truly wonderful experience, like playground, professional staff members, creative acting training, never amazing staff, great teachers, famous actors
I just wanted to say thank you again for all you and your staff did in giving my daughter, Kayla, the opportunity to learn, and more deeply develop her love for acting there at the Playground. She learned valuable skills that she will be able to use in all areas of her life, not just in acting. You have a top-knotch staff! They are awesome! I was just so
amazed and appreciative of how you and your staff treated the students. What a possitive environment and atmosphere! We live in the Central Valley (between Fresno and Bakersfield) and it was so well worth the hours of driving for her to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Playground family!
The graduation was amazing. Thanks for the opportunity to participate in that. You and your staff did a phenomenal job on putting that together. I can't even imagine the number of hours involved. I apologize, but I was not clear on whether the graduation was available on DVD for purchase. I heard something about You Tube but was not clear on that.
Again, a big thanks to you and your staff!
Ok, so now it's two years later, I have
a full fledged teenage daughter (now 16) who has graduated from the two year program at Gary Spatz's The Playground.
She has become a very confident, happy, funny young lady who is not only ready, but because of her experiences at The Playground, well equipped to take on what life throws at her. She has found the tools and methods taught at The Playground invaluable not only for life in general, but for her school-work, and dealing with her teachers and friends. She has been invited by an agency to be among their represented and is loving life with all the connections The Playground has afforded her.
While I had some skepticism in the beginning, I would recommend The Playground to all who want to give their children a "foot up" in the world, to help them prepare for public speaking, work situations, life events. Gary and his staff are not only very good at what they do, but they are also focused on the kids and understand the myriad of challenges that face them. Guidance, caring, compassion is what we saw and felt during the two years we spent with them.
Gabi is now going through withdrawals for the school and her mates, but looks forward to returning next year for the graduation ceremony - and the reunion with all involved.
Thanks Gary for all you do!!!!
I am a former student of this "conservatory" and I feel compelled to share my experience there. Currently I am shaking with anger and on the verge of tears after Gary practically swindled 4 thousand dollars from my mom. This was my very first experience as a victim of such a heinous act of insensitivity involving the disgusting capitalistic greed of which the Playground apparently upholds and implements. My interest in acting got us unfortunately involved with this institution and although my aspirations remain, my trust in acting schools has dwindled due to The Playground. I only attended one class and was unimpressed. I felt as though it was daycare rather than acting class. I really tried to enjoy my time here but unfortunately I found myself playing games instead of actually acting. However, I assumed that perhaps the first class was meant for ice breaking and so I intended to return. The following week, I found myself unable to attend due to my SATs and later on my schedule continued to be filled. As I grew busier, I realized that my school work was a priority and I didn't have the time to play childish games. I decided to discontinue my lessons and was shocked to discover that my mom's money would not be refunded because I had not informed them of my cancellation on the second lesson. They were completely insensitive of the situation with my SATs. In this case they were not taking money from a parent but rather from an innocent young girl whose only intention was to improve her chances of fulfilling her dreams in a competitive industry. 4 thousand dollars would have greatly helping finance my college education in the near future and possibly other forms of enrichment, however Gary has taken that away from me. As a child I can not even begin to comprehend the motive for Gary's cold-hearted avarice and this cruelty will undoubtedly stick with me for a lifetime and has completely altered my view on the world. I now have first handedly met a greedy person who profits out of a child's misery. People like him truly supports Holden Caulfield's view on the insensitive materialistic nature of certain adults. Not only has this man unrightfully took 4 thousand dollars from me, he was taken my ability to trust. Truly, this has been emotionally scaring and outrageously unfair. PLEASE, DO NOT SUPPORT A MAN WHO EMOTIONALLY PUNISHES AND HURTS CHILDREN.
It's really a shame.
Here's how you are picked for the school: A "scout" spots your daughter or son at a mall and approaches you and tells you what a beautiful child you have and they'd look so great on film, etc etc. The do NOT tell you that they are an agent or work for an agent because that is illegal. They call themselves Talent Executives and invite you and your child to attend an "audition" for the school.
At the audition, they have a red rope line. Your child's picture is scrutinized, your child is "interviewed" and then filmed. A few days later you are called and told that your child passed the audition and you are invited back to the school.
That's when the hard sell happens. "John" was our salesman. He had the 3 day Hollywood beard growth and talked about all of the successful young actors that had graduated from the school. He was a very good salesman. Although "John" implied that agents were invited to class, we later learned that this supposedly happens the second six months, not the first. "John" also showed us pictures of a party the kids have, although we later learned that the party doesn't happen until after 2 years.
They want you to sign up for for the full 2 years but we chose to sign up for 6 months and I'm embarassed to say, spent $2,000 for that.
My daughter went to class every Sunday for 6 months. We weren't allowed to see the class. The staff rarely spoke to us, although the guy from the front desk would come in the back room outside of the studios from time to time to tell jokes.
Around halfway through our session, Gary held an "informational" meeting about the business of acting. He was extremely defensive and loudly berated a parent who asked if the progress report was really an assessment of the child's acting ability. He later walked around and told parents that that parent was drunk and had apologized. The materials handed out were a bunch of badly xeroxed lists of agents and other garbage.
My daughter was very ambivalent about going to class
although she did like her teacher Darcy. I could hear the kids laughing in class so I think Darcy was a good and engaging teacher. Although we were promised that the class size was never more than 12, it got up to 14 sometimes. Gary NEVER went in my daughter's class. The staff encouraged parents to leave during class and go to the mall. Darcy was very nice but said nothing about my daughter's progress. At the end, we got a progress report that was 3-4 lines long, much less than a school report card. It was a joke. It recommended that my daughter attend the next 6 month session (for which we would be charged $1,000). "John" called us a few times and that was it.
Several times during the 6 month session, the parents were invited to write an online review and enter a raffle to get a $100 gift cetificate from Houstons and I am quite sure they only got good reviews.
So what's the shame? That this business is so intent on pretending to be connected with the industry and its not or if it is, they do nothing the first 6 months.
That they invest so much of their time in combatting negative reviews instead of improving their service. That they use questionable tactics to recruit kids. That I believe that they submit fake reviews and their whole business is based on what's basically a con by pretending that they can make your child a star, or getting your child a chance to (what I think most parents want) make some money for college.
I'm sure that this review will be quickly attacked, and I will be labled as one of those phantom people who is out to get Gary. My opinion is: it's a pretend Hollywood business and there are a lot of legitmate acting schools (Like Actor's Gang) where your kids can have fun and learn to act. We justified spending $2,000 because our daughter was a little shy and the lessons did bring her a little out of her shell. But there is no way it was worth $2,000. Don't waste your money like we did.
Thanks for your opinions - critical feedback from actual clients is rare!
You're not a phantom - we're sad that you had a bad experience but know that we are going to make changes based on your comment and make a good program better. Many of your comments are inaccurate but we don't get space to address them all.
You could have talked to us, or stopped classes, when you noticed that your child didn't want to attend. We would have helped you then but it's hard to do anything now.
You saw that your child's ambivalence about The Playground was not shared by the other students so calling us a "pretend" school is nonsensical.
If your goal was to build confidence and get her to come "out of her shell" then we're proud to have given her that life-long gift. If it was to prepare her for professional acting, then YOU stopped before she got a chance to succeed. Our student's success in life & in entertainment speaks for itself. Look at our blog or Facebook to see for yourself!
My Kids and I Adore The Playground. We?ve had and are still having a lovely experience over at Gary Spatz?s The Playground and I?m serious when I say that my kids rant and rave about it all the time. Both my kids have met classmates that are just as enthusiastic about the acting classes as they are and they look forward to the workshops every weekend. I find it so endearing that Gary Spatz himself works so closely with the children and staff and is very much into the school programs. The learning environment is impressive and provides the closest thing to actually being on stage, or being ?on set?. Their website is also a very helpful tool because you can sign-up for various classes, look at your kid?s performance video, check the calendar, and read about the staff. It?s great. In fact, I?m glad we found The Playground that I felt compelled to write about it.
Thank you very, very much for a truly wonderful experience.
I had a wonderful experience at The Playground. Deciding to take acting lessons was not something we took lightly. It was completely new to us, since my daughter had never expressed an interest in acting, and it was a big commitment of time and money. I am SO glad we did it! Marissa loved every minute of it and has learned so much about herself in the process.
Many people have dreams of becoming famous actors, and of course it would be awesome if that happened for her. I was happy to give her the opportunity to try something new, but my hope was that if nothing else, she would gain the skills, confidence, and poise that one needs in life to speak in front of others. She got that and more from your program. Thank you very, very much for a truly wonderful experience. I loved that we always saw you there and that you would take the time to chat with the kids and parents.
I just don?t understand why someone would feel they?re being scammed because you dedicate so much to the kids and truly deliver what you promise ? which is a professional environment to learn acting skills. There?s no way I?d go to another acting school and there?s no way I?m going to trust anyone who says you?re a big scam ? it?s just not possible and it?s worth every penny spent.
Quality education. Expensive? Yes. Scam? No way. The old saying 'you get what you pay for' works with Gary's school. I can honestly say that my daughter got really solid acting training from very good, professional staff members. The one angry person who keeps posting 'scam' everywhere should take a second to look up the definition of that word in a dictionary. When you get scammed you pay somebody for a product or service and get nothing in return. This is not the case at the Playground. We paid top dollar and got excellent acting training in return.
Great School!!. "Acting classes"? "For kids?" That's what I thought when my wife first told me that she wanted to sign up our daughter at The Playground. In all honesty I'd rather have my child do some kind of athletic activity. But I have to admit that I've been very impressed with the impact the Playground classes have made on her. According to her teachers she's more confident in class, she's more expressive, and she's even been trying out for school plays which she'd never had thought of before going to the playground. I realize that the film and tv industry is really tough and that my daughter probably won't have a career but I can honestly say that she's been able to develop a more intuitive, creative side because of her classes at The Playground. Parents know that it's a bit of an investment to send your child there but I think giving your son/daughter that kind of creative training helps them immensely in their current development and future endeavors. Thanks Gary and the staff at the Playground for being so committed to helping my daughter make the most out of her experience! -John
My 2nd home and youve got to be there, its ROCKIN!.
Hi, Im Susan. I go to Gary Spatz the Playground. Hold up, If yall think Im 40 or somethin, Im one of the actors there. 11 years old, yep! By the way my mom let me write this. All you people who say bad things about Gary, have you guys done his classes? I didint think so. From an eleven year old girl point of view of this acting place, I consider it, the best! Ever since I was about two, people, castings, started to ask me and my sister who is also part of the playground, we were getting called to be actress. All of them were bad. One that I remember, Labeled us. Who labels kids? When I was nine, I was called for the billionth time for another acting thing. I thought it was another scam like the other ones, but I tried anyways. It turned out to be( Drum roll please)... The best place in the universe. Just because of Rockin Gary, I have an agent and proudly an official actress. My mom always tells me, " A journey with one thousand miles begins with one step!" Just because of Gary and his friends, Im on the 500,000 step. Speakin about teachers, the teachers are great. Gayla Goehl what a women. She is fantastic. I have many friends at the Playground like angelina and stephanie. Angelinagot an agent and Stephanie is getting there. So stop saying bad things of my home, its one heck of a PLAYGROUND.We from Playground are very ofended by this rude messages!Please dont do this anymore!
Love you Gary Spatz and teachers!
- Susan ( 11 years old )
Best enviroment for kids to learn and have fun. Our experience at Gary Spatz's Playground has been very rewarding in more ways than one. My daughters started training there almost two years ago. In the beginning, I did have my doubts because after visiting so many schools for child actors, I never thought we would find such an amazing environment and staff. As soon as you walk into the doors, you can feel the welcoming energy and can see the expressions of happiness on the children?s faces. I remember my youngest daughter was a shy and reserved girl. Immediately after one month of classes she began to show a side of her we have never seen before. Her personality began to shine...My older daughter has become very attached to the teachers. They have been incredibly well chosen by Gary. What can I say about Gary? There is something amazing about him when you watch him interact with the children. You can see and feel the children?s love and respect for him. I am there every week and have had the chance to observe my girls before and after they begin their class. I am a lucky mother who has had the opportunity to have my kids surrounded by such an extraordinary staff.
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