Monthly Archives May 2012

Acting Coaches That Push Students To A Higher Level of Awareness

In pursuing any class, students will always remember the teacher who made the extra effort to help them reach their full potential.

Whether you’re innately self-motivated or need someone to cheer you on, it helps to have direction that takes an ordinary talent and transforms it into the extraordinary. This is what the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio does for all of its students. Not just a select few.  Rather than sailing through on a passing grade, all students are expected to commit to excellence – each and every day of class.

The main course offered is the Meisner Technique, which in itself guides students on a roller coaster of emotions to get into character. The program is currently offered for this summer, and also for an extended two year course, with additional voice training electives.

Key Advantages of EMASLA Include:

  • The Service – In a rigorous series of prep and classes, students will be drilled into learning through engagement, rather than sitting on a bench.
  • The Values – instilled in each student that attends, are standards that can be translated on the set of auditions and shoots.

Student who are ready for a challenge and those who want to push themselves to the limits of excellence can find the coaching  needed to make this a reality at Emasla. Most students will express that the EMAS LA studio won’t tiptoe around the truth or provide false feedback. Constructive critiques are a given, in every class to help students do better in future performances.

And for those who are new to the world of acting and are wondering –the Meisner technique is a must-do training course for actors in Hollywood.

Finally, the Meisner training received at Emasla is taught in the original form, without mixture of other influences or techniques.

Living Truthfully in Imaginary Circumstances

“Living truthfully in imaginary circumstances” –  this is the best way to describe what the Meisner technique does for a professional actor. In the words of the students of Emasla, this is what the studio lives and breathes in its classes.

The Emasla studio is a professional actor’s training school in the heart of LA, run by lead director, Elizabeth Mestnik. Elizabeth received training for the technique in New York, where it all started in its natural form.

More About The Meisner Technique:

The Meisner technique separates a mediocre performance from an ingenious act. Elizabeth shows you how. Students have all expressed very positive reviews about the studio. It’s one of those places that isn’t only educational, but excels in the team spirit as well.

The Meisner Technique carries students on a journey of self-discovery to be much better actors or actresses  than what they themselves thought they could ever be capable of. This is done through a series of:

  • Class Preps – discussions, run-throughs and introductions are given about the purpose of the exercise and what should be anticipated.
  • Rehearsals – student actors work one-on-one with the director herself, as well as with other students to help get into character.
  • Repetition – in the Meisner technique, shows how with a series of  reiterations, the real actor’s voice and feelings will finally echo through every fiber of  one’s being. This brings actors the awareness needed to really get into character, and as stated earlier, living candidly in a fantasy, as if you’re almost there. You sense what the person you’re playing  feels and by doing so express this more easily through your voice and body movements.
  • Voice Training – can also be enrolled in as an optional course, which goes hand in hand with the Meisner technique.

When you decide to sign up for the Meisner training, in the summer program, or in the two-year course, think of the training as a body building course for your mental muscles. Each new Meisner technique class helps to get actors and actresses in the best shape possible for a challenging career.

Overall, students leave the studio in well-rounded shape to perform in a diverse array of acting scenes.

Top LA Acting Schools for the Meisner Technique

Acting schools of the highest caliber are desired by all serious actors and actresses, who want to compete for the best roles, and stand a good chance at securing them based on skills learned.

Acting schools like Emasla, are known for coaching renowned acting techniques like the Meisner technique.

Programs are now available for summer, with a comprehensive training that consists of four weeks at three times per week. Students will have to dedicate three hours for each session. The summer Meisner technique is a surefire way to see whether you’d like to enroll in the year or two-year training Meisner program.

The extended Meisner programs are available for beginner, intermediate and advanced level actors,  who want to really hone their skills with this in-demand acting technique. The requirements for this program include an interview with Emasla’s lead director, Elisabeth Mestnik, who received her training in the city of theater, New York.

There is certainly no shortage of acting schools in the Los Angeles area, but it’s only in a select few that you will find lessons like the Meisner technique being taught in its purest form, and not just a derivative or combination of other acting methods.

Many A-list actors and actresses had their feet in the industry through this very exercise, and many producers and directors are now requesting prospects who are trained in the Meisner technique.

If you’re interested about learning more about Emasla, in regards to training for the Meisner technique, click here, for class times, tuition and requirements.

Why Take A Meisner Acting Training Program?

What do we teach?

I’m asked all the time “What do you teach actors? What do you learn in a Meisner Technique program?” I mean truly, the skill sets required of actors are often not visible to the untrained eye, the best acting is invisible, it looks just like real life, so I am not surprised that the beginning acting student isn’t sure what it is they need to learn to become a truthful exciting actor. So I usually explain to them that we teach you how to be truthful in your acting, you learn how to act from your instincts and not your head, we fine tune your ability to be in true contact with another actor, how to tap into your imagination to emotionally connect to the dramatic circumstances of the script, you learn to sensitize to the world around you so you can walk in your character’s shoes with emotional truth and integrity…and at some point in this long list they interrupt and ask “how do you do that?” . And that is where it gets tricky, because as “simple” as the Meisner Technique’s structure is, it’s ramifications are profound and address so many of the actor’s needs – it’s difficult to sum it up in a brief conversation. The best way to understand the work is by reading one of the two great books on the process, -William Esper’s book “The Actor’s Art and Craft” or, of course, Sanford Meisner’s book “On Acting”. But these conversations have gotten me to thinking that maybe we could give people a skeletal understanding of the Meisner steps and what skills they address. I do this because it is important for us to understand that the skills actors need go way beyond memorizing lines and hitting your mark.

The Repetition Exercise is the most well known phase of Meisner’s work and it lays a really important foundation for the more complex exercises and important scene work that comes down the road.
For me the Repetition exercise has 3 phases:
1. Objective Repetition without changes
2. Objective Repetition with changes
3. Subjective Repetition with changes
All of which develop the actor’s ability to work off of their partner, work impulsively and stand up for their own feelings. Here is how this little repetition exercise does all that.

The Objective Repetition without changes, starts with someone commenting on the first thing they see in their acting partner and then their partner repeating what they said and this repetition of the same observation goes on and on – it’s a simple but very powerful exercise that teaches actors
· How to honor their impulses by commenting on the first thing they notice- honoring what they really see before the sensors of politeness and manners set in. Contrary to mom’s advice we want you to speak before you think! We are teaching you to stop the judgment of your observations – so if the first thing they notice is “big nose” they have to say it! We are developing their ability to act from an impulse rather than their intellect, responding from the heart not the head. Just repeating also removes the need to come up with the words also helps keeps the student from thinking too much.
· How to put your focus and attention on one thing – their partner, and be able to read their partner’s behavior. In a time where we are always distracted, by an email, a phone call, a billboard, re-learning how to stay focused over time is an invaluable skill. Ultimately this is about connecting with another human being and allowing all other distractions to fall away so you can truly be present with someone else, truly be affected by them, and live in the moment. Learning to put your focus somewhere outside of oneself is also an invaluable tool to calm nerves.
· How to allow yourself to be affected by someone else and how to give your body and voice permission to reveal how you are feeling. We are trained in life not to show our weaknesses, our worry, our vulnerability and that can create a lot of tension that keeps the actor from being expressive. We are trained in life to show only our “best” selves, but as actors we must show our “true” selves. Sometimes students become robotic in this first step for fear of not doing it right. We don’t care about being right we care about behaving truthfully. We remove the idea of being right or wrong and substitute the idea of either being present or not to your partner and to the moment.

Repetition with changes. Now the actor is allowed to change the repetition when their partner inspires them to do so. It may be as simple as a fact “you scratched your nose”, or it may go deeper to “you are flirting with me”. At first whatever they notice and can put into words is valid. And when they can’t find the words, they continue to repeat. We want to make sure that they aren’t thinking before they speak and they aren’t intellectually searching for a way to change the repetition. It is better to just repeat than to intellectualize. This phase
· Furthers the actor’s ability to read behavior, and now makes the actor commit to calling the behavior, without polite editing. Removing the editor in one’s mind is an important aspect of getting actors to be instinctual and emotional.
· Enhances the impulsive response, which is not within the actor’s control. Controlling the changes in the repetition exercise means the actor is still working from their head and aren’t completely free.
· Is the beginning step of the actors finding their own point of view, of really taking in how someone is behaving and having an opinion about it.

Subjective Repetition With Changes. Now instead of calling the first thing they see in their partner to start off the exercise, the actor is prompted to put their point of view out there – to have the courage to have an opinion about what they see. This can be a very difficult step – as we have been taught from a very young age to avoid being completely truthful when in dialogue with someone else. We are taught not to say anything that might make someone uncomfortable, and so saying what we really think is tough – and hearing it and really taking it in is also very tough. I once had a young man say to a really beautiful young woman “you are gorgeous”. It was completely truthful and heartfelt, and this beautiful young woman was completely overwhelmed by the honesty and genuineness that she welled up with tears. Why? Because the safe space of the classroom allowed he to let go of her defenses and show her feelings and because we don’t get opportunities for this sincerity very often in real life! But I say in this work we are not looking to behave as we would in real life – we want to be MORE TRUTHFUL than we are in real life. That is why audiences pay money to see us, because we will reveal to them something BEYOND what they experience in the every day. So this phase continues to solidify working from the instinct, and staying connected with the partner, but it’s most profound work is that it
· Teaches us to look for the TRUTH in all our work.
So that is the REPETITION EXERCISE broken down as simply as I am able. It is such an invaluable foundation to truthful, spontaneous acting – but it is only the beginning. Next I’ll talk about the Independent Activity, Emotional Preparation, Scene Work, Relationships and Shared Circumstances exercises. However, none of these more advanced exercises are doable unless the actor is able to work off of their partner, honor their impulses and have a point of view, all skills that are learned in the Repetition Exercises.

If you would like more information on The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio, please visit us on the web at

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio is the recommended training program for NBC’s Talent Development Program

Summer Meisner Technique Intensive July 5 – August 6, 2012

It’s time for you to do what you came here to do! If you are ready for professional actor training, the EMAS Summer Meisner Technique Intensive is what you are looking for. Challenging and inspiring, there is a reason our program is considered one of the best summer intensives in Los Angeles!

5 weeks/3 times a week
45 hours of professional actor training
Designed for both beginning and veteran actors
The Summer Meisner Intensive is an exciting, challenging program which stimulates your imagination reconnects you to your emotions, gets you to act from your instincts and excites your spirit and passion for training.

Read what our students have to say:
click here

Session A:
Tuesday & Thursday 7pm, Saturday 10am

Session B:
Monday, Wednesday & Firday 10am

Where: 7600 Melrose Avenue, 2nd Floor

Cost: $595 for 14 classes

ADMISSION is through a personal interview.

Call 323-528-6280 or email [email protected] to set up your interview.

“Elizabeth is a first rate and versatile teacher, I cannot say enough good things about her.”
– William Esper – Head of Esper Studio, NYC’s preeminent Meisner Training School and author of The Actor’s Art and Craft.

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

” 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 – executive producer – Gary Unmarried, Suddenly Susan, Still Standing

for your interview.

Want more information on The Meisner Technique?
visit this website
or read The Actor’s Art and Craft by William Esper

Pure Meisner Training

The Meisner technique was created by renowned actor and teacher Sanford Meisner.

Over the course of history, specifically more than five decades, this profound training where actors are given the opportunity to express themselves freely and without inhibition, has been passed down to generations of successful actors and actresses, just like Sandra Bullock, Jon Voight and more.

But over time, as with a game of Chinese telephone, many acting schools have added other techniques to the mix, which counter produces the results it truly brings.

If you want learn the Meisner technique the way Sandford taught it, untainted, pure and true, this time-tested method of acting can be obtained at Emas Studio, in Los Angeles.

This is because director, Elizabeth Mestnik, has preserved teachings that are learned from her 20 years of practice, literature study, and rehearsals.

Books and classes can teach countless new skills. A class however, offers practice, and this is useful in a hands-on career like acting.
The more solid skills one has as an actor, the better they become at the art.

This summer, the Studio has compiled a comprehensive course of materials and practice for actors to learn the most in-demand technique in Hollywood – The Meisner Technique.

Why is it so popular?

The Meisner technique is admired because it teaches an actor how to relate to a character they are playing. Also, rather than reading lines script by script, an actor will need to display emotions, as well as improvise to get the right fit and feel for the entire play.
The summer course lasts for four weeks, and those who require advance training have the option to participate in a two year program which entails:

• Self Analysis
• Character Development
• Script Analysis
• Voice and Movement
• Auditioning Technique

Classes are limited and in order to enroll, prospective students will have to participate in an interview with the director of the Studio. In addition, students will have to commit three to four hours, twice per week,if they wish to participate in the best Meisner technique training school in Hollywood.