International Workshop for Actors offers Greek Talent a Taste of Hollywood

by kgagkas - Jan 13, 2010 


Sophie Papadopoulos gave us the scoop on a new program offered by the International Workshops for Actors (iWa) for actors in Greece. iWa is  joining forces with Hollywood entertainment professionals to give Greek actors the opportunity to come to Hollywood, and bring back to Greece what they learn about the industry. Sophie, who is the founder of iWa has collaborated with the late Milton Katselas’ Beverly Hills Playhouse on this project. She shares the details of this exciting program for entertainment professionals below.


How did you get the idea to start a workshop for Greeks who would come to Hollywood?
I have always known that as Greeks we have a rich inheritance of stage actors beginning from ancient times.  Today, however, the opportunities for a career on stage is limited as more and more people have turned to film for entertainment.  Coinciding with this evolution to film entertainment, with the eruption of independent films worldwide, Hollywood has changed as well. It has evolved into an acting Mecca that recognized that the film industry is now no longer about a couple of big exclusive studios but more about collaboration and global talent, production and distribution.

As an acting coach and talent manager, I have a deep love for acting, not only as a career, but also because of its transformative effects on a person. I wanted to create opportunities for our Greek talent to benefit from the enormous synergy that Hollywood offers now.  The first step was to ensure that our Greek actors have the benefit of the latest technical training from the best coaches in Los Angeles – coaches who have coached some of our best known celebrities. The second step was to de-mystify the Los Angeles experience and create a road map for success in the global film business.

I started investigating these possibilities and two years ago I launched my first program in Athens.  The program was an immense success on several levels. The actors that attended were greatly benefited by the technical acting expertise, and what is most exciting for me, is that the class dramatically changed their perception of Hollywood and how the entertainment industry worked.

Professionally, it was a watershed experience where they could take their career to the next level and as a result several have re-located to Los Angeles to pursue their careers.  On a personal level, the master class afforded them an opportunity to share their journeys with each other and created a strong bond of friendships within the group that has continued to this day.  The upcoming Master Class in March 2010 is the prime opportunity for talented Greek actors worldwide to get access to people, training and knowledge in a short period of time, to better understand the inner workings of the Hollywood industry, and to realize how possible it is for them to have an international presence with their career.

With each additional Master Class, the alumni group has grown and now the group of participants is 120 actors & singers.


Who can participate?
The Master Class “Making a Move to Hollywood” is open to all Actors, Dancers, Singers, Directors, Screenwriters, Comedians, Producers anyone in the entertainment industry that is interested in pursuing an international career and wants to get first-hand answers about their skills, talent and the workings of  Hollywood from Acting Coaches, Casting Directors, Directors, Producers and other entertainment executives.


What does the program include?
The 5-Day Master Class was created exclusively for iWa participants by the famous Beverly Hills Playhouse, founded by Director and Acting Coach Milton Katselas, which has been the training venue of choice for A List actors like Alec Baldwin, Michael Pfeiffer, George Clooney, Kate Hudson, Gene Hackman, Jim Carrey and Kim Cattrel among others. Milton Katselas, is of course, Greek and renowned for his work towards helping theatre and film artists reach an international market.

The amazing team at the Beverly Hills Playhouse will involve the participants in a series of workshops that include Scene Study Acting Classes, Dance and Voice Classes, Audition and Cold Reading Techniques, Image Promotion; for Commercials, Televisions and Film, and Legal Advice on immigration laws and visas. Participants will also attend a Theatrical Performance and visit the working set of the popular television program “Desperate Housewives” at Universal Studios.


How much does it cost for somebody if they want to participate?
The cost of the Master Class for 5 days is $1,200.  (Euro 800.00)  This includes everything that is directly linked to the class.  It doesn’t include hotel or air flights.  We make recommendations for nearby hotels.  For more information; The deadline for registration is February 20, 2010.


How does the program help the people who attend?
The program helps those who attend by giving them first class training, access and opportunity to work and meet with top entertainment professionals, teachers and executives from the industry. This will encourage them to build on their dreams for a career without limitations for professional achievement beyond boundaries.  It will also help them understand that Hollywood studios are businesses and if given a chance to “make it”, it will be because of “who has come to know you”. But when you do get your foot in the door, your whole body must follow with your talent, intelligence and knowledge about the business because “It’s not Show Friends, – it’s Show Business”.   So, yes more and more artist today desire and dream about an International career and have these questions; How do I make a move to Los Angeles? Do I have the talent? Do I have the networking? Do I know the business? This program will answer all these questions and more.


Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am the Founder & Managing Partner of iWa [International Workshops for Actors].  With offices in Athens and Los Angeles, iWa has strong affiliations and collaborations in the entertainment industry, and has served as a platform to motivated professionals from around the world to come together in a common vision allowing them to nurture powerful relationships internationally by networking with renowned Acting Coaches, Casting Directors, Directors, Producers, and other entertainment executives.


I have trained in the dramatic arts at the Toronto School of Drama and I have received a BA in Marketing Communications from the University of York. In addition, I have completed a Life Coaching Degree Program at Stonebridge College.  In the last 3 years my primary professional focus has been in the entertainment industry where I have been involved in film productions at an executive level (production financing, script commercialization, distribution) as well as in talent management mostly through iWa.


Any new ideas or projects for the new year?
I am very excited about the development of a new Master Classes in Directing and Screenwriting in Athens and Los Angeles.  I’d like to see more Greek directors and screenwriters, as well as actors in the global film market. I am taking on several more professional artists who I believe have the potential to be the next Gerard Butler!!