Kids’ Acting Classes at Gray Studios

Master Teacher David Gray
Back in June I was invited to bring my children to a commercial audition workshop to get a taste of the services that Gray Studios, an acting coaching and teaching business that operates all over Los Angeles, provides in our area. My younger son, who had just starred as “third paperboy from the left” in a musical production of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, was eager to try it out.

Parents are not required to stay during the workshop, so I went to Trader Joe’s. Naturally. The problem is that my son barely gave me any information about the class! Just like with regular school, all I got out of him was a series of one word answers. How was it? “Good.” What did you do? “Games.” Do you want to audition for commercials now? “Sure.” Don’t get me wrong – he liked it. But he was done performing, so he wouldn’t even describe it to me. I know he had fun, because the teachers told me he was hamming it up with the rest of them.


gray studios workshoipMy kid: back row far left


So even though I can’t tell you exactly what happened, I can tell you more about Gray Studios. They are a group of working actors who have over 100 years combined experience working in film and television. Their classes include Audition Technique for film and television, and they partner with entertainment industry leaders for classes in Commercial, Voice Over, and Improv.


David ccoaching the On-Tape week
Some of the Gray Studios Alumni include:
Ariel Winter – Modern Family
Tyler Posey – Teen Wolf
Matt Moy – 2 Broke Girls
Cody Saintgnue – Teen Wolf
Hayley McFarland – Sons of Anarchy
Brant Dougherty – Pretty Little Liars


Gray Studios offers classes in Thousand Oaks on Tuesdays, and they are adding Saturday classes this fall. Their age breakdowns are 4-6, 7-11, and 12-17. Students from their classes often get signed by top industry agents. Check out their website for more information!


Our family enjoyed one complimentary workshop to facilitate this feature. I hope this helps you with a resource for your budding star!

See Click Fix For That Annoying Thing


chumash park

A few weeks ago our family was at Chumash Park for flag football. I walked over to the play structure and in the distance I saw my younger boy playing with what looked like a big skateboard. I wondered where he got a skateboard. And then as I got closer I realized two things:

1. My eyesight, despite being LASIK-ed to perfection, is already getting worse because I’m getting old
2. My son was playing with a skateboard-sized chunk of metal bench.

Upon closer inspection, I realized that yes indeed, it was a giant chunk of the metal bench from the picnic table/bench combo that is standard to Agoura Hills parks. The kids were playing with these enormous tetanus risks. I told my son to put it down, and then resolved to Tell Somebody.

If you have children who play sports, chances are you have a lot of Sideline Time. You know, when you are just there, at the football/soccer/baseball field, or the basketball/tennis court, or the stands near the pool. Just there, not doing anything, maybe watching the game, maybe chatting with the other parents. I have packed my Sideline Bag with work, books, snacks, etc. to kill the time. On this day, I used some of that time to report the offending broken bench.

And I found this amazing thing: See Click Fix! I had heard that Agoura Hills introduced an app that you could use to report things that go wrong, and a little bit of Googling led me right to it!

seeclickfixBoop-beep-boop: I reported the broken bench. Someone responded right away “We’re looking into it.” Then a week later, boom, bench was gone. I created a free account and signed up to get emails from SCF, and now I get little messages every few days. Someone reports a broken streetlight BAM! Fixed. Someone sees a pile of trash illegally dumped on the side of the road BOOM! Hauled away.

It’s …like a miracle, really. I encourage you to check it out. Keep it classy, Agoura. Keep it classy.

See, Click, Fix

Agoura Hills, everybody!

Home Archive Services – Photo Scanning That Makes House Calls

My Nana and Grampa, just married

My Nana and Grampa, just married

Jack Bielan is an amazing combination. He is a talented musician, a skilled technician, a happy family man, and a spiritual person who is devoted to the concept of vocation as service.

In other words, he’s a really nice guy.

After a long career in music management, Bielan sold that business and looked around for something else he could do professionally that would “be of service to people.” And what he came up with is Home Archive Services.

He comes to your house and carefully scans your old printed photos to create digital copies, using high quality scanners. He brings all of his own equipment and can scan up to 400 photos in an hour. When he’s finished, he hands you a USB drive or a DVD and leaves. Done. OR, he’ll stay and show you how to create a photo book using an online printing service, or he’ll upload everything to Flickr or Picasa so you can easily share the photos with friends and family worldwide, or he’ll load it all on to a digital frame and add music, too.

Baby Agoura Hills Mom, formerly known as West Haven Kid

Baby Agoura Hills Mom, formerly known as West Haven Kid

What he loves the most about this work, Bielan says, is the way that transferring photos to digital can bring families together.

An Agoura Hills native, Bielan will travel to your house here or all over the Conejo Valley and the LA basin. You fill out a contract with him that protects your photos and your home, and he agrees to come for a minimum of 2 hours for $85 per hour. He takes care of everything…except choosing the photos.

Only 11 years ago - none of this was digital, all film

Only 11 years ago – none of this was digital, all film

Bielan came to my house recently so I could try his service. In preparation, I pulled out some oddly sized vintage photos, some proofs from our wedding, and other assorted memories. Warning: this will send you down memory lane and make you want to call the loved ones with whom you haven’t spoken in a long time! Or, it will make you share hilarious and embarrassing photos of your friends with their big 80’s hair on Facebook…

My buddy Lee on the left

My buddy Lee on the left. It’s a Polaroid!

He arrived on time, set up everything – even his own table! – without a hitch. All he needed was enough space and light and a power outlet. He scanned almost all the photos I set aside for him in the short time he was here, and I truly enjoyed hearing his stories about how his service lights up the lives of older people, especially. It’s the personal attention to his service that really sets him apart, not just the house call, which is rare enough! I appreciated that I didn’t have to send my precious photos away to be scanned. I did recently do that with 1,000 other photos and it took over 2 weeks – I started to get nervous at the end there. I mean, what if any of them had been lost? There’s no way to get those memories back. With Home Archive Services, nothing leaves your house, and at the end you have a digital copy so that if the photos do get damaged or lost, you at least have a backup.

My Gramma and Grampa

My Gramma and Grampa

A few years ago I had all of my husband’s old home movies from his childhood transferred to DVD and sent copies to his mother and brother as Christmas gifts. Now I can send old family photos to my own family members via email. What a wonderful and meaningful gift this will be.

Now through December 24, Home Archive Services is offering a special: get three hours for the price of two! That’s a lot of photos you can get scanned. It’s easy to set up an appointment and the travel time and equipment set-up and break-down time are not included in your three hours.

See this post for some great shots of Home Archive Services in action, scanning the photos of Sarah Auerswald of

I received two hours of complimentary service to facilitate this feature.