I opened The Forge as a way for actors and filmmakers to constantly hone their craft and make our industry even stronger and more competitive; that means on both sides of the camera. Actors and filmmakers seem to be on two different teams, aiming for the same goal.
As an actor turned filmmaker, I remember getting so frustrated at film schools and acting studios where I felt that I wasn't being pushed hard enough or was being forced to take classes I didn't care about. Opening The Forge was my way of providing a safe place for actors and filmmakers to receive affordable training by creating meticulously curated classes. The Forge is for professionals, taught by qualified professionals. Period.
There are film schools and there are acting studios, but The Forge is a place where both sides of the camera can come for continued education and work together.
- SARAH CLARK
owner + director
Professional athletes don't stop training once they're out of college, doctors have to engage in continued education each year to keep their license, and one class doesn't make you a master carpenter. We want all our students to continue to hone their craft, have people who will push them hard enough to get better, and cultivate an educational space for those always ready to learn more.
A forge is a workshop for a blacksmith. Forges are full of hard work, consistency, and craftsmanship. It's not easy molding metal. Hammering away at a project isn't for those who give up easily. The Forge is for those who are here to chase dreams, make careers out of thin air, and smirk in the faces of those who said they couldn't.
If you're looking for a school that will pat you on the head and tell you good job, whether you're getting better or not, we're not for you. We are here to train the actors and filmmakers who are ready to do the hard work, stay consistent, and fight to be better at their craft day after day.
SARAH CLARK, CSA
OWNER + DIRECTOR
Sarah Clark is a Chicago-based filmmaker and a proud member of the Casting Society of America. She’s the owner and casting director of Compass Casting, the found of The Forge and the lead producer at Plain White Mug.
Sarah feels fortunate to have worked with directors like Terrence Malick, John Wells, Nick Cassavetes and many more during her 11 year career. With thousands of auditions under her belt on national commercials to indie films, music videos to print shoots, she’s seen it all in the casting office.
Her career started by scrubbing toilets at the casting office she came up through. She still scrubs toilet, she just does it at the studio she owns. When she’s not casting or teaching she’s working as an award-wining director and an Emmy-nominated producer.
Eve is originally from Colorado, graduated with her BFA in Actor Training from The Hartt School in Connecticut, and is now a casting assistant at Compass Casting. Her history and education in performance make her an understanding and encouraging presence in the audition room and the classroom, where she aims to make every artist feel at ease.
When not in the office, Eve can be found binging NPR, watching true crime documentaries, and drinking good beer.
Jodi Gage is an actor, director, and holds an MFA in Acting with an emphasis on teaching from Point Park University. Her mission as a teacher is to help actors develop their technique, discover their vulnerability, and build their belief that they belong – in the room and in front of the camera. She has taught at several Universities in Chicago and in Pittsburgh. As an actor, she has worked regionally with Pittsburgh Irish & Classical, Pittsburgh CLO, Chicago Shakespeare Project, Theatre Lumina, and is the founding Executive Director of Mozawa.
She is co-producer of and performer in Song of Home, which will tour to Moldova in 2020. Film and commercial credits include She’s Out of My League (Dreamworks), Serta, Fisher Price, and Groupon among others.
She has also had the great pleasure of Associate Directing alongside Robert Falls on Don Giovanni at Dallas Opera, as well as Assistant Directing for Olivier Award-winning director Francesca Zambello and Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher, among others.
Brenna Welsh is Co-Artistic Director, Co-Founder and Casting Director of The Story Theatre. In addition to casting, she works in new play development as an ensemble member of The Story. She holds her BFA in Acting from the University of Arizona. As an actor, Brenna has worked with Northlight Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Prop Theatre, Rasaka Theatre, and Arizona Theatre Company among others. Some of her favorite shows include How I Learned to Drive, The Book of Will, Julius Caesar, Uncle Vanya, Other Desert Cities, Yankee Tavern, and Lend Me a Tenor. Film, television and commercial credits include Chicago Med, Ace Hardware, The Writer (Sundog Studios), Dream Fish (One Panda Films) and others. Brenna is represented by Big Mouth Talent.
PAUL MICHAEL THOMSON
Paul Michael Thomson is a professional actor, playwright, and a really good friend. As an actor, he has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, The House Theatre of Chicago, Teatro Vista, Porchlight Music Theatre, and Greenhouse Theatre, among others. His on-camera work includes Chicago Med, Chicago Justice, and Kissing Walls. As a playwright, his work has been produced by Other Theatre Company, Arc Theatre, North Central College, and The Story Theatre, of which he is a founding member. As a really good friend, he has validated many, many feelings. Paul Michael graduated summa cum laude from the Honors College at The University of Arizona with a BFA in Acting, a BA in Africana Studies, and minors in Spanish & Art History. He is proudly represented by Gray Talent Group.
Patrick Wimp is a writer, director, and producer who lives in Chicago, Illinois. As proud creator of color, Pat writes and develops content for film, TV, and digital platforms all over the world.
Pat wrote and produced two seasons of the hit international docu-series "WaMahyaya" that airs on Amazon Prime. He also won “Best Writer” at SeriesFest Season 3, and Best of Fest at the HBO sponsored iTVFest in 2017, as the creator of the dramatic TV pilot “Public Housing Unit.” The show received interest at HBO, Sony, and Showtime.
His work on the digital series "Brothers from the Suburbs" awarded Patrick both the Jury and Audience awards at the 2019 Austin Film Festival, Best Web Original at Urbanworld Film Festival, and Best Directing at SeriesFest Season 5. The series was recently licensed to the short-form mobile streaming platform, Ficto.
As a proud creator of African descent, Pat’s work focuses on creating emotionally impactful, accessible human stories, built around authentic and diverse characters.