are doing amazing – I have two students (the Espina sisters) that just booked series regular roles at Dreamworks/Universal Kids. They have their own show “Life Hacks for Kids.” Another one of my students booked a series regular role on the Pocketwatch series.
My kiddos sign with really awesome agencies left and right (WME, CESD, Zuri, and all the cool little boutique agencies). But truth be told, I moved down to Los Angeles because the rental prices were getting too ridiculous and I’m a single mom and couldn’t make it work with my landlord raising my rent $200 every 6 months. I guess it was also a nudge from the Universe to get my butt down here already.
I wanted to find my footing and become an Angeleno a bit more before I started dipping my toes into the teaching waters. I wanted to take some time to become a student of acting again because I believe in constant and never-ending improvement.
I enrolled at UCB, went through the long-form improv program and am starting the sketch program there in a few months. It makes me a better teacher to the kiddos. After getting acclimated to LA life, I’m finally ready to teach students in Los Angeles.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest challenge for me has been my self-talk. There are so many amazing teachers and schools down here that are more established and have more distinguished reputations. I would always feel like, “Who am I to teach?”
Thankfully, I have really great mentors and colleagues (teachers and actors themselves) that encourage me to keep doing what I love.
I love teaching, and I love creating a safe space for young actors to explore their identity and feelings. It’s important to let my students feel all the complex emotions a person goes through without judgment. This is a very tough industry, especially for kiddos, and I want to make sure that if they love the art of acting, they (and their parents) have a place to go where they can have fun while still upholding professional standards.
Also, certain types of parents can be a nightmare. It’s really important to me that the desire to act purely comes from the kid, and not from a parent who is pushing them into the industry for their own benefits. Also, I try to talk to the kids and have them really enjoy the process of acting (and auditioning!) and not let the rejection get to their psyche – a lot of it involves talking to the parents and having them ease up on the expectations for auditions (especially when the parents are driving back and forth from SF to LA for auditions). I’m constantly amplifying the need to keep everything light and fun.
Please tell us about Hollywood Actors Workshop.
I teach acting and specialize in kids/teens and young adults. I travel up to the Bay Area to teach twice a month and teach online through Skype or FaceTime… and now LA.
I started teaching at various acting schools in the Bay Area in 2005, but I started my own school in 2008. My students have a high success rate, but I am most proud of how empathic my students are and the community of support that they build for each other.
Success isn’t just the number of bookings my students have – it’s also about the shy little girl that finds her voice and becomes a FORCE to be reckoned with. It’s about the boy that is bullied at school but finds that he shines in sitcom scene work and people value his sense of humor. It’s about the parents that were so lost when their kids kept bugging them about “being on TV” and seeing them become mentors to other parents who are trying to navigate this crazy-lovely business.
What sets me apart? Kids know that I am a self-proclaimed dork and I’m not afraid to be silly or vulnerable with them. Parents know that I’m a mom too and that I am protective of my students. They also know that I am a working actor as well, so I’m right there in the trenches with them. I teach and do. I also am a filmmaker as well, so having experience behind the camera and producing films helps.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start all over, I would have probably moved to LA sooner. The business is so different down here – the hustle is in Los Angeles is REAL and it takes time to get a sense of how everything works.
But on the other hand, I am a believer in that everything happens for a reason and that you can’t force timing… so I don’t know if that would have been good for me (or my kid) if I had actually moved down sooner.
- Website: www.hollywoodactorsworkshop.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @hollywoodactorsworkshop
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/sfactorsworkshop
- Twitter: @giospirit
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/sf-actors-workshop-the-young-actors-workshop-san-bruno
Dreamworks, Revry, Dylan Curtis