Our Staff

John D’Aquino

Veteran actor and master teacher John D’Aquino (Cory in the House, NCIS, Dexter, Shake it Up, CSI, Hannah Montana, Seinfeld) founded YAW in 2006. His love for performing is surpassed only by his love for teaching, a love inspired by his mentor, teacher and friend, Charles Nelson Reilly, who instilled in his students a passion for helping actors create dynamic performances by reaching deep into the human spirit. John has helped several of his clients find success in projects such as All That, Legion, Austin And Ally, Just Add Magic, Bunk’d, The Minuteman, Fuller House, Bizaardvark, Splitting Up Together, General HospitalAndi Mack, Kickin It, Lethal Weapon, Jessie and many more.

President / Teacher / Coach

Japheth Gordon

Japheth loves working with young actors. He currently privately coaches and teaches weekly classes including Improvisation, On-Camera, Audition Technique, Advanced Scene Study, Sketch Character Creation, and more. He has developed unique lessons and tools to help prepare young performers in LA and in many other markets all over the country. His classes are thoroughly prepared; always striking a balance between energetic spontaneity and focused craft refinement.He is an experienced working actor whose TV and Film credits include: Modern Family, Criminal Minds, NCIS, CSI:Miami, Grace and Frankie, Heroes, Dexter, Coop and Cami, and more.

VP Education / Teacher / Coach

Gloria Garayua

Gloria was born and raised in New York City and received her B.F.A. in acting from Long Island University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She speaks fluent Spanish, intermediate French, and plays beginner piano. She enjoys music, dancing, singing karaoke, and has a great cat named Felix. She works as an acting teacher and audition coach. Series regular on Netflix’s: Reckoning, Guest Star on How To Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy , The Good Doctor, American Housewife, CBS: Cold Case, NCIS: LA, SWAT, Criminal Minds, NBC: ER, FOX: Bones, TNT: Animal Kingdom, Rizzoli and Isles, Southland, Showtime: Shameless, Weeds, FX: The Shield, Anger Management, Snowfall and more!

Teacher / Coach

Shane Brady

Shane Brady hails from Palm Harbor, FL and is a graduate of Florida State University. He is an avid hockey player and guitarist. Shane is a magician member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA. His credits include TV: Ballers, HBO. Liza on Demand, YouTube Premiujm. Kickin’ It, Disney XD. The Crazy Ones, CBS. To Tell The Truth, ABC. Go On, NBC. Film: Doctor Sleep. The Endless. Tone-Deaf. Synchronic. Spring. Voice Over: McDonalds. Loot Crate. Verizon Fios. Toyota. Macys. Stafford Jewelers. Trader Joes. K-Mart. Rainbow Six: Seige. Sunset Overdrive.

Teacher / Coach

Carmen Scott

Carmen Scott is an actress, improviser, and producer. She is passionate about the use of meditation, yoga and improv as tools to enhance the human experience and the power of storytelling to influence culture. She can be seen at Second City in Hollywood performing with long-form team, Stick Pics, and performs short-form with Free Range Comedy SoCal. Commercial credits include Pie Five Pizza and Ally Bank. Razor Tongue, a web-series she produced and acted in with Now>Ever Productions and reently screened at Frameline, Outfest, & Inside Out film festivals. She is currently working on a documentary titled, 1946. Check out her YouTube Channel: CarmenScottShow.

Teacher

Emily Reas

Originally from Plano, Texas, Emily moved to Los Angeles after she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Texas State University. She worked as a Producer and Unit Production Manager for several years, creating a wide variety of content that has been screened at film festivals internationally. She previously worked at the non-profit theatre The Actors’ Gang as an associate member and teacher in their Education Department. Emily is also a member of Women in Film and is a part of their Peer Mentoring Program. She’s an avid videogamer, ukulele player, and coffee addict.

Office + Production Coordinator / Coach

Paige Hullett

Born and raised in Indianapolis alongside her triplet sisters, Paige is a graduate of Elon University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Strategic Communications with a theatre minor. She studied Meisner for two years under Burgess Jenkins.
Paige recently relocated to Los Angeles, and can be seen in projects such as Karen Maine’s Yes, God, Yes, (2019 SXSW Winner Best Ensemble!) Blackhall Studios’ first original feature Burnt Offering (Schoolhouse original title), Tyler Perry’s If Loving You Is Wrong, NBC’s Good Girls, and FOX’s STAR. She is thrilled to be a part of John D’Aquino’s YAW staff.

Marketing / Coach

Laura Jensen

Laura Jensen is a native New Yorker who attended The Manhattan School of Music from the age of nine through high school. She was later accepted into the Mannes College of Music and then The Juilliard School, majoring in voice and studying classical piano. She left Juilliard when she landed the role of Eponine in Les Miserables on Broadway, then went on to tour in Showboat, Carousel, Joseph, Godspell and numerous others. Her philosophy and extensive knowledge of the voice comes from a lifetime of  experience as a singer, performer, student and teacher. She focuses specifically on breath control, endurance and developing a broader range, as well as building confidence in performance. Laura has a knack for recognizing talent from the pop world to the classical/music theatre world and is skilled at guiding young artists and helping them on their career path.

Vocal Teacher / Coach

Spencer Frankeberger

Spencer Frankeberger is an actor/director from Florida currently living in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of iO West, Second City Hollywood, and ComedySportz LA. He is currently a member of the family-friendly improv show The Really Awesome Improv Show at Second City. He has an MFA in Film Production from Florida State University and is a board-certified music (MT-BC) and a tour guide on the World-Famous Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood. Recent credits include his award-winning and sold out original musical for Hollywood Fringe, the Netflix series Magic for Humans, and the Youtube series Nice to Meet You.

Teacher / Music Therapy

Ryan Ackelsberg

Ryan Ackelsberg is our in-house cinematographer, editor, and graphic designer. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch Film program, he has shot and edited several independent film projects, both short-form and feature-length. His work has been featured at a variety of festivals including the 2017 Sundance Film Festival (Hardware, Dir. Stephen Jacobson).

Video Editor & Graphic Design

Esther Ku

Esther Ku is a Korean-American stand-up comedian born and raised in Chicago. She honed her act at many of New York City’s comedy clubs and made her television debut as a contestant on NBC’s Last Comic Standing Season Six, advancing to the semi-finals in Vegas, then becoming one of the top ten finalists in Hollywood. She made her radio debut on the Howard Stern show and learned how to temporarily rap for her guest appearances on MTV with Nick Cannon. Ku played a receptionist in The Jack and Triumph Show and is the host of her own podcast Ku and the Gang which is a top ten comedy podcasts on iTunes.

Stand Up Teacher / Coach