Teaching {Biography}

For over 30 years as a director, producer and casting director, Risa’s worked with actors on their craft and has inspired their self-expression.  Now in the last seven years, Risa’s passion for teaching has become the natural outgrowth of what’s inherent in her entire career.  She now conducts Master Classes in acting and auditioning.  Her workshops in LA and NY fill up instantly and she’s recently taken her work on the road – to Chicago, Toronto, Memphis, Columbus (Ohio), Baton Rouge, and St. John’s, Newfoundland — for starters.

As a guest teacher, Risa’s instructed actors and directors at UCSB, UCLA, Sarah Lawrence, The Stark Program at USC, StoneStreet Studios’ Screen Acting Program of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Chapman University, and the CFC (Canadian Film Centre) in Toronto. She’s also taught acting and directing with the Ensemble Studio Theatre in NY.  She continues to work with the AIPA (Australia Institute for the Performing Arts).

Risa coaches actors on an individual basis in L.A. and works with clients in NY, Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver and Sydney.

She runs Audition and Career Seminars in Los Angeles and NY with plans to bring the work to cities across North America.  She’s also building a Director Coaching Program, preparing theatre directors to direct for film, and film directors to work with actors.  In addition, she works with actors and directors as a Career Coach, helping them to shape, expand and foster their careers.

Risa’s background as a director, producer and casting director has brought about her full commitment to artists creating their best work.  She’s had great success in building both the technique and confidence of her acting and directing clients.  And she’s committed to continuing the journey with serious artists everywhere.

With two feature films in her body of work – the cult classic, 200 cigarettes, and most recently, The Con Artist in Canada, released in 2011, Risa’s also directed for television, including The Twilight Zone for New Line/UPN,  and shows for HBO, Lifetime and Comedy Central.

She’s directed dozens of plays in New York (The Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club) and in Los Angeles.  She founded and produced ACT ONE in LA, in collaboration with Showtime Networks.  And she’s worked with HBO on a number of productions since 1983 and was a producer with The Carsey Werner Company.

Risa has cast over 65 movies including Desperately Seeking Susan, Wall Street, Something Wild, Angel Heart, Fatal Attraction, Born on the Fourth of July, Talk Radio, JFK, Sneakers, The Joy Luck Club, True Romance, Speed, How To Make An American Quilt, Dead Presidents, Twister, and Flirting With Disaster, and numerous television shows, including Roseanne, CSI:NY, and the recent Universal/NBC series, The Cape, which finished its first season.

And Risa served as a Producer on Oliver Stone’s films Heaven and Earth and Natural Born Killers, movies she also cast.