The Meisner Technique

The Meisner Technique has helped turn many actors into household names.  It was developed in the 1930s by Sanford Meisner, who would continue to refine it for the next fifty years.  Developed at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, it is considered one of the most systematic and holistic acting techniques in the western world. It has made a strong influence not only on American acting and culture, but on European acting as well.

A traditional Meisner Training Program is taught over a two-year period.  In contrast to Emotional Recall, where actors recall emotions from memories of actual experiences, the Meisner Technique believes that the imaginary world is a stronger and healthier way to draw out an actor’s emotions.  It defines acting as “living truthfully under imaginary circumstances”, requiring actors to respond from their instincts rather than their intellect.  It is a step-by-step, improvisational process that demands the actors be truthful in every moment. The first year focuses on the actors finding how they, themselves would truthfully respond in a whole slew of imaginary circumstances, whether they be joyous, maddening or devastating. The second year continues this work in the realm of creating characters quite different from the actor with the same sense of truth. When the Meisner technique is taught, it begins with simple repetition exercises using one or two sentences, then builds on this to eventually work with complex improvisations and eventually scripts.

The Meisner technique is used by countless actors on stage and in film, including Sam Rockwell, James Gandolfini,  David Duchovny, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Robert Duvall, James Franco, Jeff Bridges, Jeff Goldblum, Naomi Watts, Stephen Colbert, , and many others.

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Guess who will be nominated for the Oscars?

The Oscar 2014

Guess who will be nominated for the Oscars?
Find out on January, 16 2014

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Happy Holidays to Everyone

We would like to wish you Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays 2013

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What You Do Between Auditions Matters… A LOT!

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When actors are just starting out, there can often be a long time between auditions.  What are you supposed to do with yourself as you wait for that next opportunity?  I am here to tell you that what you do between auditions will determine your success at the audition.  Too many actors wait forget this and wind up NOT showing what they are truly capable of.

So what should you do while waiting for you next audition?

Be in class
If you don’t know this by now, you should… acting is like a muscle, and if it is not exercised, it gets weak.  If you are auditioning, you should already have a strong foundational technique, but there is no harm in learning new approaches.  Or, you can get yourself into a good scene study class where you can put your skill set to a weekly workout.  Just be sure any class you join, you work every class and you rehearse in between.  You must be at the top of your acting game so you are ready when the big opportunities present themselves!

Learn a new skill
As an actor – the more you know, the more you have to bring to any role.  Take ballet, enroll in a history class at the local community college or learn to cook.  It doesn’t always have to be something performance based…you just need to keep expanding who you are and what you know, expand what is interesting to you. This also makes you a more 3-dimensional person, which makes you more attractive to those who can hire you.

Volunteer to be a Reader
A reader is the person that reads opposite the actor who is auditioning. Even though you aren’t auditioning for the part, it’s a great way to have someone see what you are able to do as well as to create a more personal relationship with the Casting Director.  Call Casting offices that cast the shows you are right for and ask if they need any volunteers.

Go to see plays
Movies are wonderful, but plays really allow you to study other actors.  Good plays or bad, each experience is a great way for you figure out why a performance works, or doesn’t.

Study movies
Be familiar with today’s directors and their styles – from the Coen Brothers to Kathryn Bigelow, you need to be familiar with their work.

Read plays
You need to be familiar with plays and playwrights.  Playwrights like Neil Simon were the origin of our modern sit-com.  Writers like John Patrick Shanley and Theresa Rebek now write for film as well as television shows like Law and Order and Smash.  You also need to know the iconic writers so when they are referenced (ie; this is very Pinter-esque, or this has a Tennessee Williams quality) – you know what that means.

Go to Casting Director Workshops
This is a great way to start meeting the casting directors (or their assistants).

Stay mentally healthy
If that means daily exercise, meditation, getting a pet or going to church… do it.  You need to stay positive, optimistic and happy to get through the slow times.

What you do in between those precious auditions can make or break what you end up doing in the room – so stay busy and be prepared for your big break.

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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.

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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 9th, 2014
Tuition: $500 for 11-week session
Contact: 323-528-6280 or director@emasla.com
Register: For on line registration click here

Click here for more information on EMAS

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Actors & Models in the Movies

Text info from image:
Actors & Models in the Movies
- Actors : Trying to Look Good / Good at Acting
- Models : Trying to Act Good / Just Looking Good

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Happy Halloween

We would like to wish you have a Happy Halloween

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Commercial Acting 101 – October 2013 in Los Angeles, CA

Commercial Acting 101
Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5, and Nov. 12.
ON CAMERA COMMERCIAL TECHNIQUE

WITH
BILL COELIUS

Commercial Acting 101 (101 Things You Need To Know Before Your Audition) taught by commercial veteran Bill Coelius, is the product of his experience acting in over 35 national commercials, and auditioning on a weekly basis in today’s market. From slate to set, Bill shares a carefully crafted game plan that will help you book and shoot that national commercial. Bill presents a myriad of skills, strategies and trade secrets that will turn your beliefs about yourself and the industry inside-out. Commercial Acting 101 covers everything from a review of basic skills such as slating, sign-in, and making copy your own, to the hidden rules of auditioning, creating confidence, and the secrets of on-set behavior.

Class 1:
The Importance of the “Slate”: how to book the job in the first 10 seconds.

Class 2:
Understanding what the client wants: How to break down the commercial copy.

Class 3:
The Direct Pitch: How to sell the product directly to the camera.

Class 4:
The Art of the Callback: Learning to take adjustments and owning the room through simulated auditions.

WHEN: Tuesdays at 7pm
DATES: Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5, and Nov. 12.
WHERE: EMAS: 7600 Melrose Ave, 2nd Floor Los Angeles 90046
COST: $180
CONTACT: 323-528-6280 or director@emasla.com
REGISTER ON LINE HERE

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Charles Michael Davis – How did the Meisner Technique help develop your craft?

See more about our Meisner Technique Classes

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Summary About Sanford Meisner

Sanford Meisner

Sanford Meisner is a renowned acting coach that was born in 1905. He is credited with establishing the Meisner acting technique, which remains popular today.

Here are some of Sanford Meisner’s most known milestones in history:

Life and Death
He was born in New York in 1905, to Hungarian parents, and died in 1997.

Personal Information

  • His emotional acuteness stemmed from the tragic death of his brother in early childhood. He credited this event to his penchant for acting – where grief is channeled into an imaginary realm.
  • The acting coach was married between 1948 and 1950 to Peggy Meredith.

Training

  • A young Meisner pursued acting after graduation from high school.
  • Sanford Meisner is an alumni of the Damrosch Institute of Music, which is now labeled as the Juilliard School. There, he took piano lessons.
  • Sanford Meisner also attended the Theatre Guild of Acting.

Career and Entrepreneurship

  • Lee Strasberg was one of the most influential teachers in the actor’s life. He, Sanford, and several others were carefully selected to form the Group Theatre.
  • The actor began teaching at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York in 1935. In 1947, his tutelage was sought at the Actor’s Studio – he accepted.
  • Meisner formed the Meisner/Carville School of Acting in the early eighties.
  • He directed Twentieth Century-Fox Talent Program between 1959 and 1961.

The Birth of the Meisner Technique
The Meisner technique is the brainchild of the actor himself, and it pays special focus to the following:

  • Affective memory – which recounts the emotive sides of one’s past to help get into character more easily. This was adapted from Stanislavski’s method of acting.
  • While many actors are trained with varied methods of acting, The Meisner Technique specifically emphasizes using the actor’s imagination, coupled with emotions, in order to make the storyline more believable.

Famous Names Trained by Meisner
The following actors have all been winners of the Academy Award – all trained by Sanford Meisner:
Joan Fontaine
Grace Kelly
Edmond O’Brien
Diane Keaton
Jon Voight
Sydney Pollack
Many More
Meisner’s Legacy

Today, the Meisner technique lives on in many top acting schools across the nation. Sanford Meisner, who was known under the alias “Sandy” to many, is respected as one of the leading acting coaches in American acting history.

* image found from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanford_Meisner)

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