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Sound Bites - Issue #16 - December 2014


This Month's Topics:


Michelle King, Director Community and Contract Ed Michelle King, Director
Career & Contract Ed.

Get Fit in the New Year

We at SMC Community Education want to wish all of you a very happy holiday season and thank you for your support throughout the year. Our instructors and students have created a wonderful community of learning, enrichment and even changed lives.

Many of you have New Year’s resolutions to get fit – and we can help you achieve those resolutions with a wide range of health and fitness classes in our winter session, which begins Jan. 5. And if you register for any of these or enrichment courses by Dec. 15, you will get a 10 percent discount!

Of course, we offer many other classes this winter – in fact, more than 80, which is one-third more than last year’s offering. We’re proud of the role we play in enriching the lives of our community, providing new experiences, and launching new and meaningful careers in a changing economy.

To register, call (310) 434-3400 or go to

Again, our sincerest wishes for a very happy holiday season and a fulfilling new year!

Michelle King
Director of Career & Contract Education



Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator, Community and Contract Ed Alice Meyering,
Program Coordinator
Community & Contract Education

What’s New: From Photographer to Actor

Our students and instructors lead such interesting lives, I am constantly blown away by what I hear. And I like to think their experience demonstrates the endless possibilities of a continuing education program.

“First I was behind the camera and now I’m in front of it” – such is the amazing journey of Brian Leng, and his story of life after retirement. When Brian and I met last summer, he was the thinnest I have ever seen him, and it was the result of relentless nights of film shooting. However, he was a ball of excitement about his newfound passion. I knew he had taken an acting class with our very own Cyb Barnstable a couple semesters earlier, but had not expected that it turned out the way it did for him. Brian is now a busy man and hard to get a hold of.

The many faces of Brian LengThe many faces of Brian Leng:
Here he is cast in a background 1800s-period role in the
TV series “Westworld”

Our readers might remember Brian as one of our photography instructors who was featured in Sound Bites a year ago. Unbeknownst to me, the person I have always known as someone who had a successful career as a commercial photographer had actually always had a secret yearning to do something different, like being a background actor. 

He was first introduced to background/extra work by his late wife, an ex-dancer who took up doing background work with her dancing friends. Brian told me that when his wife returned from doing a movie job, it sounded so exciting that he thought it might be something he’d like to try one day. It was a secret fantasy for all these years, something he never thought he would get a chance to do, but here he is, loving every moment of it and it is exactly what he thought it would be.

Leng as a Korean store ownerLeng as a Korean store owner in “Straight Out of Compton –
Rodney King”

And adding a nice touch to the story is that Brian Leng the instructor became Brian Leng the student at Community Ed. taking Cyb Barnstable’s Commercials, Improv, Acting and Filming class bolstered his confidence and no doubt helped him get more background work.

In the last year when he was a non-union background actor he had played parts in movies, TV shows and commercials. What he liked best about his new profession is that each job is different: different location, different people, and most of all he gets to play a different character every time!

Playing a Deranged PsychoPlaying a Deranged Psycho

Our dear readers can see from the photos here just how diverse some of these roles that Brian have played: from psycho patient to gun-toting store owner. He has appeared on Grey's Anatomy, Bones, The Mentalist, The Mindy Project, Marriage Boot Camp, State of Affairs, Getting Away With Murder, Jersey Boys and more. He’s also appeared in commercials for Dr. Pepper, AT&T, and Honda, to name a few. In other words, Brian Leng is having the time of his life, in semi-retirement, and it seems like he is just getting started.

In between filming assignments, Brian Leng will be back to teaching photography classes in the Spring: Photographing at a Museum: Spring at the Getty Villa, taught in conjunction with yours truly, on March 7, and Tourist for A Day: Cellphone Photography on May 2. If you are interested in exploring the realm of acting work, Cyb Barnstable’s Commercials, Improv, Acting and Filming is a great introductory course, starting Jan. 10.



Holiday Shopping Tips: Frazzled to Dazzled!

Julie GreeneJulie Greene will be offering a “Dressing from the Inside Out”
class next spring

SMC Community Ed is excited to offer a new class next spring - "Dressing From the Inside Out© - 7 Steps to a Whole New Look," to be taught by Julie Greene. Calling herself "The Closet Therapist," Julie works to make your best self shine through your wardrobe. Here she offers some great holiday shopping tips.

By Julie Greene

Want to go from feeling frazzled to dazzled this holiday season? Here are some quick tips to get your shopping done – and get on with the FUN!

  1. Make a List and Check it Twice: Writing everything down will organize your shopping and help you remember all your helpers – personal trainers, doormen, teachers, etc.
  2. Get “Appy:” Check out these time- and cost-saving new apps – SnipSnap, SaleSorter, and EbayNow.
  3. Fly Solo: Shopping by yourself will allow you to stay focused and on task without having to worry about what your friends are getting their friends, and their friends’ friends. . .you get the point.
  4. Take the Road Less Travelled: If possible, shop at odd hours like early morning and midweek to avoid getting stepped on and ruining your latest pair of Tod's.
  5. Call for Help1 Elicit the help of personal shoppers. Most high-end department stores have them, or you can simply call me!
  6. Photo by Benson KuaPhoto by Benson Kua
  7. Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving: Don't forget to treat yourself! No one likes a grumpy Santa, so make sure you give yourself the love so you can spread the love.
The Closet TherapistJulie Greene calls herself
“The Closet Therapist.

And if all else fails, just order everything online and pop open some champagne. The holidays are a time for fun, family and friends. So get out there and enjoy, and if you need help deciding which Prada suit to wear, you know whom to call. Cheers!

For more information on wardrobe consultation and personal shopping, please visit my website at