Celebrating 20 Years of Authentic Acting Instruction


 Film Actors' Studio Charlotte, (FASt) was created in 1997 with the mission of offering the novice and professional actor instruction in authentic acting techniques. While many disciplines anchor their instruction in the doctrine of fiction, FASt holds true to the belief that the most powerful performances are always based on the exploration and utilization of the truth. Over 4500 students have taken class at FASt since its inception making it one of the most successful actor training grounds in the Southeast.


About The Film Actors Studio Charlotte



Our instructors have multiple degrees from some of the top institutions for theatre and film; 85 years’ combined experience in the film and theater business on both coasts, practical experience in New York and LA as well as North Carolina. 

Our instructors are committed to fostering your sense of well-being, security and safety while exploring this complex art form; and do so with a sense of humor and accessible personalities. You’ll find a warmly encouraging place in which to learn to relax and call on your creative impulses.

Film Actors' Studio of Charlotte is an acting-training studio geared for working adults (18+) that's been offering instruction by noted local acting coach, director and university instructor Lon Bumgarner since 1997.  We train actors in specific, authentic techniques that result in true and moving presence, on camera or stage.  Roots of this original technique are derived from Stanislovski, with augmentation based on our broad experience. This training delves into what YOU have to bring to the role.  No gimmicks, no quickies.  You will learn how to work, and how to make the technique work for you.  

Individual Focus 

Studio, the ongoing, invitation-only advanced class focusing on independent scene selection with presentation on Sunday evenings, offers those serious about achieving sensitivity and true impact in film acting a weekly, informal yet focused, individualized coaching forum.  Instruction by FAST founder Lon Bumgarner, with supporting instruction by Marilyn Carter, two of the most knowledgeable veterans in the region.  It is here, with warm encouragement from fellow students, and keenly targeted & insightful instruction, that the greatest advances for a student usually take place.  Foundations for this growth are created in the technique studied in the prior classes, Subtext and Technique. Any prospective parties are invited to come audit the Advanced Studio class for a glimpse of FAST instruction in its advanced environment.   

Technique in FAST   The FIlm Actors' Studio technique has been developed by Lon Bumgarner, with the other instructors, to include classic styles drawing from the Stanislavski school, direct observation in the filmmaking industry, and experience in the classroom and in stage directing for over 35 years.  It enhances theatrical acting but is specific to film in terms of teaching ‘Truth;” i.e. the underlying truth in an actor that the camera will pick up and reveal.

Student Testimonials

"Finally got the official booking for A Walk in the Woods [with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, 2014]. After having you beat it into my brain for the past year, I am finally to the point in my auditions where I consciously think "What is my objective?" "What is my obstacle?" I have done this now for two big auditions that I have booked. The first one was for the TV pilot Red Zone, and A Walk in the Woods was the second. These both happened within a month. In the past year alone, you have transformed my thoughts on acting more than any acting lessons I've had in the past 15 years. You rock."

Hayley Lovitt, Banshee, One Tree Hill, The Remaining, A Walk in the Woods.

"I asked around and every successful actor suggested I take classes from Lon Bumgarner. 'His name will carry authority on your resume.' So am I a genius for finding Lon so early in my career? YES! Do I use what I’ve learned from Lon’s classes? YES. Would I recommend him to any up and coming actor or actress? Absolutely YES!"

Angela Oberer, Mandi and the Secret Tunnel, Army Wives, Cabin Fever 2, Ain’t No Girl Scout Cookies

"I have to tell you that the success I'm experiencing right now would not have been possible without your and Marilyn's and everyone's guidance at FAST. They created the foundation of my technique that I still lean on... Much love and hope to see you all soon! "

Conrad RicamoraHow to Get Away With Murder (TV, 2015); 2013 winner, New York Theatre World Award for his critically-acclaimed performance in 'Here Lies Love.'

“I am a full time professional actor in film, television, theatre, and commercials living here in Charlotte, NC.  I have been working with Lon as an actor since 1992.  As a matter of fact, Lon is the reason I became an actor. I had auditioned for a play that Lon was directing at the time at Theatre Charlotte… my life has not been the same since.  
                  …Lon’s ability to communicate with actors of all levels as a director, instructor and coach is second to none.  I have spent time and lived in both Los Angeles and New York… I’ve had the pleasure of working with some extraordinary and highly regarded acting coaches and instructors.  In my professional opinion, Lon Bumgarner continues to be the best.  His technique and approach to teaching acting helped me create a foundation that I’ve been able to build a full time career on.  His passion and enthusiasm for the art and craft of acting is infectious.  I am where I am today because of Lon Bumgarner.”

-  Brian LafontaineHomeland, Revolution, The Trial, Drop Dead Diva, In/Significant Others

"I have studied with some of the best folks in the industry, and I include Lon on that list. This city and region are lucky to have him. Since studying with Lon, I have grown my resume to include film and television projects with Jodie Foster, Lou Gossett, Jr., Hilary Swank, Brenda Blethyn, Michael Landon, Jr., Minnie Driver, Eddie Izzard, Matthew Modine, Michelle Williams and others. In addition, I have built an impressive theatre resume within this region. Lon is not only an invaluable resource in terms of technique, but also a positive champion in the pursuit of an acting career. I am happy to say, that all income I make today is strictly from acting."

Chandler McIntyre, The Ultimate Life, Hounddog, The Riches, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. Mary and Martha

"Lon is truly a genius when it comes to figuring out what type personality you are and how he can best teach you to be the best you can be, I will be forever grateful for everything he has taught me and continues to teach me. Just this year alone I have done a CBS Hallmark movie of the week and two feature films both of which are due out in theaters later this year.

There is not a time goes by when I get on a set that I don’t draw something from what Lon has taught me."

Fred Griffith, The Last Brickmaker in America, Gods and Generals, Judging Amy, 24, Prisoners

"I was 23 years old, sitting in a small studio theater in North Carolina listening to Lon speak with extreme passion and conviction. Five years later and thousands of miles in between, I now realize the importance it had on my life. Lon made an impression on me that is impossible to forget, and paramount to remember. Perhaps it was the way he taught, very loose and free while remaining focused and engaging of my entire body and attention. Perhaps it was the right time in my life for me to absorb these lessons. All I really know is that I remember exactly the “what, where, and how” of what I was taught. The “who” is a guy named Lon Bumgarner, someone I consider a friend and a wise man-- a guy who has made it on a very short list of meaningful influences in my life."

-Chris Crutchfield, Blood Done Sign My Name, The Last Passport, Unemployment

"I currently live near Denver, Colorado, and am studying on full scholarship at the Denver Theatre Academy, formerly the National Theatre Conservatory, under the direction of Larry Hecht.  I know that I would not be on scholarship without having studied with Lon.    Regarding the time I spent in his tutelage, I will borrow Sebastian’s words from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night:  “I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and evermore thanks…”

-Mindi Kessler, One Tree Hill, Listen Hear, Mug