The Actor's Refuge
Brian Hill takes you directly into the heart of the creative process. He builds an environment that pushes imagination and fun with a series of exercises that you follow every time you look at sides, scripts, or plays.
He engages in conversations that inspire, that remind us why we began the pursuit of art, acting or otherwise. Brian introduces, or re-introduces, classic works with their complexity and depth, and ties them into the preparation of TV and film, so you are handling every piece of text with the same world-building, substantial, and unrestricted perspective. We begin the process of self direction which enables us, as actors, to come fully prepared to every job; the audition, the stage, and the set.
It is difficult to try to explain to someone what The Actor’s Refuge is. It is not simply a scene study, on-camera or audition technique class. It is something entirely different, which is what I found so refreshing.
I’ve taken a lot of different classes over the years and found my lane in the Adler technique and do regularly take a great Adler based scene study class, but this class was the open dialogue that I needed. In this class, I felt like I truly had the ability to ask difficult questions, get over the concern of the judgement of my choices, voice uncertainties about my own process, and feel the freedom to experiment it without worrying about how it turned out, which allowed me to discover new ways of approaching a character and the way I audition.
The Actor’s Refuge is truly a gym for an actor with its liberating class format and atmosphere, which helps refresh one’s perspective and compliments each actor’s unique process.
The Actors Refuge could not have come at a better time in my acting journey. I was between studying at the time and, although, I was unsure what I was looking for, I knew I wasn’t finding it amongst the usual fare of acting studios. Brian Hill has created a collaborative and safe space for actors to explore their creativity in a focused and applicable way.
The class investigates the technical as well as theoretical behind the art of acting in the present landscape. By working on camera and watching your work every week, you gain invaluable insight into what’s working and what‘s not. Like an actors gym, the class allowed me to strengthen my confidence in working from a place of process as opposed to a place of results. It’s important to note that Brian is a no-bullshit teacher. He’s not your guru, psychiatrist, or parent. Instead, he’s is a bold, impassioned, and egoless artistic collaborator who shares his vision, while encouraging you to express yours. Brian is genuinely invested in your growth as an artist.
Also, Brian’s funny as hell! His humor and sense of play provides a constant reminder of why we go into this business of storytelling in the first place. Going to class became a joyous and freeing time to create, fail, then create again. The Actor Refuge helped me get back on my artistic track and has given me the tools to further explore my storytelling and career.
I'm so grateful I got to be a part of The Actor's Refuge. The industry will play mind games with you if you let it, and Brian's class really helps clear the crap so you can focus on what matters — your art!
The idea of coaching always bothered me because it puts someone else's voice in your head, so I signed up for Brian's class, because the goal was to ultimately be able to direct yourself.
To start, it was so helpful to talk candidly about acting and the industry every week. The exercises covered a pretty broad range of material and were all challenging in different ways, so I got a good sense of what I needed to work on to make my auditions stronger. Knowing my goal was to get my preparation to a point where I don't worry about how it's going to go helped me approach it with new confidence, and the practice shows.
I love Brian's emphasis on character and self-direction, because it really lets you own your auditions, which is super empowering.
I learned a lot about acting in Brian's class but more about being a human in the room with something to say. His teaching style is brash, unorthodox and above all, honest. He believes so strongly in the craft of acting that you can't turn away.
I also appreciate his candid insight into our profession which is often unflinching.
After years of taking numerous classes, I was looking for something new. Something that challenged my current methods, beliefs, and fears. I didn’t want to be told my scene was good and move on.
Brian is unlike any of the other teacher’s I’ve studied with. He’s honest, passionate, and ready for anything. He’s the first to admit if he doesn’t know the answer, never bullshitting that he does, and is always willing to delve into the water with you to figure it out.
This is a journey for all involved. It’s not for everyone. You have to be ready to roll with the punches and put in the work. This isn’t an audition technique class. He’s not there to help you “book the room” or job. He and your classmates are there to help you discover, explore, and get rid of old habits and beliefs about the craft and business.
Your work doesn’t stop when the class is over though. It’s just the beginning of taking back your power as an actor. I couldn’t recommend this class more.
The Actor’s Refuge is different. And by different I mean better. I tried so many different classes in Los Angeles, where I found teachers catering to people who were there to be seen or people who just wanted to be famous. The Actor’s Refuge is different – it’s about acting. It isn’t about flashy gimmicks, about how to figure out what the CD wants or how to network your way into a room. It’s about character and the text and practice and hard work.
And the name was chosen well – it was a relief to be there after some of the other classes I took – for so many reasons. I was working on the work of acting. I was free to question and discover in a positive environment, with an experienced, working casting director. But one who has deep roots in the theater – which means he has had decades to really think about both film auditioning and theater.
Another one of the wonderful things about it is its length and limited class size. Week after week you get to do the work and practice the types of auditions that we get – lawyers, medical examiners, etc. Every week – you aren’t skipped over for a week because there’s thirty people in the class.
If that frightens you or sounds like too much work then this class is not for you. But if that makes you think, “yes! I want that” then you will come out the other side feeling accomplished and satisfied that you put in quality work that moved you forward in your abilities and confidence in the room.
The Actor's Refuge really came at the perfect time for me. I was looking for a class that was really focused on the work and finding joy in the craft, and not so much the "ready to hustle and book?! Take this class and you will" mindset. (There's nothing wrong with those if that brings you peace of mind, just wasn't what I was looking for personally)! Anyway, back to The Actor's Refuge: Brian is an excellent teacher. It was so much fun getting to work on all sorts of material and explore it from as many angles as possible.
His approach has definitely changed the way I look at scripts and has helped me expand my imagination to all the possibilities that exist within a scene. I've found that taking the class has really helped push me to take more risks with my work, without the fear of "doing it wrong." Something Brian said in class stuck with me: "the character written on the page deserves the dignity and respect of your work." If that idea sounds like something you want to delve into, definitely take this class!
Brian's approach to The Actor's Refuge is a breath of fresh air; stark and honest -- never sugar coated and always in healthy doses.
An essential tool for your acting tool kit
The class was truly a great experience. I have an extensive theatre background and went through an adjustment period when it came to translating my skills for TV/Film.
One of the things that bothered me about many coaches and classes in LA is that they mostly teach you to "be yourself" for every audition, but never really appreciated the power of creating a character despite all the nuances of the different roles you are given. What Brian talks a lot about is specificity. He has a very simple and honest strategy to help an actor remain true to a character while still exposing what you alone can bring to the table.
It was so encouraging to hear from a professional in the industry that creativity and the art of acting is still of value. Forgive the cheesiness, but the class helped bring back the joy I had in acting.
I would recommend jumping in with all your dedication and be prepared to challenge yourself. He provides an open environment for feedback and always welcomes questions. Overall, if you are looking for a down-to-earth class and believe in the value of making every role feel alive, I don't think you will regret being a part of Brian's course.
Actor’s Refuge was a a forum for me to workout my own acting beliefs. If you want someone to tell you what to do, Brian is not your guy.
If you want someone to give some scaffolding and support you as you discover for yourself, check out Actor’s Refuge.
When I found The Actor’s Refuge, I was in a draining cycle of acting with a specific outcome in mind (read: booking), which led to me playing it safe in auditions, depriving myself of the joy acting can bring, and just feeling generally burnt out.
The Actor’s Refuge was a breath of fresh air—an opportunity to clear away all of the noise, to bring myself back to the fundamentals, and find new ways to go deeper with my work, even within the confines of an audition room and 2-3 pages of sides.
Brian brings his insights into the business and the realities of actor life with his love and excitement for the craft of acting to create a safe space to play and fail and get better.
If you’re looking for secrets, tips, or tricks to booking more jobs, there are classes out there that are probably a better fit.
However, if you want to come home to your technique, create more nuanced, better-developed characters, and find joy in acting again, I highly recommend The Actor’s Refuge!
If you are looking to establish a new relationship with your approach to auditioning, this might just be the perfect course for you. So many auditioning actors find themselves locked in a familiar pattern: constructing performances in pursuit of what casting want—placing a premium on correctness over inspiration—performances that leave us feeling unsatisfied and not in control of our work.
The Actor’s Refuge will reconnect you with what made acting enjoyable in the first place. It is an opportunity to give your auditioning muscularity an overhaul.
You’ll be working alongside actors representing a range of experience, and exploring a comprehensive scope of material, from stage plays to cold reads and procedurals. You will learn where to relinquish control and where the process is entirely yours.
Brian’s expertise relies on years of experience both in casting and as a performer. He has created a unique atmosphere where you feel you are among the company of artists, not competitors. You‘ll soon discover the environment lends itself to close examination of what your way into a role is, as concerns of right and wrong dissipate. This is most of all a workshop in how to source a character from a place of authentic curiosity and joy. You will leave with a newfound appreciation for what made acting your passion in the first place.
I have to be honest and say it felt extremely serendipitous when Brian’s email, inviting me to an info session for The Actor’s Refuge, landed in my inbox. I’ve been doing the actor hustle for several years now and the last few years I’ve mainly focused on the *business side* of it all.
What is wonderful about Brian’s class is that he helps to reconnect you to the JOY of ACTING…the reason you started this whole ridiculous endeavor in the first place. It’s all about discovering the character, playing, creating the surrounding circumstances, so that you have as much fun as possible and therefore are “acting” as truthfully as possible.
At times it felt like being a detective, in a great way. Not to mention: we were in the middle of our class when the Covid lockdown happened, and we decided to continue the class virtually — it became a lovely community for me AND a way to continue my craft during a very uncertain time.
Brian always says it like it is, which created a safe space for me to be honest with my questions or concerns or thoughts. If you are often bogged down by the idea of auditioning and feel the need to “get it right” or go in and “give them what they want”, this class will free you of those notions and invite you to instead have the maximum amount of fun doing what you love.
With wit, keen observation, nuance, and an expansive knowledge of craft, text, and on-camera technique, Brian guides the actor on an exploratory journey toward self-mastery.
Combining a deep respect for the art and alchemy of acting and storytelling with his unique experience as a theatre director and a TV casting associate, Brian’s direction of the work on-camera is precise and empowering. I completed the semester with a deeper knowledge of how to specifically communicate character and story for the screen while also feeling more liberated to trust and listen to my instincts.
I gained a freedom and confidence with the work that quickly paid off in a producer’s session for a recurring role on a Peabody and Emmy-winning show and continues to strengthen my Zoom auditions and self-tapes.
I’m grateful I took The Actor’s Refuge class right before the pandemic. It’s made a world of difference.