Donna'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 | Weeds, Pretty Little Liars
Donna Morong's Professional Scene Study Class sharpened my character awareness and brought a new level to my work 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 recommended.
Molly C. Quinn | Castle, We're the Millers
Taking class with Donna Morong was the real turning point in my professional career in Los Angeles. I had come from a background of theater and various other training programs. But there is no substitute for an endlessly experienced and keen casting director/acting teacher, who also has an acting practice of her own backed by years of study. Donna was able to see what I could not. She could see how I was being perceived. This opened up a whole reservoir of energy and creativity that I had no idea existed. It was a way of harnessing the inherent in who I am. While at the same time, leading me through the core questions in building a character. These essential questions help reveal the life of the character and their point of view. This strengthened my understanding of story structure and how my character functions to serve it. To this day, the skills I learned and practiced with Donna continue to be the baseline of my approach to any piece of material. Furthermore, the fact that she then gives the student a chance to work in a truly professional environment, takes this class beyond most. She offers the essential step of doing the detailed preparation of an actor, and then stepping in front of a working director to practically apply these skills in a professional environment. I’m so grateful for Donna and her class, because now every time I step on set I’m able to deepen my work from a place of experience. And there is no substitute for experience.
Sonny Valienti | Mind Hunter
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
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 Horsers, Clerks II
Studying with Donna in the Professional Scene Study class has been transformative. I’ve worked with many of the ‘top’ acting coaches in Los Angeles and New York and have found the Aquila/Morong studio to be the perfect ratio of challenge and support. Donna is gentle and loving yet firm in her commitment to push an actor to their highest level. The guest directors who come in each week are accomplished, talented, and have a deep passion for working with actors and sharing these lovely artistic evenings with, who they clearly feel, are their fellow artists rather than ‘students.’ The studio in general seems to attract the true artist rather than those who have come to this industry for superficial reasons and it is an absolute pleasure to get together with this group each week, bare our hearts and souls on stage, support one another, and grow. This studio has become my home away from home and I cannot overstate the beauty of the experience one can have here.
Stephanie Sherk | CSI Cyber, Telenovela
Professional scene study provides a rare opportunity to work with an eclectic group of talented directors currently working in TV and film on challenging material in a mock set environment. I haven’t found a class anything like this in LA: a class that feels as close to actually working on a professional set. I’ve tried a lot of classes out and studied with various coaches but have never found one that’s as beneficial on so many levels nor one that’s led by such an artistically enriching, enjoyable teacher as Donna Morong.
In preparation for the director, Donna provides guidance through intense questioning about story and character. This has taught me to ask those deeper questions myself when working through material on my own. Watching the playback with the class and Donna afterwards is invaluable. Her honest and specific feedback has allowed me to see for myself what’s working, what areas I may need to improve in and any habits that may be hindering my performance. Of all the classes I’ve taken in LA, Professional Scene Study has allowed me the most growth as an actor, as an artist and as a human being.
Whitney Anderson | South Beach, Masters of Sex, NCIS: LA
Donna Morong’s Art of Audition Technique completely changed my audition prep and process! Having been in the business since I was 10 and working with a lot of various coaches on auditions this was by far the most beneficial class. She looks at every actor for their own strengths and weaknesses and works from there. She teaches you how to be completely present in the room and to throw away any anxiety or being nailed to any text based choices. I left her class knowing exactly how I need to prepare for each audition and how to be as authentic as possible in my choices. Donna shares her extensive knowledge as a casting director which helps strip away the nerves and lets you just have fun and play. She makes every actor feel not only comfortable in front of the camera but also in their own skin. She completely re-inspired the audition process for me and really gave me the tools to trust my instinct and make spontaneous bold choices. I highly recommend this studio to all my actor friends and I will continue to work with Donna and the different directors she brings in to keep me sharp, present and fearless during every audition!
Alisha Mullally | 13 Reasons Why
Donna’s class brought my fire back. I was pretty stagnant in my career before, booking here and there, but after taking her class it’s been day and night. I’m walking into rooms with intention and confidence. I have thoughts and feelings behind every word I say. Suddenly, I am going to producers on the regular and getting booking calls frequently. Her class gave me the space to play, experiment, and experience different types of directing styles. My dreams are coming true before my eyes and I am so happy Donna’s class could help push me to where I needed to be.
Heather Hopkins | Animal Kingdom, Grown-ish
I had such a wonderful time at Donna’s class. I learned so much and I will take these new skills and use them in my every day life and I will use them all throughout my acting career. The teachers were very thoughtful and precise and I don’t think I could’ve learned more from them. Overall I had such a wonderful experience.
Emma Apgar| 13 Reasons Why
It’s not often you get handed emotionally complex roles as a teenager although it is a very complex and intense time in your life. Donna offered an opportunity to dive into beautiful material that she picked for all of us. Roles that felt as though they were written for us specifically. She created a safe space for us to dream. I came into the class feeling like a kid lost in the big scary world of Hollywood. I felt that everywhere I turned was a closed door and with that came a sense of hopelessness and self doubt. Having Donna’s support and guidance at the start of my career has empowered me and challenged me to dive even further into my work and find freedom there. She has helped me find joy in knowing that this is what I was put on this planet to do and that the closed doors do not even matter. You just turn the knob and walk through. And then it becomes exciting. It becomes an adventure. I also found this by being alongside students my age or younger. She created a community of fresh and exciting discovery where we were opened up to listen to each other. I listen in a new way now. She brought in director Brad Barnes to help guide the scenes and strengthen what we want from our scene partner and it has changed my perspective on the world. Every time I see a conversation taking place I think about what people want from each other. What I want. What my friend needs or wants from me. We fantasize in life about what we want to happen all the time and for some reason it never fully occurred to me to bring those fantasies into my work. It prevents me from planning out how I’m going to say a line. There is only surprise. I now feel more connected to my scene partner, to the material, and to life than I ever have before. So basically I’m saying that I would highly recommend taking this class.
Leo B. Ramsey | Thunders, Room 37
I learned all my favorite things about acting from Donna Morong. She loves the craft and is invested in making it come to life for people in a way that is personal and unique. It’s a commitment to freedom and sincerity that I deeply admire. In my time as a student with her I found large parts of myself that I had forgotten about or felt were incidental, and in finding them I realized a personal truth which is that at the core of any great performance is a profound gift of love. I feel so lucky to have had this experience! My life is changed for it, and I grew a tremendous amount as an actor as well. I have had a great time in Professional Scene Study and the Art of the Audition which are both very practical hands on workshops for on-camera work and gave me a strong, supportive feedback loop for my process. I also learned so much from interacting and working with all of the directors she brought to the Scene Study class. It was illuminating. I recommend this studio wholeheartedly!
It’s not often that one finds an acting class as insightful and fun as Donna Morong’s Professional Scene Study. Donna is wonderful at challenging you to reach your full potential. Having the opportunity to work with Donna and the guest directors allowed me to transform. This class enabled me to play, and really connect with my characters in a friendly, supportive environment. Donna Morong’s Professional Scene Study Class is Five out of five stars!
Ashlee McLemore // Detroiters, Ovid and the Art of Love
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.
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
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, Eighth Grade
Anton Narinsky | Awkward, Mysteries of Laura, Pitch Perfect 2
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!
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
Julie Putnam | House of Yes, The Butterfly Room
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…
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
Jared Ward | Homeland, Hit the Floor
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.
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
Andie Somers // Daddy’s Home, Pepe & Santo vs. America
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!
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
Maya Brattkus | Wild Prairie Rose
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!
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
Kevin Clough | The Comedy Get Down, Dudes, Key & Peele
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.
Professional Scene Study” with Donna Morong is an amazing and unique opportunity for actors. Not only do you work in an on set situation with various working directors, but you also are guided and coached by Donna. Her knowledge, experience, dedication to the work, and each actor’s journey are second to none.
Debbie Zaltman | Bones, Super Clyde NCIS, Scorpion
I’m taking Donna Morong’s class with multiple guest directors, each leaning towards a different genre, all reinforced my artistic confidence. The discussions facilitated by Donna during class demystified the dynamics between directors and actors. No where can you work so closely in such a short period of time with working directors. And because of Donna, I never felt rushed or pushed but rather whole heartedly embraced. The experience was invaluable!
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, Machinal, The Last Exorcism I and II, United States of Tara