The San Francisco Acting Academy
On Camera workshops taught by Industry Professionals.

Meet Our Instructors

Laurie Burke
Laurie Burke is a San Francisco native from a family of professional actors and musicians (think: The Partridge Family meets This is Spinal Tap!). So it was only natural when she hopped onto the family entertainment bandwagon and never looked back! With an adventurous spirit and an un-quenching thirst to learn more about the craft, she studied in London (RADA), Paris, Berlin, L.A. and S.F. Her many TV Credits include Medium, I (Almost) Got Away With It, Wives with Knives and numerous commercials for major companies including Blackberry, Volkswagen, Raleys, Walmart, Metro PCS, Nokia and Wells Fargo. Known as the Original Voice of Google Voice, she has been heard on countless radio and T.V. commercials for Channel 36(L.A.), Cisco, Kaiser Permanente, 24 Hour Fitness, Symantec, First Republic Bank, Wells Fargo,, and most recently all Raleys/Nob Hill commercials. Film credits include Redwoods, David Arquettes The Butlers In Love, Stray and My Eleventh. She recently stared as Rene Pichette in the feature film The Mendoza Line. Theater credits include the role of Amy in Stephen Sondheim's musical Company, Gal in the touring production of Just for Laughs and most recently Claudia Roe in Enron. Lauries also a professional musician, performing as a lead singer with several working bands in the Bay Area. You can currently see her on national TV, On Demand and online, in her fourth year as Television Movie Review Host for Common Sense Media.


Melinda Darlington-Bach
Melinda Darlington-Bach is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, casting director, and a 25-year working veteran SAG/AFTRA actress. Starting in the business as a runway and fashion model at age16, Melinda made the seamless transition into the world of show business. In both Los Angeles and San Francisco, she has worked in over 65 national commercials, industrials and feature films. Using her superb teaching skills, Melinda has been working for the Young Actor's Theater Camp (YATC) Julie Nation Academy, California Film Institute and San Francisco Acting Academy (SFAA), teaching and coaching on-camera theatrical and commercial classes for many years. Melinda has worked closely with young talent, preparing them for important on-camera auditions, including Disney's, "Cloud Nine and Madison High", Nickelodeon's "Marvin", Universal's, "Little Rascals" and callbacks for Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine". She has worked with director, James Redford, on his feature film, The Big Picture. Melinda is co-owner and CCO of the full service and much- sought after production/casting company, Xanadu Entertainment, Inc., Having produced and directed for the iconic series, Sesame Street, for Season's 37 and 38 ,Melinda is again in pre-production talks with Sesame Street for their current expanded season, with HBO.. For the past 15 years, she has worked as a professional model/talent scout , personally setting up interviews for representation with the prestigious San Francisco agency, STARS, The Agency, successfully gaining representation for over 150 kids and adults. She has a stellar understanding of what clients are looking for in the audition process in the casting room that results in booking the job. Learn more at


Deb Fink
Deb has been acting in theater, film, television and voiceover since she was 3 years old. She has worked on commercial and industrial projects for such clients as AOL, Volkswagen, Lincoln-Mercury, Oracle, Raleys, sprint, Handspring, Clorox, and E-trade.

Film and Television credits include the feature films Nine Months, Save Me, The Princess Diaries, This Space Between Us, and Indy Festival award winner Happily Even After. Television credits include guest starring roles on Nash Bridges.

She has worked in theater in New York City, Los Angeles, and the greater Bay Area.
Deb has coached on-camera auditions for the William Morris Agency (NYC) and has taught acting to adults and teens since 1992.


Paul Ghiringhelli
Paul has been a professional actor in San Francisco for 30 years, performing in all facets of the business-films, theater, television, radio, commercials, internet, industrials, trade shows, voiceovers and full performance (voice and body) motion capture. He is also at the helm and managing The San Francisco Acting Academy. He's worked with film directors Spike Lee (Livin Da Dream), Peter Weir (Fearless), Carl Franklin (High Crimes), and Jonathan Parker (The Californians). Paul has been paired up with Noah Wylie, Jeff Bridges, Dennis Franz, Ashley Judd, John Rubenstein, Jack Warden, Cheech Marin and Don Johnson. He had a co-starring role on NBC's Trauma, filmed in San Francisco, as well as a lead role in the award winning, full length independent feature 'Crashing Eden', and appeared in Rob Lowe's 'Knife Fight' filmed in SF. Nationally, Paul hosted HGTV's Landscape Smart for 13 seasons (170 shows!) and locally for Best Of The Bay on KRON TV. Over the last 30 years he's also worked in San Francisco as a radio dj, production director and television producer. Select national commercial clients include Homelight, Credit Karma, Foot Joy, Alamo,Toyota, Lexus, Walgreens, Sara Lee, Gateway and One Touch Ultrasmart. Other regional spots include Spee Dee Oil Change and Tuneup, One Toyota of Oakland, and Bay Alarm. Paul has also worked extensively in Motion Capture, performing as "Carter" in 2K's "The Bureau:XCOM Declassified", and full performance capture (voice and body) as the "General Manager" for 2K's NBA2K14 and as Team Owner for Spike Lee's Livin Da Dream for NBA2K16 and Global Shoe Rep for NBA2K18. For the last 25 years Paul has been a Session Director at Beau Bonneau Casting for both commercials and industrials, and an instructor at SFAA for 16 years. He has seen thousands of actors do their thing in the audition environment. Private instruction also available!


Michael Navarra
Michael Navarra works as a SAG-AFTRA/AEA actor in both theatre and film. He has played leading roles with TheatreWorks, San Jose Stage Company, Traveling Jewish Theatre, Word for Word, B Street Theatre, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Pacific Repertory Theatre, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Central Works, and the Teatro di Cestello in Florence, Italy, among others. His feature film credits include Being Us (opposite Alanna Ubach), Quitters (with Mira Servino), Algorithm, Amaru, Never Enough, Love: As You Like It, I'll Catch You, Red Ice, House of Temptation, Under One Sun, and White Tiger Legend. Michael also works as a film producer, director, and casting director with 3 And A Half Egos Productions in San Francisco. Producing credits include: Being Us, a feature film which premiered at the Graumanns Chinese Theatre in Hollywood; the pilot episode for Finding The One, which he also wrote and directed; the documentary Resurrecting Love, with author China Galland and actor/producer Nate Parker; Savasana, a short film which was seen at festivals all over the world; and Sam Shepards play Fool for Love, in Seattle, Washington. He will be directing the professional regional premiere of Bonnie & Clyde: A New Musical at San Jose Stage Company in 2014. Michael holds a BA in Drama from UC Irvine, an MFA in Acting from the University of Washington, and studied many years with actor/director Cliff Osmond in Los Angeles. He has taught at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, San Francisco Acting Academy at Beau Bonneau Casting, Napa Valley College, Pacific Union College, University of Washington, Ohlone College, and Zhejiang Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China. For more info, please visit:


Stan Roth
Stan has extensive experience as an actor, director, and acting coach. His numerous TV, film, and stage credits include three seasons as attorney Marvin Girard on the TV series The Judge (he also directed several episodes) and recent appearances in Steve Jobs and the Pixar live action film Lifeline. In addition to teaching ongoing private cold reading/scene study classes at his LA studio and coaching actors for auditions Stan served on the faculties of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts West (13 years), Theatre of Arts Academy, the Denver Center Theatre Academy, South Coast Rep, UCLA, Santa Monica College, Young Actors Space, LA County High School for the Arts, and the Acting Corps (co-founder). Several of Stan's students have gone on to successful acting careers, most notably Leonardo DiCaprio, Toby Maguire, and Jeremy Davies. He is represented in the Bay Area by the NYLO Talent Agency and his website is


Rolf Saxon
Rolf Saxon (AEA, BAE, SAG/AFTRA), originally from the Bay Area, trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Working extensively in film, television and theatre including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Theatre Complicte, and the Royal Court as well as West End and regional productions. He has worked with directors Simon Curtis, Simon McBurney, Trevor Nunn, Matthew Warchus and actors Daryl Hannah, Rosemary Harris and Gene Wilder. His film and television credits include over 25 films and three television series, working with Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma, Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel, Tom Hanks, Dame Helen Mirren, Jonathan Pryce and Ryan Reynolds among others. A director in both theatre and film, he has also been a private tutor and coach for over 20 years and has taught at the Drama Lab and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (both in London). Currently, he is a Professor of Drama at Ohlone College and teaches at the Berkeley Rep Theatre School and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.


Jeffrey Weissman
Jeffrey has appeared in over 60 motion pictures, and television shows. Notably as George McFly in Back to the Future Part II and III with Michael J. Fox, in Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood, Twilight Zone: the Movie with John Lithgow, guest star roles on Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Max Headroom, Dallas, The Man Show, Diagnosis: Murder, Saved by the Bell and others. He brings the knowledge from his work on big budget majors and low budget indies, industrials, commercials, voice overs, mo-cap, spokesperson, trade shows, publicity appearances, stage and environmental theater. Jeffrey has coached acting talent for over 30 years, using his 40+ years industry experience. He trained at ACT, SFSU, SMCC, in Hollywood at the Studios of Jackie Benton, Peter Flood, and Harvey Lembeck. He has been artistic director of several improvisation groups and 'helped form legendary Los Angeles Theater Sports. In Norcal, he's taught at San Francisco School of Digital Film Making, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA), Dominican University, Sonoma State University, Bay Area Professional Actors Studio, and workshops at festivals and expos around the country. Jeffrey's currently getting great notices as 'Benny' an epileptic widower, who becomes the protector of an abused adolescent in the dramatic indie feature 'Savior of none' now streaming on Amazon. And as 'Miles' the nefarious time traveling villain in the TV pilot 'The Traveler' Learn more at


Mary Windishar
Mary Windishar is a popular San Francisco/Bay Area on-camera and voice talent. She is the horoscope voice for NBC s, where she provides a daily look at your future. Over 15+ years, she's acted in hundreds of regional and national radio and television commercials, and moderated more than 600 webcasts. She specializes in narration and industrials, and has hosted TV shows for PBS, infomercials for QVC and more. Mary is also a trade show presenter, television producer, audio editor and engineer, and talent coach. Other skills include teleprompter, ear prompter, and mastery of her complete audio production facility.