The Maggie Flanigan Studio provides the Leading Meisner Summer Intensive Acting Program in the United States for students and actors who are seeking professional actor training. In this video Stephanie talks about the summer intensive and how her perspective about training as an actor changed in six weeks.
Before the six-week Meisner Summer Intensive, what did you think professional actor training was like?
I didn’t really have an idea. I wasn’t really sure what training really meant, just because I always felt like I was bombarded by different training programs and workshops and, “I need this, I need to understand on camera techniques or I need to know to how to build characters.” I never felt like there was enough emphasis on the foundation of acting and what it meant to be really present. I was lucky to take Meisner intensive in Philadelphia and just a taste of it was enough for me to seek out a true Meisner program in New York city.
I did shop around for a while again, very overwhelmed by all the acting programs. I did some in-person interviews and when I finally sat down with Charlie and just feeling comfortable immediately in a studio and him asking me, “Why do you want to be an actor?” Blew me away because it was not anything that any other interviews had done. It was more of just wanting to just to sign me up and take my money. But Charlie wanted to know why this meant something to me and I just knew it. That’s why it was the best choice for me.
What happened during the six weeks that changed your perspective on professional acting training?
That I didn’t know it all what it meant to really be actively listening. I was always so focused on what my line was and what I was feeling emotionally and where my character was going, not just waiting for the end of my partners sentence before I, “I knew I could come in.” That was definitely a little jarring for me to realize though, that’s bad acting. Okay. [laughs] Yes. Really actively listening, responding, answering, putting all my attention on my partners instead of what I’m dealing with. Taking everything personally is very hard. [laughs] But it really helped me start to connect with just the principles of what really matters when it comes to acting and being present.
What did you learn about yourself during the summer intensive that surprised you?
I thought I knew myself better. I thought i had such a good sense of who I was and this class really changed that perspective in a good way, though, because it helped me to embrace more of my uniqueness instead of trying to put on different masks sometimes in social situations. I wasn’t really understanding what it meant to be authentically myself and how that my unique makeup, the good, the bad and the ugly, really ugly, are all what makes me me. Charlie really drove that down that it’s about, again, really listening and taking things personally and standing up for your point of view. Now I listen and hear Charlie’s voice in my head all the time where I hear him asking me, “How do you really feel about that? What’s your point of view?” I realized that I need to embrace that more. [laughs]
What is Charlie Sandlan like as an acting teacher?
Charlie is hard but in an amazing way, because he really kicks your ass in realizing that you’re only as good as the work that you put in. I think I struggled for a period of– Thinking that something I would do would be enough to get by. He made me realize that the bar that he sets for actors that he wants to work with was not only where I wanted to go, but it helped me set a bar myself as well, where I’m only as good as the work that I put in.
When it comes to class and when it comes to the way that he works with every individual actor in class, you could tell that he is very attentive and so intuitive when it comes to everyone’s journey and development. It doesn’t matter what stage you are, whether you’ve done a lot of work or you’re just starting off brand new, he understands how you need to work. And he’s not going to give you the answers, no, but he is going to be with you there throughout the entire journey. and that was so reassuring for me, because it made me feel like this studio is really a home for me and I can take risks, I can fail horribly and I know that I’ll be able to pick myself back up and continue learning.
Apply Today for the Leading Meisner Summer Intensive Program in the U.S.
For more information about the Meisner Summer Intensive call the studio today directly at 917-789-1599.