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Testimonials

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.02.59 PM“For the first six years in this business I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle… in the dark. Then came not only a glimmer of light, but a blinding source of knowledge, comfort, support, and confidence.

Any “acting teacher” can don a beret and complicate the art of acting, but it is Deborah’s inherent genius that allows her to simplify it for you. Know your character, know the material, and know where/when you are. If you are an actor that prefers to use your brain then you will have questions… Deborah Aquila has the answers.

And then even more questions for you to ask yourself. She is, in my opinion, one of the best resources that actors have had access to, and I truly believe her name will find it’s place among the great teachers of all time. Please don’t take my word for it, you owe it to yourself to find out on your own.”

-ARMIE HAMMER

The Lone Ranger, The Social Network

Lily

“In life, the more one understands a situation, the better they can handle it. After taking Donna Morong, Will Geiger, and John Hindman’s Audition Technique class, I now understand auditioning from every point of view. Through this knowledge, I have grown to love and enjoy the process. I feel rooted and confident in the room in a way that was impossible without this training. My craft and career have now ascended to a new level, and I credit this class completely.”

-LILY HOLLEMAN

Shameless, Southland, NCIS: New Orleans, The Lady Killers, @urFRENZ

Molly Quinn
“Donna Morong’s Professional Scene Study Class sharpened my character awareness and brought a new dimension to my scenes as a whole. She is a wonderful and compassionate communicator. Her experience and insights turn the jumbled work of creating a character into a fluid dance. Donna allows an open environment to prepare with partners and working directors. Highly recommend.”

-MOLLY C. QUINN

Castle, We’re the Millers

 

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“My strongest and most rapid period of growth in my acting career was at Donna’s summer workshop. I felt like I improved in every possible category whether it be with physicality, voice, face work, improv or building a background for my character. I felt so free to try out new ideas because I was supported by not only my teachers, but my fellow students as well. After only two weeks of Donna’s summer course, I felt so much more confident in my acting capabilities, which significantly helped me in auditioning and working in film, TV and theater.”

-HARLEY QUINN SMITH

Yoga Hosers, Clerks II

Tara Buck
“Master Scene Study with Deborah Aquila and John Hindman is definitely a class worthy of a dedicated actor’s time. Deborah and John will challenge you, stretch your artistic limits and give you real, applicable tools for deepening your craft. The benefits to my professional life and growth as an artist from this class are incredible. I am grateful beyond words.”

-TARA BUCK

True Blood, Pee Wee’s Big Holiday

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“I am a young Latina actress born and raised in the heart of Los Angeles. Here there are acting studios on every corner selling Hollywood dreams for a dime a dozen. However, that is not the case at the Aquila Morong Studio and never will be. I can authentically express my gratitude for this place that houses some of the most creative and talented artists in the industry today. I recently participated in Donna and John’s On Camera Audition Technique class and the experience was transformative! With their guidance and input I was able to drop the “actor tendencies” and redirect my interest in the relationship of the human story. I was left feeling empowered and motivated to tackle my art head on and pursue my career relentlessly. If you are looking to get good, this is not the studio for you; here we get real.”

-KIMBERLY RECINOS

I Heart Nick Carter

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“I found Donnas class to be invaluable. As an actress working on a show for the past 8 years, my audition skills were a little rusty, but more importantly, they didn’t reflect the new reality of most auditions being put on tape.

Back in the olden days, we used to audition in front of a room full of people.. get adjustments and give a couple different takes on a character. Nowadays, you generally only get that one run on a tape, and that tape goes out without you ever seeing it.

Even as someone who works in front of a camera constantly, I was really surprised at what I saw on Donna’s tapes! (and not always in a good way..) This class allowed me a safe space to see any weird crap i might be doing on audition tapes that I’ve never ever seen myself do in my daily work.
As I said, invaluable.

Even if the learning just stopped there and she and John said nothing, but just let us watch ourselves, i would have learned a great deal.. But Donna and John both gave unique, honest and knowledgeable guidance each week that really helped everyone approach on camera auditions in a more confident and certainly more effective way!

If you’re just starting out or have been working for years, getting yourself into class is always a good thing!”

-LISA LOCICERO

General Hospital, Star Trek Voyager, Reno 911!

 

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Donna Morong’s 2-week pre-college intensive conservatory was some of the most fun I have ever had. Aquila Morong Acting Studio has helped me mature in my craft as an actor. I learned so many things about new ways to approach a script and the mentality to have going into an audition. Donna and her FANTASTIC teachers truly helped me in bringing new dimensions to my acting. With the variety of classes ranging from movement to improv, I learned how to truly become the character I’m playing. Donna’s class also helped me with making new friends. With Donna’s help, I was able to make new friends, learn, and have fun all at the same time. If your looking for a place that will challenge you and will keep you motivated, I highly recommend Aquila Morong Acting Studio.

-MATTHEW WHITE


There are so many wonderful things to say about Donna Morong’s pre-college conservatory program. Donna truly teaches you to find and understand the levels within your characters lives that make them who they are- deep down to the core. Donna makes you think- she makes you explore every possibility and ask yourself questions that suddenly open new worlds and truths within the lives of your characters. One of my favorite exercises we did was when Donna had us explain -with every detail- the layout of the scene, and learning how everything, from a crack in a fountain to a old yellowing refrigerator, comes together to create the depth and the truth in our characters lives. The questions we learned to ask ourselves and looking out for all the little details, have helped me immensely as an actress, allowing me to pick up on things that truly take my work to a different level.

In movement classes, we learn about the importance of the physical connection to your characters life, and after learning and experiencing the way it truly feels to be physically in the characters shoes, my acting skyrocketed into another dimension.  I remember actually kind of tearing up during class because of the amazing discovery “movement” became to me. It was definitely one of the most amazing classes for me as it was something new that I had never tried or used before in my work- now I can’t imagine NOT using it. There are so many ways that movement can help an actor shape, create and truly FEEL who their character is. (And it is one amazing feeling!) It is a tool that is strongly present in my work today.

The voice classes with Andy Wagner are the most fun… EVER! His crazy improv games and exercises help you to be present and in the moment- they teach you to be fully connected and present in your scene work, to stop over thinking things and just “be.” He and Donna also taught us the importance of really listening to your scene partner to be able to genuinely respond to them in an honest way.

Once the conservatory ended, I felt completely confident in knowing my character thoroughly enough to (in Donna’s wonderful words) “honor the characters life.” This is exactly what she teaches us to do through all three components of the intensive. I also came out with some of the best friends I could hope to have. Everyone became a family and it was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had. It has by far been one of the best investments into my career as an actor.

“Honor the characters life.” This has been a quote that I have absolutely lived by since I heard Donna say it, and perfectly describes what Donna’s classes teach you to do. Her attention to detail is something that has created an amazing difference in my work. She is like a miner who digs into every tiny dark corner and to the deepest parts of the darkest tunnels until every last diamond is found in the scene! She has been a great teacher and given me great tools to use in deepening my understanding of my character. Thank you Donna!

-ISABELLA HICKS

That Summer

 

Callie
“It is the teachings of Deb Aquila and John Hindman that I lead with my work, always. Because once you know this level of work, you cannot un-know it.

Starting out, I sampled a myriad of techniques, formulas and coaches from the vast plethora of acting classes offered in both Los Angeles and New York. At which point, I was working blindly, merely off instinct. And I was truly in search for something of substance, something which resonated and provided a structure I could learn from, change and grow with.

One class with Deb Aquila and it felt like home.

Her techniques provide a thorough structure in how, specifically, to approach the work. Her guidance is intricately insightful and honest. The studio, as a whole, is an actor’s safe haven, brimming with support. She, herself, is, perhaps the single greatest resource to actors here and now. Everything I have come to value in this work has stemmed from Deb Aquila, John Hindman and this studio.”

-CALLIE HERNANDEZ

Graves, Machete Kills, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series

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“I was incredibly impressed with and inspired by the class that I took that was team taught by Donna and John. They were insightful, incredibly clear, spoke to each actor’s strengths and experience, were never ever condescending and most of all managed to be kind but extremely specific and helpful. They created a safe yet professional atmosphere and didn’t hesitate to use stories and examples from their own lives and experience which gave me the sense that we are all in this together. I really looked forward to going to class each week and felt that I gained confidence, clarity and a feeling of community that is so helpful to life and work in this town. I am very grateful to them and would recommend the class very highly.”

-KATE FUGLEI

90210, Rachel Calof

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“I can say beyond any doubt that Donna’s audition technique class is the ultimate gateway between craft and booking the job. From day one she teaches you the proper way to approach and prepare for an audition, and expertly breaks down your on camera auditions in class, giving you both the critique you need to improve, and the confidence you need to go out and win over the casting room. Only Donna could do both so effectively. I have never felt more personal growth, nor seen more improvement from a class as a whole in such a short period of time than I did in Audition Technique. It’s why I keep coming back. Take Donna’s class. You will get better. You will book. End of story.”

-KEVIN CLOUGH

The Comedy Get Down, Dudes, Key & Peele

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“I’ve been studying with Donna for four years now, over these years I’ve been able to identify my limits as an actor and expand them. Her class will not only give actors tools to grow but will also teach actors about preparation and discipline. Anything I have learned in Donna’s class has been a great asset in my actor training both in theater and TV. I am deeply grateful for her involvement and mentorship.”

-DANIEL ZOLGHADRI

NCIS, Scorpion

 

Tiffany Milian Headshot
Donna Morong’s Teen Conservatory class has been one of the best classes I have taken. In two weeks you go through movement and voice, improv, scene study, audition techniques and at the end a wonderful performance to show what you have been working on. All of the instructors are fantastic and super fun, and you get to develop a friendship with a community of actors just like you. I would highly recommend this class because it was such a great experience that I will never forget.

-TIFFANY MILAN

Aaron Norvell Headshot
“Us actors have our various ways of studying technique. However, Deborah offers an approach to break down the scene in a masterful-way. I would recommend any serious actor to take her experience, approach, and guidance. BRAVO DEBORAH :)”

-AARON NORVELL

General Hospital

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“I’ve been in LA for 3 years now. I was blessed early in my transition with an incredible indie booking. Unexpected, not only allowed me to work opposite notable actress, Cobie Smulders, it also gave me the Hollywood nod I needed to gain attention of big time reps. Our film was selected for Sundance Film Festival and my performance received rave reviews from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, NY Mag and many more. THR stamped me as 1 of the the Next Generation 10 Breakout Actors from Sundance. So now I have this buzz and attention from casting directors. I booked Unexpected via self-tape, so I’d never actually been in a room with a major casting director. My manager/agents began getting me in the room on some really challenging projects. Every actors dream is to audition for a project of quality. At the end of that dream, we actually book the project. That wasn’t happening for me. My reps were receiving the same feedback, “she’s really good, but we’re going to go with someone else”, “she doesn’t seem as confident to carry the lead”, “she’s talented BUT….”, it was always something. I began to get in my head trying to create the perfect audition. Finally my manager said, “you’re talented, we all know that, we believe in you, maybe you should take an audition class. I’ve heard great things about Aquila Morong Studios, check them out.” According to my dad, “you should practice before you play”, so I took Doreen’s advice and went to audit Aquila Morong Studios. I researched classes the studio offered online and felt Audition Technique with Donna Morong and John Hindman was the perfect fit for me. From day 1, Donna and John challenged our audition process, clearing our mind of judgement and simply introducing us to our character at a party. I learned the simplicities that made my character, which in turn made me, a joy to watch. The nuances that made each word believable and interesting. Of course, there’s a list of audition techniques like reading the script, researching everyone involved(studio, director, writer, producer, etc), building the character, story, the room, but what was most helpful is not making it about the audition. They taught me to make it about me, the character/person, learning and adapting in an environment, because acting is just life happening to us; going after a need or being a force to aid someone else in going after their need. Donna and John told me to take the heaviness off of my audition, and put the pressure on the person opposite me. John used the example of when the camera is getting your closeup versus your scene partners close up. We tend to give our best performances when we’re off camera and just there to give reactions and provide timing for our scene partner during their shots. He said always be off camera even when you’re on, no pressure. One of my favorite things we practiced in class was focusing on growing every week in one way that didn’t pertain to acting. Each week we were to watch our audition, notice one thing we wanted to improve on and do it. Little by little each improvement made for a better audition as a whole. First it was my voice, I wanted to project because sometimes I’d allow my nerves to make me small in the audition room. This could be perceived as nervousness and a lack of confidence. Next was my eye contact, holding my mouth open and so on. Slowly one by one, each improvement that I focused on, which I thought had nothing to do with my audition, became the difference between just another good audition and owning the audition room. I am now more memorable and even booking. This experience was definitely one for the books and I plan to continue with Donna and John. To have someone who does this for a living sit with you and breakdown your audition and train you week after week, really gets the process in your body. It’s like muscle memory of how to relax, breathe and just live as the character, definitely a must take class.”

-GAIL BEAN

Unexpected

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“Donna cares deeply about the development of her students and her insights into the audition process are absolutely invaluable. Audition Technique can be a challenging class because both she and John Hindman understand the acting process so well and can speak to the deepest instincts necessary to build a character well, develop the scene and have a successful audition. The Audition Technique class in particular proved to be an invaluable tool in developing my confidence and technique when walking into an audition. After a long career in the theater Donna and John both have helped me to bridge the gap between theater and camera work. It has helped my acting work across the board and I feel confident that I can walk into any on camera audition and have the tools to give my best work and book the job!”

-JUAN RIVERA LEBRON

Great Lakes Theater, Geffen Playhoue, Pasadena Playhouse

Iman Karram Headshot
“The Script Analysis Infused Technique Intensive with Deborah Aquila allowed me, in just two days, to increase my ability to competently create a meaningful backstory that was both relevant to the life of the character and helped feed me emotionally, as an actor. For a serious actor who is looking to take their script analysis to the next level, I highly recommend this intensive.”

“I also highly recommend Donna Morong’s and John Hindman’s Audition Technique class to any serious actor who is looking to better their audition process, from how to develop a meaningful and effective backstory in an efficient amount of time to confronting your personal obstacles in the audition room. Throughout the 8 weeks class, Donna and John provide each student meaningful and invaluable feedback as well as help demystify the audition process.”

-IMAN KARRAM

 


“I was ‘class-shy’ when I first arrived in LA. I came from a classical training background in the UK and was wary of the many, many studios and workshops offered to actors in LA. It took me a little time to find it, but Aquila Morong Studio is the real thing – it truly offers the working actor an opportunity to continue to develop their craft and to improve. Because Donna, Deb, John and Pete are all excellent teachers as well as experienced professionals.

Their classes are really like going to the gym for the working actor – you are challenged yet nurtured by people who really do know what the are talking about. I know I am a better actor for working with them and the jobs I have booked in the last year seem to bear that out.”

-LUCY DAVENPORT

Alice in Wonderland, Gangs of New York, Gangster Squad

 

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“I remember walking to my car after the first class I took at the Aquila/Morong Studio thinking, “I am not smart enough to be an actor”. Deborah and John push and stretch students in all areas of life. We are challenged to know more, feel more, be more aware, be more specific, have bigger hearts, and to never settle. I leave every class stimulated by our discussions, by the direction, by the other students work. I leave every class striving to be better.

I am a different actor because of this studio. I am a different person.”

-TESSA FERRER

Grey’s Anatomy, Extant

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“You might as well call this class Morong Technique. Donna does a phenomenal job of creating a real live audition atmosphere. The tools and techniques you learn through this class will have you more then ready for when it’s time to shine in the real spotlight!”

-TJ CRISTINA

General Hospital


“Deborah Aquila and John Hindman teach because they love to. Their process working with actors is quite simply second to none that I’ve ever worked with. John and Deborah helped me to become more specific, more emotionally connected and more flexible in my choices as an actor. I’ve become twice the actor I was when I started working with them.”

-MARK HILDRETH

Resurrection, The Tudors, V

Gabriel Freilich Headshot“If I had to describe Deborah Aquila with one phrase, it would be ‘force of nature.’ I had the biggest performance breakthrough I can remember in Deb’s Script Analysis Infused Technique Intensive. Deb talks about connecting the head and the heart, and it is exactly the way her head and heart are so connected that enabled me to begin to unlock that connection.If you want to stretch your craft or yourself as a human being, I cannot recommend any of Deborah Aquila’s classes enough.”

-GABRIEL FREILICH

Filthy Preppy Teen$, Dark Shadows

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“I recently moved to Los Angeles from New York City to pursue a career in film/television acting. I have a lot of training in the theatre and wanted some more techniques for transferring those skills to camera work. So I came to the Aquila Morong Studio. The first day of Audition Technique with Donna Morong and John Hindman I walked away in tears and knew that I had come across something very special. These tears were not sadness or despair or even happiness, but they were an expression of what it felt like to be confronted with the truth. Donna and John are not only incredibly knowledgable and experienced but they have a rare and amazing ability to reach into an actor and shine a light on the best part of them…their truth. They identify walls and blocks that are keeping these best parts in the dark and they provide tools to encourage, entice and invite the beautiful truths of each actor to rise to the surface. I can’t thank them enough for cracking me open and instilling in me a very real way to serve characters and stories with authenticity and pride. I can’t wait to work with them again.”

-LAURA CAMPBELL

Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent

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“My name is Tatanka Means I am Oglala Lakota, Dine’ and Omaha from Chinle AZ on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation. I am a second generation actor and have been in the business of acting for over ten years. Over the summer after completing the Audition Technique class with Donna and John I booked a 6 Episode reoccurring guest star role on the new AMC series, The Son. I had multiple meetings w the director, producers and show runners. I felt very confident going in for the callback because of our class discussions and audition technique exercises. Thank you Donna and John for your honest class conversations and professional audition advice. I appreciate your approach and realness for actual circumstances. I learned a lot and go back through my notes from class often. I look forward to returning and continuing classes. Wopila (thank you).”

-TATANKA MEANS

The Son, Saints & Sinners, Tiger Eyes

Marie Moute // WELCOME TO NEW YORK, LA VIE DEVANT NOUS

“Whenever I’m not on a set I like to train. Acting is like being a musician or an athlete. You need to train regularly. Here in Los Angeles, I go to the Aquila Morong studio to work with Deborah Aquila and Donna Morong. They are amazing, with a tons of experience and they’re both also very beautiful human beings.”

-MARIE MOUTE

Welcome to New York, La Vie Devant Nous

 

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“Donna and Will’s class has transformed the way I approach my auditions and view the audition process as a whole.  Receiving honest feedback from seasoned professionals who actually understand what goes on ‘in the room,’ has given me confidence and understanding that other acting teachers have never been able to provide because they are not regularly a part of the audition process.  Realizing there is no ‘magic formula,’ and that it all boils down to preparing for the audition in the same way you would a job you’ve already booked has eliminated stress and anxiety.  I highly recommend this class – as well as the other classes at the studio – to any actor who is serious about taking his career to the next level.”

-BRENDAN ROBINSON

Pretty Little Liars, Weeds

 

Alicia Ivanhoe Headshot“Deb teaches her students how to shift their perspective and think from their character’s point of view. In just two days you learn how to analyze a scene and work truthfully through the backstory you’ve created.”

-ALICIA IVANHOE

The Day I Almost Died, Jackson Bolt

 

Anton Narinskiy
“Donna, Professional Scene Study has helped so much with being on set and interacting with directors in a work environment. I’ve been through the gamut of acting classes and none have provided such a seamless integration between the fundamentals of acting from an artistic and a theatrical perspective and the business side of working on set and collaborating with a director. I love your approach as well since I come from a Meisner background. You’re awesome. I look forward to continued growth and learning!”

 

-ANTON NARINSKIY

Awkward, Mysteries of Laura, Pitch Perfect 2

 

Guy Nardulli - Headshot 2013
“Working with Deb and John has been amazing. Two of the best coaches I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. They challenge you to be your best and they succeed in pulling the best out of you! I couldn’t recommend a better place to hone your craft. A safe place to explore the work!”

-GUY NARDULLI

The Last Ship, Criminal Minds, Castle

Elise Silver HeadshotI couldn’t recommend the Script Analysis Infused Technique Weekend Intensive enough…to those with tons of experience as well as to those just starting out.”

-ELISE SILVER

Little Horribles

 

Brett Wyman Headshot 2014
“I enrolled in the Aquila Morong Audition Intensive course because I battled crippling audition anxiety that was withholding me from taking the next step forward in my career. One of the first pieces of advice Deb shared with us was that nerves disappear when you study for the test properly. Holy smokes, was she right. Deb and Donna will teach you how to open your mind up to an audition scene (or acting piece as Deb affectionately calls them) in ways you’ve never thought of before. You will learn how to create rich characters that make deep, specific choices that will exalt you as a storyteller. They teach you how to be a collaborator and to respect yourself as an artist. You will discover the freedom of truth, which empowers you to give. It’s been four months since I’ve taken the course. Since then I have booked a major supporting role in a feature film and two pilots including Marc Forster directed, Hand Of God. Come ready to work and you will flourish.”

 

-BRETT WYMAN

Dumb and Dumber To, The Assault, Hand of God, Good Kids

 

Daniel Di Venere
“Donna Morong’s acting for teens class is amazing! Every time I entered class I learned something new from Donna. She teaches you stage and film technique and how to be true to your character. The knowledge and skills I learned were far beyond any other course I have taken, and I had a blast!

This class with Donna has elevated my auditioning skills in the room, thanks Donna!

-DANIEL DI VENERE

19-2, House of Versace, Being Human

 

Kayla Di Venere
“Donna Morong’s class was a truly aspirational course. Donna has taught me how to grow, thrive and flourish as an actor, and in a fun, motivating environment! My brother Daniel and I highly recommend Donna and Aquila Morong studios to anyone who want to take their acting to the next level! Thanks Donna for all the knowledge you have shared!!!

-KAYLA DI VENERE

Patch Town, Helix

 

Alan
“Before taking classes with Deborah Aquila and her partner John Hindman, I had worked with several other teachers in Hollywood. I always left feeling, if not confused and in my head, then at the very least that it was a waste of time and money. In fact, I told this to Deborah when we met. She smiled, and assured me she could help me reach a level of understanding in my acting to where I wouldn’t recognize my current work. She underestimated her positive change in my understanding of the art of acting. She since has become more than just a great teacher to me, but a mentor and a friend. Deborah will never mess with your instincts, my greatest fear as a student, rather she enhances them and teaches you what the work of acting entails and how to reach deeper than you ever thought possible. I look forward to Deb and John being a part of every performance I ever have the privilege to bring to life.”

-ALAN RITCHSON

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hunger Games, Smallville, Blue Mountain State

 

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“Donna, I cannot tell you how many people I’ve recommended your class to. My only regret is not taking it sooner. The class structure was everything I was looking for; the honesty, clear critique, repeated exposure, and focused script analysis. After completing your class I booked my first Broadway show called MACHINAL. Thank you for giving me a concise set of tools to take on any kind of audition. Your class has allowed me the confidence to go into audition rooms and just do my job.”

-ASHLEY BELL

Walking Dead, The Last Exorcism I and II, Machinal, United States of Tara

Justin Berkobien Headshot 2013
“Master Scene Study with Deb and John is, without question, the most legitimate actor training I’ve received as a professional. I leave class feeling revived, inspired, and confident. I’m also confronted with the not-so-common thought that “Oh shoot, I’d better bring my A-game because everyone else here sure is.

To be certain, some of LA’s best acting on a stage can be found inside the intimate Aquila Morong Studio.  But there is something that happens from time to time that is even better than excellence: when John casually says something more honest than anything you’ve heard in a long time; when Deb manages to link the whole of the real world to a few key moments shared between fictitious characters; when you think you’ve squeezed every good choice out of a scene but you dig deeper anyway and come up with something that, for a moment, makes the part of acting that is postcards and appointments and hand-cut résumés just disappear in the knowledge that you refused to make excuses, did the work, and earned the right to call yourself an artist.”

 -JUSTIN BERKOBIEN

The Line

Andie Ximenes HeadshotAfter taking the Script Analysis Infused Technique Weekend Intensive, I came away with a renewed spirit as an artist and genuine human being.”

-ANDIE XIMENES

Necessary Measures, Those Guys

 

Laila Haughey Headshot
“I had the pleasure and great fortune to take the Aquila Morong teen Conservatory class this summer. Donna and her crew were phenomenal! They helped me to grow in my craft and made me feel very comfortable. I learned to be more present in my scenes and more thoughtful with my character. I highly recommend this workshop to any actor who wants to grow in great proportions with their acting knowledge and ability. I hope to be invited every summer!

Thank you to Donna and Crew! I really appreciate you!”

-LAILA HAUGHEY

My Best Friend

 

Jessica Pollert Smith Headshot 2013
“I learnt so much from the Professional Scene Study class – Donna has a wealth of acting and industry knowledge, which she shares freely with all of her students and she is so great at giving specific advice to each actor. I also got to meet and work with numerous film and TV directors, who all had their own unique insights. I got up in front of the camera every other week, which was invaluable practice and I got to work on a number of different characters/scripts. I’m hugely grateful for this very enriching class.”

-JESSICA POLLERT SMITH

Arachnopilia

 

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“My studies at the Aquila Morong Studio have made me a completely different actor and person. The studio gave me the tools and techniques necessary to pursue my career with confidence. I have booked two plays this year: one with Coeurage Theatre Company and another with Sacred Fools, both renowned and respected theatre companies in LA. Both shows were well received and my performances were well reviewed. I am now a more enlightened actor and feel better in auditions and performances because the studio helped me gain confidence in my preparation.

At Aquila Morong, the instructors hold their students to a level higher than that of any class I have taken. They encourage you to be a better, more informed person, in your life as well as your craft. When I came to LA, I was timid. Now, I feel like I can meet the standards expected by producers and casting directors in this industry. I didn’t believe in myself as an actor until Aquila Morong taught me how. I would recommend this studio to anyone who is very serious about their career.”

-ERIN SANZO

The Jogger

 


“Having trained for three years at LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) and working with various vocal teachers I know the importance of working with a good voice coach. Pete Cross is simply the best. Super specific with sounds and what the voice, mouth and tongue are doing he can very easily hear and see where you are going wrong and has the skill to adjust you, always giving clear, constructive notes that you can confidently go away and work on.  His attention to vocal placement and the connection of voice and body all contribute to making the actor’s voice authentic and truthful.  His constant positivity, commitment and humor all make the work a fun challenge as opposed to a stressful problem. Since working with Pete I feel more confident and free in any American dialect and the rewards are in the work, having now played American in ‘World War Z’, Showtimes’ ‘Episodes’ and more recently in SyFy’s new series ‘Dominion’. None of this would have been achieved without Mr. Pete Cross.”

 

-JONATHAN HOWARD

Dominion, Episodes, Thor: Dark World

Scott Campbell
“I remember auditioning for Deborah when I applied to the studio. I got the impression immediately that I would be challenged. Pushed. Nurtured. Taken out of my comfort zone; but still taken care of. Studying with her and John is among the most rewarding experiences I’ve had honing my work. Even though my head spun initially, all that was required of me to study there was the desire to grow – and subsequently, the willingness to put in the work – whatever my previous experiences with acting and studying acting were. What I ended up receiving was an unapologetic confidence in the work I do, and an education that one simply can’t find from most top tier colleges and universities. John, FULL of pearls of wisdom, once said in class: “In order for me to forget that I’m watching a play, you have to forget that you’re acting.” Deborah and John equip you with everything you need in order to forget.”

-SCOTT CAMPBELL

Beautiful (Broadway)

 


“I can’t wait to come back to class, I’ve taken so many classes in this town and the teacher’s I’ve had at Aquila Morong have given me more confidence in my preparation and knowledge of the material than every other class I’ve taken combined. It’s reinvigorated me knowing how much I still have to learn and how much work I must always do. I’m so excited by the feeling that you all have so much to teach me! Thank you John, Deborah, and Donna!”

 

-JENNIFER HOLLAND

Perception, American Horror Story, American Pie Presents: The Book of Love

 


“If you’re serious about acting and advancing your career, there isn’t a better place to study acting in Los Angeles.  The Technique provides a proven approach and process that will deepen your work and give you the confidence to make strong choices as an actor.  After studying with Deb and John I can assure you that the next time you step on a stage or walk on set you will have the tools and confidence to perform with the best in the business.”

 

-NICK WARNOCK

Twisted

 


“My time has been brief with the studio and already I feel like I’ve grown as an artist. I’m making smarter choices with my backstories and incorporating the time and history into each.  Pilot season has been exciting now that I’m with new management and agency. I’m working extra hard and incorporating much of what I learned in my Scene Study class. I’m definitely going to continue my studies at Aquila Morong studios.”

 

-MIRELLY TAYLOR

Hot Bath An’ A Stiff Drink 1 and 2


“I highly recommend the courses I’ve taken at the studio and can only assume the rest are held to the same high standard. Not only do the teachers give us an immense feast of homework to mull over and attempt in rehearsals, but they expertly guide the performances in class to allow for the fullest portrayals and breakthroughs to happen. There is always the helpful reminder that it is all about the character, their inner life, back history, and the larger concept that the playwright is saying with the play… Allaying any personal pressure on the actor about being “good enough”, blah blah, and refocusing it onto the work. I have the studio to thank for much of my recent success, and am looking forward to reenrolling once there is space!”

-MERCER BOFFEY

NCIS: Los Angeles, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Knife Party at Niko’s, Rake

 

“I feel very lucky to have found the Aquila/Morong studio and even more fortunate to have been in Deb & John’s Master Scene Study class.  After working on a lot of TV scripts – a great deal of them not very well written – it was a breath of fresh air and revitalization to work on the depth of plays again with the ever-knowledgeable, inspiring, passionate, deep-feeling, funny, challenging, supportive Deb Aquila and John Hindman.  They continually challenged me to go further and dig deeper than I normally would go and after each 6 week session, my work showed for it.  Even when not in the class, I remember them often as they have rebooted my passion and work ethic for the good.  Thank you for everything Deb & John.”

 

– CHASE FEIN

Dark Prophet, Suburgatory

 

“If you do the work (and really do the work), then you won’t have to live in an anxiety-ridden, result-focused place. What freedom for an actor!  If you know HOW to do the work, then you’ve probably studied with Deborah and John.  They lovingly and patiently crack open a process that my first 15 years of acting never even uncovered! What they share, from their heart, is revelatory for the storyteller. You will never be the same again.”

 

-SARA RAE FOSTER

Masters of Sex

 

Adil Lavji Headshot“Deb’s Intensive has been life-changing to say the least. It’s like getting the keys to the kingdom. This class teaches you to be a bloodhound for sniffing out the realities of your characters in the given circumstances of the work and forges the trail to the fire that burns brightly within your own soul.”

-ADIL LAVJI

Tie the Knot

 

test2“I have had a blast in Donna’s class! I know I’m just nipping at the tip of the iceberg of Meisner, but it’s been an eye-opening experience. Not only has it made me a stronger actor going forward, but I have effectively been able to examine past performances and pin-point the moments where I was “on” and where I was just acting. It’s been a phenomenal evaluation tool. In addition to loving every second of class and learning a ton while watching, I have really had some nice break-throughs.

A huge “thank you” to Donna for running the type of no B.S., informative class I was looking for. It truly was my honor to sponge what I could in a too-short time.”

– JOEL BRYANT

Welcome to Sandition

“I’ve been acting for 14 years.  I needed an actor workout that Aquila Morong Studios offered.  Having a casting director and a director in the classroom gave such a strong degree of helpful criticism and encouragement from all sides of the audition and casting process.  During the series of classes I took, I booked a recurring role on an NBC show and tested for a series regular for another network.

I know that Aquila Morong Studios gave me that confidence I needed to go into a room and just do my work well.  I highly recommend this studio to all my actor friends and I’ll probably be back when I need another workout!!  The never-ending joy of being an actor!”

-KELLY PENDYGRAFT

Elizabethtown, Infection: The Invasion Begins

“Coming to the studio after years of substitution-based work was like finding water in a desert! I was unfulfilled and disappointed in my old routine and desperately in need of something different. Deb’s Script Analysis class introduced me to the limitless creative opportunities of Stella Adler’s process. I can never go back to anything else! Deborah and John’s Master Scene Study class has challenged and invigorated my passion for telling interesting, layered stories. Deborah has taught me to respect and care deeply for the characters I explore. Through this work I have learned just how necessary our jobs are as artists in communicating to and inspiring the world around us. I am so thankful to have found this studio!”

– AIMEE CARRERO

Young and Hungry, The Americans

“Taking class with Deborah Aquila & John Hindman is like standing on the very edge of a cliff; they will ask you to jump, to take a risk and at the same time know that they will be there to catch you.Their collaborative approach to Master Scene Study is by far the best I’ve seen and experienced in Los Angeles. There is a continuous learning curve, a network of support and they challenge each student to look further and deeper into their work. I recommend this class and the studio to those who wish to grow and strengthen their craft.”

– PRESCILIANA ESPAROLINI

Ray Donovan, Stalker

“Donna Morong is the most specific, thorough and passionate teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure to learn from. Donna gives you the freedom to make your own approach and take risks while never letting a general moment pass. Very rarely have I seen a teacher who has the knowledge and experience of being a top level coach, as well as a top level casting director.”

– JARED WARD

Homeland, Hit the Floor

Joe Holt Headshot 2014“I can’t recommend Deb Aquila and John Hindman strongly enough. They have created and cultivated an environment that is safe, challenging, and encouraging for an actor to search and explore his/her best work. It’s not a result-oriented curriculum, but rather a place to learn in the truest sense. Deb and John are insightful, intelligent, passionate, and demanding in the best way for a professional actor. If you want to get better at what you do, grab a seat.”

– JOE HOLT

Franklin and Bash, Scandal

Andie Somers high res headshot“The Summer Teen Conservatory program taught a variety of skills, from improv to scene study, in a way which we would both learn and have fun! It allowed for me, personally, to explore new barriers within my craft, as well as expand it, that I would not have thought to do so otherwise. The teachers are all great at what they particularly teach and truly help you grow. It’s a truly great experience!”

– ANDIE SOMERS

Daddy’s Home, Pepe & Santo vs. America

“John Hindman is an incredibly inspiring teacher. He is not only insightful and talented, but also informative and entertaining. I would definitely recommend his writing workshop to anyone working in the film industry or anyone interested in the construct of film.”

– LAUREN MARCUS

Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death, and Women

 

“There’s nothing better than committed collaboration in the process of in-depth scene study to allow for life in the characters to be uncovered, and magic in the writing to be discovered. Studying at the Aquila Morong Studio with Deborah and John offers a focused playground to facilitate meticulous scene deconstruction and enriching character development; requisite, fundamental and invaluable tools for a working actor.” (Photo credit Sarah Orbanic 2014).

-SEBASTIAN SIEGEL

The Family That Preys, Secret Agent, Lost

 

“Since being in LA for a few years I’ve taken classes with many different acting coaches. Donna Morong is by far the best. She helped me understand and feel the characters actions and emotions. She’s taught me to let go, and go there. It’s such an awesome and rewarding feeling to get to that level. Donna is truly the most amazing, caring and passionate person who cares about her students. She took me to the next level of acting. Shortly after enrolling in her class I booked “American Mustang 3D” with Alison Eastwood. I have so many good things to say about Donna. When I first came to LA I was told you have to keep looking until you find the right coach that’s a good fit. I have found that with Donna and will continue taking her classes.  I’m excited and looking forward to the next one…”

-JULIA PUTNAM

House of Yes, The Butterfly Room

 

“I have worked with many accent reduction specialists, Pete Cross was by far the best. He was patient and dedicated and immediately identified the sounds and patterns that contributed to my accent. The practice assignments he gave me were fun and easy. My friends and coworkers noticed a significant difference in my speech after only three sessions.”

-S.K.

 

 “I have been coaching & taking classes with Donna Morong for several years now. I have studied with Donna in several teen classes she has had over the years. Her classes are small and catered specifically for each age group. Donna teaches everything from voice control to movement in character study. I love her classes because Donna Morong Studios actually has a stage setting. It makes me feel like I am able to truly capture the moment, and I am able to take my character places I could not normally go. I don’t mean this in movement, but in giving thought to creating the personality of the character, too.

 

What I like most about Donna’s classes is that she meets you where you are. If you are new to the business, or if if have been an actress for a while she helps you to discover, and re discover your passion. My brothers were baseball players, and I watched them hit several home runs. I also witnessed the time they put into practice. Acting is not a sport, but when an actress dedicates the passion, and time into developing a character the rewards are priceless. Donna’s classes helps actors meet their goals in both preparation, and success. I booked a professional play “Different Words For the Same Thing” at Center Theatre Group, “I Didn’t Do It” on Disney, and a Drama role on Major Crimes.

Donna truly cares about her students. She is a mentor and coach who I value and respect!”

-SAVANNAH LATHEM

Gamers Guide,Guidance, Different Words for the Same Thing, I Didn’t Do That, Major Crimes, California Solo, Lost

“Having taken many Meisner classes before and never really being able to connect, I found Donna’s teaching to be both refreshing and encouraging.

Always willing to answer questions outside of class, and always a gentle, but with a tough hand to lead you through the exercises during class.

My imagination has unfolded in ways I did not expect and I am infinitely more aware of the emotions that I give and receive. Donna is the definition of Mentor and I know I will continue to learn and grow from her for years to come.”

-ANGELA RACHELLE

Time Again, The Kiss

 

“Deborah, I loved working with you. For everyone, there are those moments when you have great days with someone you wouldn’t expect to. You go back to your life, and until then…you really know it’s made an impression on you. You have given me that gift and I meant it when I said you’ve changed my life.

 

You have revealed to me that the real work is examining who we really are. As actors in this world, how do we become more conscious of what we are creating and expressing? This deeper experience informed me in knowing why I love acting so much. You reminded me to always value the integrity of the work and to keep my own standards high in doing it. At times it can be excruciating–and just like you said, it can also be exhilarating, especially through this process. I did get a lot back from it. Thank you.

To then interchange the work with someone who loves it can double the fun. Your shining light has conceded me permission to do the same. It has inspired me not to dim myself. It’s people like you who make a difference in this world!

I am so happy to have had the privilege to be around such an amazing and motivated, smart and creative woman. I know I can’t be the only one who tells you that, Deborah. And to be quite honest, I don’t want to share you! Ha… you are that special.”

-MAVIS HILLIN

Shadow Love

 

“I have experienced all different types of acting classes and I needed a fresh new method of training. Donna Morong and John Hindman’s Audition Technique class was exactly the type of training I was in search of. It helped build my confidence in the audition room, as well as improve even the smallest tendencies I had on screen. Working with and learning from someone so credible in the casting industry definitely helped me as an actor and as an auditioned.”

-CASEY RYAN

Casper: A Spirited Beginning

“I’ve been acting for a couple years now seriously, but Donna’s classes are so extraordinarily different than any other classes I’ve taken in LA. Not only can you tell that she really cares about each actor and their work individually, but she also makes sure that the class grows together and totally keeps things fresh. I’ve taken three sessions of Donna’s class now, and each session has been completely different from the last. She switches things up, teaching Meisner technique one week complete with yoga, improv the next, and on camera after that. I feel like coming to the Aquila Morong Studio has really helped me grow as a young actress and I feel like the caliber of students in my classes has always been super high. Amazing experience. I absolutely love Aquila Morong and I love Donna!!”

-ARIELLE SITRICK

Hello Herman

 

“As actor’s we portray the lives of others so we need to pay attention to the world around us, observe and learn how to open our eyes to see what makes people tick.

With Deborah I learned how to create my character’s world and open my character’s eyes (see through their eyes).

You will not only learn how to analyze a script and figure out what the writers intend is, but you will also learn how to connect all of it in the end and make it click for you!

As we are all unique and connect on different levels, it was great to see Deborah’s love and passion for actors and devote as much time as needed with each single actor in her class until it clicked for them. I witnessed actors that have had a harder time connecting emotionally find their connection with Deborah. Deborah is a beautiful thing and I am an actress with freedom ready to take risks. Grateful!!”

-CLAUDIA GRAF

Like You Mean It, Dirty People

“I feel so lucky to have found Aquila Morong Studio’s Pre-College Conservatory summer intensive class.  I traveled from Florida to attend this program, and it was beyond worth it!  The insight that the instructors have into voice, movement, improv and scene study, is unique and inspiring.  We even got to study a bit of Shakespeare–my personal favorite!  I was able to apply everything I learned at Aquila Morong to my acting back home.  I gained confidence and a new appreciation for how speech and movement play a part in character development.  I really hope to return to the Conservatory intensive again next summer!”

-SINCLAIRE SCHAEFER

See

 


“I have been part of the Aquila Morong Studio for about a year now, and not only has it changed me as an actor, but as a human being. They teach you how to work on a deeper level and bring multi-layered elements into your craft. Hand picked students help to create a safe, inspiring studio where you are not afraid to show your vulnerability in order to grow to be a better actor.We work hard and play hard as a studio…. And I always walk away having learned something new.”

-CANDICE COKE

The Game, Days of Our Lives

Fiona Green Headshot
“I have taken Donna’s intensive summer class several times. Each time I go in, I come out as an exponentially better actor then when I went in. This class is hardworking, intense, and extremely fun. You are constantly challenged and it never gets old. In Donna’s class, it is simply impossible to hide in the background. You are forced out of your comfort zone, but in the end you are always grateful for it because that is the only way that you can truly grow as an actor. You won’t find anything quite like this amazing experience. From improv to movement to working on auditions to working on our scenes, I loved every bit of Donna’s class.”

-FIONA GREEN

“If you are an actor in Los Angeles, you know that there are endless options when it comes to choosing a class for you to “workout” every week. When I came to John and Deb’s class, I found something that was both satisfying and profound. There was incredible depth to their teaching: they challenged me to go deeper; to ask why until I had the answer to every why. They challenged me to push myself to try new things I wasn’t sure I was capable of doing. And the work ethic that they require of their students has cultivated a studio that truly has the best actors I have ever worked it. To be a part of this kind of community and to have that kind of well thought out direction and guidance from two individuals who truly care about actors, is exactly what I had been looking for and what I believe you will find here.”

-STEFANIE BUTLER

I Remember You, Car Dogs

 

“The teen class has done wonders for me. The breathing/yoga techniques I learned have helped me to calm my mind, which usually goes in a billion directions. I’ve found that by doing the exercises, I am much more focused for my auditions and working on set.”

-AUSTIN J. WOLFF

A Better Place

 

 

“The Summer Conservatory for Teens really helped me discover who I want to be as an actor. Not only did I learn how a script works, but how to use it to strengthen a scene. I took the class for two weeks, and we filmed a short monologue at the end of the week, and seeing the second tape showed me how much I had improved in just such a short amount of time. I met so many amazing people who have inspired me, and had so much fun. Before taking the class, I had experience in theatre, however after taking both the audition class and acting-for-the-camera classes, I’ve been able to get roles in feature films, and discovered that I absolutely love it. I would definitely take the class again, I made so much progress and I can’t thank Donna enough for helping me!”

-MAYA BRATTKUS

Wild Prairie Rose

image“I have to say that after spending time in class with both Deborah and Donna I feel like I discovered a giant hidden cavern filled with mazes and pools that I can explore and from which I can pull so much more depth and specificity in to everything I am doing.  That in and of itself I would call a huge success.  Deborah and Donna really made me want to “step up” my game and challenged me to always strive to be the best. I’m grateful for having met them both and look forward to growing more with them in the coming years.”

-DAVED WILKINS

Kissing Speilberg, Doritos Crash the Superbowl winner

IMG_1120absml“Donna has helped me mentally and physically get into each character I take on. To be honest, I thought I knew everything when I started with her. I quickly realized I had only scratched the surface of my knowledge of acting when I began studying with Donna. She takes me in-depth into a scene and has given me great advise as to breaking down the different components of a scene. Her breathing exercises have also really helped me relax before auditions. She’s taught me so much in her classes and inspires me to achieve my goals, no matter how unattainable they seem.”

-JOEY LUTHMAN

The Goldbergs, Modern Family, General Hospital, Battle Creek

Lance Valentine Butler Headshot
I attended the Aquila Morong Teen Camp in 2016 and the result was a tour de force! We watched in awe as Lance performed like never before. The instructors managed to tap deep into his talent and bring the absolute best out in him. I recommend the Aquila Morong Acting Studio with great enthusiasm!

-LANCE VALENTINE BUTLER

 

“The Professional Scene Study class is for professionals, it targets real world skill and experience and is ideally suited for the working actor.”

 

JON KUYPER

Production Executive, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay