All posts by Elizabeth Mestnik

What I’m Learning in First Year Meisner

From student Junot Lee

Vulnerability is power. When you go to Yahoo.com or any other website that gets a lot of daily traffic, mixed in with current events and sports sound bytes, you see articles all time with “How to” titles: “How to nail that job interview,” “How to make a great impression on a first date.” but how do you become vulnerable?

With Facebook and the decreasing frequency in which we see our friends face-to-face or meet new people, there’s this compulsive demand in our minds that we always carry our best impression so that we can affect people with a positive image of ourselves. What you get is one big, polite, passive aggressive Pleasantville devoid of conflict or emotional life, devoid of vulnerability. All those things that make our heart pound (intimacy, joy, sorrow, rage, fear), they add the distinct hues and substance to our personalities that make us the individuals we are.

The Meisner technique taught me how to draw from my own personal emotional life by shutting out the contrived intellectual element. To truly feel, you can’t be scared of getting hurt or embarrassed or even thinking about any of those things because the technique puts you in a state where you exist purely in the moment to take in the person sitting across from you. It demands that you put your attention squarely on the other person. The byproduct of reacting to your partner’s behavior and emotional responses is that you allow yourself to inhabit your own emotions without the convenient and shallow judgement that we picked up from the “rules” of making good impressions. There’s no one to please, no one to entertain. Just you, your scene partner, and the beautiful back-and-forth where you each tap into those things that make your heart pound just by you being you; heart pounding vulnerability. And that’s where great stories begin and live: where our hearts pound and where we can interact truthfully with each other because we know that what we each bring to the table is already enough. Acting is simply meant to be a canvas of life, and the beauty of the technique is that it trains you, beyond the craft, to exist in the moment and to clear your mind so that you can truly receive the emotional life that surrounds you. This awareness allows us to understand and convey what we truly feel, and this remarkable ability to get out of our own over-analyzing heads is real power because there is so much emotional life around us to inspire us and to expose what’s actually important to us individually. And the first step to this power is to be vulnerable.

Junot Lee

WHAT THIS WORK MEANS TWENTY YEARS LATER

2nd Year Instructor Ken Weiner reflects on his journey with
The Meisner Technique

Twenty years ago I hopped in my car and sped away from LA across
country to New Jersey to study with William Esper at Rutgers University.
The three following years of conservatory were so dense with experience,
learning and hair-pulling that I still believe no matter how busy, tired or
burnt I am; I survived Rutgers, I will make it through the day.

I went there to study Meisner. I loved the performing arts, the theatre
and acting. I would be a performing artist until the day I die and I didn’t
want to “guess” anymore. I didn’t want to rely on passion or luck. I wanted
technique and principles I could count on that would help me work the ‘right
way’ for the rest of my life.

Bill Esper and Maggie Flanigan taught with such conviction and
authority I swore, “I will never teach this. Not if I live to 103 will I be able
to teach this.”

I was there to become an artist not a teacher.

One of my peers was a young, thoughtful actress named Elizabeth
Mestnik. She was the first student to “come to life” during an exercise. We
stared with head-nodding revelation as Maggie turned to us and said, “That’s
coming to life!” Now it was up to us to follow in Elizabeth’s footsteps.

Sixteen years later, Elizabeth asked me if I would co-teach her
nd year Meisner class. Two decades later, I still feared being a teacher.
2
Thankfully I agreed and am now in my 5th year teaching at EMAS.

The principles behind Meisner’s work are simple. To mention a few –
the actor must be in contact with their partner, be emotionally related to the
circumstance, be living/doing truthfully through the imaginary
circumstances of the play. Sounds easy, right? Ah…now try it.

As an actor I always sought to simplify and demystify the work.
Acting and performance is a powerful and often enigmatic experience
but the act and process of creativity should be crystal clear. Every time I
work in the studio I search for the simplest way to educate and encourage
the students. What worked? What didn’t? What was unclear? And most
importantly, how do they fix it?

Because I act and I audition (which is what an actor does much of the
time) teaching reminds me what the actor must DO to create truthful and
authentic behavior.

I think of myself as an actor as I sit behind that exalted desk in class.
If I were onstage how would I approach this scene, this moment, this

circumstance? It’s my job to make you better. If you have no talent, no
commitment, no instincts you would not be in my class. Teaching is a way
of staying close to the “work” I am still so in awe of. It’s a way of
reminding myself everyday of the principles and technique that lead to
brilliance, transformation and truth.

If I can make your work better, I have made your life better.
I am not 107 years old. My middle name is not “Master”. I cannot
walk across rice paper like a Kung Fu prodigy. But I studied this work 20
years ago, I practice it daily and I still fight to emulate Elizabeth’s grasp of
the work just like I did twenty years ago when she was the first one to bust
down the walls that protect us and get to the truth, the heart, the soul of
being an artist.

Beginning Acting Class Now Registering

DO WHAT YOU CAME HERE TO DO!

The Basic Technique Series at the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio

NEXT CLASS:

THE CHARACTER

It’s why most of us decided to pursue acting – To “be” someone else. Walk in their shoes, speak in their voice, feel their pain, live their joy! – to become THE CHARACTER.

THE CHARACTER class at The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio (EMAS) gives acting students a foundation in creating truthful, dynamic characters for film, television or stage. It teaches techniques that find the character’s voice, physicality and psychology. Through exercises, improvisations, monologue and scene work, students acquire a comprehensive set of “acting tools” to draw upon when approaching a role. At the end of the12 weeks, students will know how to bring a character to life and apply their techniques in scene work.

If you have always wanted to explore acting – this class will give you techniques using both research and imagination to create dynamic, truthful and emotionally alive characters. You will learn how to place these characters into living relationships and then take the words off of the page and bring them to life in a scene! What a great way to start the new year!

What: The Character – Technique class for Beginning Actors
Where: EMAS: 7600 Melrose Avenue, 2nd Floor, Los Angeles 90046
When: Thursdays at 7pm – starting January 10th, 2013
Tuition: $500 for 11-week session
Contact: 323-528-6280 or director@emasla.com
Register: For on line registration click here.


DO WHAT YOU CAME HERE TO DO!
THE ELIZABETH MESTNIK ACTING STUDIO is one of Hollywoods most highly regarded acting schools:

Here’s what the industry has to say about EMAS:

“EMAS has a very talented and versitile group of actors.”
-Paul Weber -Head of Casting Paramount

” I have seen Elizabeth work miracles with actors from beginning to advanced”
– Damona Resnick – Casting Director – NBC

” She is simply the best at what she does”
– Ed Yeager – T.V. producer – Still Standing, Suddnely Susan, Gary Unmarried

Read what our students and the industry have to say about EMAS at Yelp!

CALL 323-528-6280 FOR REGISTRATION INFORMATION
or
TO REGISTER ON LINE CLICK HERE

ON CAMERA COMMERCIAL TECHNIQUE CLASS

Commercial Acting Workshop
November 12, 19, 26 and December 3

ON CAMERA COMMERCIAL TECHNIQUE WITH
HAL MASONBERG

“Any worthy casting director is thrilled to see Hal’s name on an actor’s resume. It’s a huge sigh of relief for me – I know that this actor’s been taught and nurtured in the skills of bringing to the audition the authenticity that I and my directors need. I innately know that my time with this talent won’t be spent battling the layers of elsewhere-learned “Stepford” commercial techniques. I want to bring this actor in.”
Vicki Goggin – Casting Director (Coca-Cola, Best Buy, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, Allstate, Wal-Mart, Subaru, and many more)

In this workshop Hal will give you an in-depth understanding of what takes place behind the scenes at commercial casting auditions. You will leave this Workshop with a well-rounded grasp of the inner-workings of the audition process that will free you from second-guessing and allow you to do your best work.

You will learn:

-How to present yourself right off the bat in your slate as first impressions are crucial in the commercial world!

-How to break down the copy in order to understand what is most important to the client and how best to deliver that.

-What to expect from casting directors and session directors.

-How to break down a script to best optimize your time in front of the camera and how to stand out from everyone else.

– How to use your unique qualities as your single greatest asset!

-How to develop timing skills while working with a partner to create the proper rhythm and pace.

Hal Masonberg is one of L.A.’s most in-demand session directors working for top commercial casting directors like…

Craig Colvin, Popcasting, Terry Berland, Alyson Horn, Danielle Eskinazi, Joe Blake, Sheila Manning and many others…

“Hal Masonberg’s years of experience working deep in the trenches of commercial casting, combined with his vast knowledge of film history, enthusiasm, and respect for actors make him, without question, THE best session director working on the scene today and I trust him implicitly. Whatever he tells you, believe it.” —
Mark Randall, Casting Director (Capital One, Adidas, Audi, Campbell’s Soup, Fox Sports, Nintendo and many others)

WHEN: Mondays at 7pm
DATES: November 12, 19, 26 and December 3
WHERE: EMAS: 7600 Melrose Ave, 2nd Floor Los Angeles 90046
COST: $180
CONTACT: 323-528-6280 or director@emasla.com
More Information at http://www.emasla.com/acting-workshops.php

http://www.emasla.com

Advanced Scene Study Class Upcoming

Advanced Scene Study
a weekly workout for actors with Elizabeth Mestnik

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio
7600 Melrose Ave. 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, California 90046
323-528-6280

Get ready for Pilot Season!

We are currently auditioning actors for our Advanced Scene Study program.
CLASS INCLUDES
Extensive performance experience with traditional rehearsal format
Audition technique for Film, Television and Stage
Maintenance/refreshing of current skill set
Opportunities to perform for industry guests
This is a weekly workout where actors test their performance abilities in a safe but challenging environment. Through working on scenes of various genres, the actors discover their strengths and weaknesses with the help of a trained director’s eye. Because class size is restricted to 12 actors, each actor works in every class. We also realize that THE busiest audition season is fast approaching – we want our actors to be completely ready for pilot season, and help them fine tune their audition skills with simulated audition sessions.

This is not a beginning acting class. It requires that the student already have a number of tools in their acting belt. We require that a student applying for this class have prior training or performance experience. It is a mixed levels class of intermediate to advanced students. To maintain the integrity of the class -an audition is required.

Find out more at the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio

Acting School Testimonials

What makes a great teacher?
Sharif Atkins talks about training with Elizabeth and her teachers.

I recommend EMAS because of Elizabeth. No one matches her level of insight, compassion, and ability to bring out the best in each of her students. You have to have an eye for BS as an acting teacher and she has it. She has called me on my own more than once. You also have to have an eye for the nuances of human behavior, the little itty-bitty details that take a performance from good to great.
-Sharif Atkins – actor/EMAS alum – White Collar, ER, The Preacher’s Wife

Preparing you for the Big Role
Lily Holleman on the Meisner Technique

The Meisner program prepared me to take on my first lead role in a feature film. I filmed the summer after my first year of Meisner, and the technique fit perfectly with what the script demanded. One tool that Meisner teaches that is necessary for every job, however, is truly opening up your ear to be able to hear underneath the lines. If you want to inspire and be inspired by watching your peers struggle, fail, and suddenly break through, you should study here. If you want to expand and your imagination and creativity, study here!
Lily Holleman – actor Southland, State of theUnion, UrFRENZ

A Step by Step Process
Charles Michael Davis on the skills actors need in the real world.

The Meisner Techniqe teaches you how to be honest and how to listen emotionally. The teachers at EMAS push you to expand those emotions – push you past what you think you are capable of. Like a really good coach – Elizabeth ends up being in your head even when she isn’t there. So now when I get a script or sides – I feel totally prepared.
-Charles Davis actor/EMAS alum: The Game, Switched at Birth

Read more at the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio

Fall Meisner Technique Program

Due to the demand for our 9-month Professional Training Program, EMAS has added a second session:

When: Tuesdays at 7pm and Saturdays at 1:30pm
Start Date: September 29th, 2012
Admission: Interview required
Contact: 323-528-6280

“Elizabeth is a first rate and versatile teacher. She has a mind that conceptualizes, a clear method and vocabulary that leads other to bring their ideas to light. I cannot say enough good things about her”
William Esper: Head of Esper Studios and Author of The Actor’s Art and Craft

For more information on Los Angeles’ Premiere Meisner Training program visit our
website.

Read what EMAS students have to say about the studio
here:

Acting Foundations Class Starting Sep 20th

A professional class for beginning actors

This technique class is for the beginning acting student who wants to invest in his/her craft to become a well skilled, exciting actor. This demanding but fun 11-class workshop serves as an overview of the required skills needed to enter the acting profession including:

Imagination work
Character development
Physical and Vocal Development
Scene Study

When: Thursdays at 7:00pm
Start Date: September 20th, 2012
Admission: Register on line here!
Contact: 323-528-6280

The goal of this class is to develop a comprehensive set of “acting tools” to draw upon when approaching a role or a scene. Students will acquire confidence, self-awareness, a strong creative spirit and professional work ethic. All the traits needed for an acting career.

For more information on EMAS visit our website at
www.emasla.com

NOW INTERVIEWING FOR 2012 FALL MEISNER CLASSES

The great strength of Meisner Training is that it gives you a clear, step-by-step approach to the craft of acting that allows complete freedom of expression and confidence in your abilities. In EMAS’ Meisner Technique program, we teach The Meisner Technique, period.

Visit Our Meisner Page for more information and contact Elizabeth Mestnik for an interview.

Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio
7600 Melrose Unit J
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 528-6280