The two year acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio provides serious actors training in the Meisner Technique. In this interview Sam Yazbeck discusses how the Meisner Technique training with Charlie and Maggie changed his understanding about what it means to be an actor.
Q: What did you think that it meant to train as an actor before you started the two year acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio?
A: To be honest with you, I did not believe that an actor needed much training. I read a lot of books. I watched a lot of movies, so I figured this should be it. You go in do your lines. The other person does his thing and then when they are done you go on and do your thing.
I would take classes and workshops, but nothing about it was organized. You go in one day. You are doing monologues. The other day you are doing scenes. Some days you are doing improvisations. You kind of just go in and show off yourself. There was no technique. there was no beginning, middle and end. You do whatever you want. That is what it felt like. You do something to knock the rust off. That’s what I thought training meant. It’s something you go and do between jobs to knock some rust off. Then you go back to your next job. When you are not working so much you go back and take an improvisation class, or you take some other class. That is what I thought training was.
Q: What happened during your training at the studio that changed the way that you think about professional training for actors?
A: What I always believed was what separates me from everybody else? what makes me unique? Why would I be looked at differently from everybody else?
That is why I stayed away from training in the beginning, not knowing that here at the Maggie Flanigan Studio and with the Meisner Technique, it is all about really finding out who you are. That is what you are going to be using for your art. You don’t have a guitar. You don’t have a piano. You don’t have an instrument. This is it.
So I came here and I started to know what my instrument really was. By each class it was going deeper and deeper. I was forced to go deep into myself and really start to figure out who I was as a person first and then I could start applying that to my craft. That completely changed my life.
Q: What did you learn about yourself during the first year of training that was a surprise?
A: The biggest thing that I learned about myself was how dishonest I was with myself. When Charlie or Maggie would ask me, “How do you feel?” and I would say something. Right away they would see right through me. They would say something like, “You are not relating to that.”
“But that is how I feel.”
“No, you are not relating to that.”
How are these people who just met me a week ago telling me how I feel?
Little did I know that it is not in my behavior. It was dishonest. I was telling them what I think I should be feeling, or what I think they should think I should be feeling at that time. Clueless about anything to so with who I really am as a person. That is was I learned, who I really am as a person, and how do I really feel, what my unique point of view is about everything. Literally, which I had very little of before I came here to Maggie Flanigan Studio.
I feel like I got past the first step in one piece. I am healthy. The other thing with the Meisner Technique is that you are using your imagination, so none of it is real. You are not digging into something old that happened, into some traumatic experience you had that haunts you and makes you sometimes clog up and not want to let out. So I came out of the first year digging into myself knowing who I am as a person and as an actor, and I survived it. So second year I am looking forward to it, to start branching out and really discovering these characters and what it really means to act.
Admission to the Two Year Acting Program
The Maggie Flanigan Studio is committed to only train actors who are serious and dedicated. For more information about the two year Meisner Training program at the studio, call 917-789-1599 or apply online here: Two Year Acting Program Application