Master Class at the Maggie Flanigan Studio is a ten week advanced scene study class taught by Maggie Flanigan. In this video Lisa LaMattina discusses why she came back to the studio for the masterclass after she started to work professionally.
To register for the masterclass with Maggie Flanigan or to learn more about the professional training that the studio provides call 917-789-1599.
Why Did You Decide To Take Master Class With Maggie Flanigan?
I had been out of the studio for about three years when I decided I wanted to come back and study with Maggie again. I mean, I always wanted to come back to the studio because it’s such a community and when you leave here you’re kind of thrust into everyone doing their own thing. I definitely missed the sense of community and all the people but at the same time you got to go out there and do it. So after about three years I saw she was doing a master class and the timing was right because I was really starting to doubt myself again.
You go in as a new actor you go into an office for the first time, you meet them and you don’t get a call back. But then they call you again. So then you go in and then maybe you get the call back and then you don’t hear anything for them for months. Then you’re asking yourself “What am I doing?” I was starting to doubt my process. I was worried that because I wasn’t working on these big plays anymore. I wasn’t working on this juicy text. I was getting two pages, three pages under five. All these things are what a new actor gets so I wasn’t sure if I was applying the techniques that I learned here on the work that I was being given now. So I really wanted to go back to be fixed to make sure that I haven’t forgotten anything. That was exactly what I needed because there were definitely little things I forgot but then overall I felt like it was in me it was like muscle memory. I was using it on a daily basis and not even realizing it because it became part of me very naturally.
How Important Was The Class Size?
It is tremendously important that the class size is small because when you go in there you want to work as much as possible. It’s great to watch other people work but let’s be honest, actors we want to get up there and we want to do our thing. We want to have our time working. With a small class, yes you do learn from other people and you see them do amazing things but at the same time if you are in a small class you get to work on two or three different scenes. So you can work on a scene that is so far from what you would normally be cast as or it’s such a different thing that you didn’t see yourself doing. I think if you’re a big class you don’t have that much time to work. Also in a small class you don’t get away with anything. Maggie’s eyes are on you like a microscope and you really need to bring it.
What Was It Like To Work So Closely with Maggie?
Working with Maggie it’s like (I joke) she is half Yoda and half Meryl Streep. She talks to you somehow in these nebulous kind of ways because she’ll never give you the answer. Maggie will never spoon feed you anything which she understands would be a huge disservice to you as an actor.
She does not solve the problem for you. She’s always kind of giving you an idea and a direction to go in but then you have to figure out where you go from there. So then I mean being with her is for me the most delicious thing in the world. Even after having her for two years and it being really, really hard, I know she made me a better student, a better actor and a better person. The level of specificity and her expectation that you come into that room ready to do your most honest hardest work is really important to me.
What Was Difficult About The Class?
Honestly the level of people in the class was really intimidating. I was in a classroom with very successful working actors who come back to the studio. I was still a new actor. I still am a new actor. I had to really take a moment and not let that get in my head because you know I was going up and doing these things that were really challenging and things that were different from what I would normally do and take risk. I was doing it in front of an audience not of people I went to school with now, it was with people I am watching on shows and movies and people that I have a tremendous respect for. So I had to be careful of that.
Just being patient with myself was really hard because I just want to get in there and sometimes you need to take a little more time.
How Did The Class Get You Back On Course With Your Career?
When I left Maggie’s Master Class I kind of felt like I had new superpowers. I really felt like I was brave again. I was more capable. I felt like my technique was there. It’s almost like muscle memory from the two-year program. I felt invigorated because I was doing amazing work again and doing things that I could really dive deeply into. I was doing things that were complex and complicated. It made me excited again in a way that I was not feeling so much. I think it made a big difference. I did really well. I left the master class and then I booked four independents, like boom, boom, boom. I was walking into the room differently. I was excited about the work and people felt that.
Lisa LaMattina Master Class 2
Why Did You decide To Take Master Class with Maggie Flanigan?
I miss the studio, of course. I wanted to come back to the studio I missed the sense of community. When you leave after the two-year program you are out there kind of doing it on your own a lot of the time. It had been three years since I had finished my two-year program with Maggie and it was really good timing because I was also pretty frustrated and starting to doubt myself a little more after being on lots of auditions. I would go into a studio or into a casting directors office all excited and I would not get the call back. That is the first time they met me and then I go in and they call me again. Great. Then I would get the call back and then I wouldn’t hear anything for months. I would always think I could have done something better. I could have approached it differently. So I was getting a little bit nervous that I was starting to develop bad habits perhaps. I was starting to forget my technique because when you’re out there and you’re a new actor you are being handed two pages, three pages, you sometimes never see the script at all. As a student I was diving into plays that were complicated. I had all this information and I spent all this time with the information and the text. I was analyzing the text and you know I was so different from getting an under five, which is what a new actor is going to get for the most part. So I wanted to come back and make sure i didn’t have any bad habits.
How Important Was It That The Class Was Small In Size?
It is tremendously important that the class is small. The reason I chose the studio for my two-year conservatory program was because it was small and it was intimate. I felt like Maggie really saw me as a person, as an artist. There are so many places that are just factories. I felt like the smaller the class the more I get to work and the more time the teacher actually sees my work honestly and clearly. We all learn when we watch other people work. I totally agree and it’s amazing to watch that. I have seen people do such beautiful things in my classes but you know we are actors. We want to get up there and we want to get in there and to do scenes that are different than what we have done in the past. The smaller the class the more time you’ll get working.
What Was It Like To Work So Closely with Maggie In Class?
Maggie is the best. I had her for two years in the program and it changed the way I look at everything. I love how high a standard she has for everyone, yet everyone is approached differently. It’s like a magician or something. She is able to teach the exact same technique to people who are so vastly different, whether they’re from a different country or 25 years difference in age. Some are coming back after being a working actor for 10 years and she speaks to them all so personally. I haven’t seen very many people do that since I left the studio.
What Did You Find Difficult About The Class?
The hardest part about the class was that I was a little intimidated by the other students in the class because there were some really good working actors in the class. These are people who I see and appreciate their work and have worked with people i hope to work with one day, it was a classroom full of those people.
When I was a student here we were all students all starting in one place and now I really had to be careful and remind myself to let that go and just do my best work. Also it’s always important for me to go slowly and be patient and kind with myself because I knew I was doing work, really deep work that I had not done in awhile.
How Did the Class Get You Back On Course with Your Career?
After taking the class I felt so excited. I felt rejuvenated. I felt like I had superpowers. I was eager again. I wasn’t as nervous. I felt like I got this technique, this muscle memory. It’s in me to the right way to break down the script the right way, to look at the character the right way, and the right questions to ask myself. I was just doing that naturally and that was so reassuring. That freed me up to try new things and take risks. I actually even started doing twice a month play reading group with some other friends because I had realized how much I missed these plays, these amazing beautiful stories. So it just rejuvenated me. I think that I booked better. I walk into rooms better. I did four independent films one right after another after I left. I think I was just excited for the work and it was infectious.
Maggie Flanigan Studio
153 W 27th St #803
New York, New York
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