IMPROV INTENSIVE: THE BIOS

*photo by SHANE LIEM

Toby Lawless has been auditioning over 100 actors a day on average in commercial casting for the last 7 years.  Working with the top commercial casting directors in LA has given him the opportunity to work with the best commercial directors and agency both in front of the camera and behind it.  Having seen thousands and thousands of auditions over the past six years, Toby sees first hand what consistently booking actors do that make a difference: the top of that list is the ability to improvise well for commercials in both the 1st call and the call back.  

Toby has been improvising for nearly two decades - starting as a city wide champion 3 years in a row for Seattle Theatre sports in High School, on to leading his college group and then improvising in NY and LA with UCB, iO West and MI's Westside Comedy Theater.  Having witnessed Rob and Tim's success first hand Toby is very excited to have them on board to give actors a comprehensive understanding of what commercial improv is and how to bring it in every audition you have. 


ROB BELUSHI // INSTRUCTOR // COMMERCIAL REEL

Rob Belushi is an alum of the Second City Vegas resident company, as well as the Second City National Touring Company, and an Understudy to the Chicago Mainstage. He has sailed with Second City at Sea aboard the Norwegian Epic and headlined the Chicago Improv Festival, The Detroit Improv Festival, The Charleston improv Festival as well as performed at IO Chicago, IO West, The Comedy Central Stage in Hollywood and the Annoyance Theater Chicago. He is a currently a member of the cast of Second City Hollywood's sketch show, Undateable, which has multiple extentions. He has taught improv for Second City in Vegas, Chicago and currently in Hollywood, as well as colleges nationwide. Some of his recent TV credits include: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) How I Met Your Mother (CBS), The Goodwin Games (FOX), The Joe Schmo Show (Spike) and The Defenders (CBS). Film credits include Devil's Due (20th Century Fox), Heebie Jeebies (SyFy), Valentines Day (Warner Bros), Thunderstruck (Warner Bros).  Rob grew up in Chicago and Los Angeles and graduated with honors from Wesleyan University (CT) as well as The School at Steppenwolf (Chicago).  The best time he has on stage is with Jon Barinholtz in their two-man improv show, SHELDON--look for them in the upcoming PIE GUYS (Comedy Central).


TIM STOLTENBERG // INSTRUCTOR // COMMERCIAL REEL

Tim Stoltenberg has been performing and teaching improv for over 15 years. Tim is an alumni of The Second City’s National Touring Company as well as performing in the UP Theatre at Second City Chicago. Tim has performed with The Second City at the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), The Cincinnati Playhouse (Cincinnati), and The Goodman Theatre (Chicago). Tim also taught improv classes for Second City in Chicago and currently in LA. Tim is a member of The Improvised Shakespeare Company. Tim was Improv Director of Dad’s Garage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia where he performed, taught, and created improv shows and classes. Tim is half of the 2 man sketch show; The White Wine Boys.  Tim also is co-creator of Samurai Davis Jr. and Dimsum’s Mega Super Happy Fun Time Improv show that has been performed all over North American and Europe. Tim has performed and taught at The Charleston Comedy Festival, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Amsterdam and other cities and festivals. TV credits; Sirens (Fox), Army Wives (Lifetime), Chicago Fire (NBC). 


Brendan Gibbons burst onto the directing scene with campaigns for CNN and Comedy Central. He followed up with an impressive array of work, including his most recent EFFY-winning campaign What's in your hot dog?, for Applegate (via Taxi New York), featuring a conspicuously Herculean Applegate spokesman. He's also directed commercials for Tribeca Film Festival, ESPN, Nintendo, Mars, Denny's and Carlton Dry, for which his highly praised Sheep Impact with Steven Seagal was featured as Spot of the Day on Adweek. 

Brendan's work in commercials has been recognized for excellence with honors from D&AD, CLIOS, AICP and One Show. His short film Dear Josh was recognized for outstanding achievement at numerous festivals, including AFI and NoSpot. His unique combination of striking, cinematic visuals and honest, human performance has also created memorable spots for clients such as Showtime, USA Networks, Sony, Pinnacle Golf, Vodafone and IKEA. 

Brendan recently completed his first narrative feature, Preoccupied. It's an incisive, funny and poignant look at one of the defining issues of our time: Two New York investment bankers attempt to shut down the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011. They create their own counter movement called Occupy Occupy Wall Street, saying what no one else will say … for a reason. And he’s currently developing a comedic feature called Salamander. 

Brendan began his career in advertising as an award-winning writer and creative director. Prior to that, he worked as a political writer and screenwriter. He is also a musician whose songs have appeared in commercials and films. Today he divides his time between New York and Los Angeles.