~ Amy French ~
Amy French is an actress, writer, and director from Los Angeles, California. Her first feature length movie, "El Súperstar: The Unlikely Rise of Juan Francés", recently enjoyed a successful limited theatrical release. A bi-lingual musical comedy which Amy wrote, directed, and produced, along with executive producers Norman Lear and George Lopez, "El Súperstar" can now be seen on Cable TV and DVD. Amy was one of just 8 participants chosen for the 2010 Directing Workshop for Women, an annual fellowship from the American Film Institute given to emerging female directors. You can almost always find Amy on television, encouraging Americans and Canadians to buy computers and yogurt and dryer sheets, thanks to her 10 plus years acting in commercials.
~ Sarah Gilman ~
Sarah Gilman is a ninth grader at Flintridge Prep who loves acting and improv. She has appeared on stage as Anne in "The Diary of Anne Frank", Lucy in "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown", the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland", and Lucy Pevensie in "Narnia", as well as in numerous commercials. Her other passions include acquiring a vast music collection, reading, playing water polo, and waiting for new episodes of Bones and Criminal Minds. She lives in Pasadena with her parents, sister, two dogs, and four cats (not necessarily in order of preference).
~ Jonathan Decker ~
Jonathan Decker, started acting professionally, after moving from Oklahoma to Los Angeles at the age of 10. He has appeared in Films; Walk Hard for Columbia Pictures, Two Thirteen for Anthem Pictures, and numerous Independent films. His television appearances include; John from Cincinnati for HBO, I Hate my 30, VH1, 2 Episodes of Punked on MTV, Pilot Presentations and Music Video’s. He loves the stage, where he first caught the acting bug and has worked with Academy Award winning director Chris Tashima at the East West Playhouse in Los Angeles. He has also played Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest and Edmond in Narnia, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
~ Hannah Masi ~
Hannah Masi began her career at the age of 9 in Scottsdale Arizona where she was successful in securing many print jobs and an infomercial. In July of 2008 she moved with her family to the Los Angeles area to follow her dream of becoming an actress. She currently studies acting with Richard Brander, Lori Lively and Kristopher Kyer. 2010 was a very successful year for Hannah as she became a member of SAG and landed numerous national television commercials and print jobs. Hannah appeared as the main girl in the “Ordinary Girl” Hannah Montana music video on the Disney Channel, as well as Nancy in “Hold For Laughs” directed by Amy French for the American Film Institute. Hannah is represented by the Osbrink Agency and is excited about her future and fulfilling all her dreams.
~ Juan Diego Ramirez ~
Juan Diego Ramirez is an actor, producer and award-winning playwright. His performance in his play "Revelations", was named one of the years best by the O.C. Weekly in 2007. In 2008, "Revelations" was named best play and he was named Best Actor of Teatro La Tea's "Asi Somos" Theatre Festival. Juan has also appeared in the award winning short films, "Someone to Love" and "An Assignment". The latter aired on Showtime and won an Imagen Award for best short film. He recently produced and starred in the independent feature "south loop".
~ Gwen Yeager ~
Hold For Laughs is Gwen’s first film since taking a break from stage and film to focus on other creative endeavors. She hasn’t been entirely away from the camera, however; in the past few years Gwen has appeared in national commercials for products such as Toyota Avalon, Dunkin’ Donuts and Nintendo Wii. Gwen is a former member of ACME Comedy Theatre, where she wrote and performed sketch comedy, and The Theatre District in Hollywood. Gwen attended Stella Adler Academy and currently studies with esteemed acting coach Diana Castle. Gwen also is a certified yoga instructor who teaches private clients in Hollywood and its surrounding areas.
~ Mike Drinkwater ~
After graduating Emerson College in May of 2000, with a BFA in Theatre Design Technology, Mike decided to completely ignore his education, and head to Los Angeles to work in the motion picture industry. Mike started his career in the world of music videos. Working his way up the ladder from PA to Producer, Mike has been on a lot of great videos, working with artists such as The Black Eyed Peas, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Eat World, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. On the side, Mike likes to work on smaller creative projects, and has produced several shorts, including two with Riki Lindhome (Garfunkle & Oats).
~ Lauren Schnipper ~
Lauren Schnipper started producing in New York where she helped mount Fiddler
on the Roof, ’night, Mother, and All Shook Up all on Broadway. She has produced tons of live sketch shows as well as internet shorts, many of which have been featured on the front page of Funny or Die. Recent Credits: The critically acclaimed web series, Date a Human, (Joy Gohring, dir. also a DWW alumna) for Babelgum.com; Two music videos for The Comedy Rock Band, Axis of Awesome; A sizzle reel for Hulu starring Michaela Watkins, Jason Biggs, Eddie Kay Thomas and Raviv Ullman. She is currently Line Producing the Spec Pilot of The Annoying Orange, a Youtube hit boasting 50 million followers, for Salient Media. In her spare time Lauren is also a comedian and screenwriter. She was recently interviewed in the Huffington Post about producing for New Media.
~ Stephanie Martin ~
Director of Photography
Stephanie Martin received her MFA in cinematography from the American Film Institute. Since then she has worked on multiple feature films, narrative and documentary, and has worked with directors ranging from Daniel Myrick (The Blair Witch Project) to Warren Beatty. She has won cinematography awards at both the Santa Fe and NY Horror Film Festivals, and has been featured in American Cinematographer Magazine.
~ Hallie Faben ~
Hallie Faben is an LA-based editor who's work has appeared on networks such as Discovery, Bravo, MTV and Animal Planet. She appreciates the challenges of spinning a good yarn and loves that it's her job to make people laugh, cry and learn.
~ Dakota Keller ~
Dakota Keller is a costume designer, an illustrator, and an artist. She views all three pursuits as different forms of story telling. She earned her bachelors degree from the University of Washington where she majored in Visual Art and Art History. Later she enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to study Costume Design
for TV and Film. Dakota has designed several short AFI films, and worked as costumer on many more. Recently she had been designing as much as possible while gaining experience in the costume departments of a Paramount feature film and CBS television series
~ Jill Bencsits ~
A graduate of California State Polytechnic University of Pomona, Jill holds a BA in Theatrical Design in Scenery and Costumes. As an undergrad she has designed eleven plays in both sets and costumes. Four of which have been nominated for KCACTF (A View from the Bridge, Romeo & Juliet, The Complete History of America, and Macbeth) She has also been actively designing and art directing short films since the summer of 2009. “Hold For Laughs” is her second AFI DWW short film. Since graduating in June of 2010, Jill has production designed nine short films with AFI, Film Independent and UCLA.
~ Eric Jasper ~
Eric Jasper grew up in Los Angeles, playing trumpet and piano from a young age. While studying music composition at Stanford University, he performed with orchestras at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Jasper then attended the graduate film scoring program at USC's Thornton School of Music. In 2009 and 2010, he won Los Angeles Area Emmy awards for documentaries that he scored and co-produced. Along with his score to "Hold for Laughs," Jasper recently composed a collection of cinematic instrumental pieces for Universal Music Publishing's production music library FirstCom and arranged a song for a major studio feature, due out this summer. Eric's compositions and arrangements can be heard in several independent films, cable TV shows, and promotional films for the LA Kings.
~ Paul Hackner ~
Born in South Africa and immigrated to the US as an infant, Paul Hackner was raised in Beverly Hills, CA. In 1990 he ventured down South to Emory University in Atlanta, GA where he spent equal time studying film and enjoying the vibrant local music scene. Upon returning to LA to work in Hollywood, he began his career as a self taught audio engineer and sound designer working on films such as the Matrix 2 and 3, The Incredible Hulk, and Little Fockers. While working on Hollywood blockbusters as a sound effects editor, Paul also has supervised and mixed various independent features and documentaries - most notably the Acadamy Award nominated documentary "The Garden." He has recently completed sound design and mix on the critically acclaimed running documentary, "Hood to Coast" which premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and the science fiction short film "West of the Moon," which has won best short awards at festivals including the Carmel Film Festival, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Aspen Shortsfest.