All posts by Elizabeth Mestnik

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.

REPETITION EXERCISE:
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
www.emasla.com

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 director@emasla.com 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

Call
323-528-6280
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.

Acting Techniques – The Meisner Technique

The Meisner technique is just one of the many acting methods that can be learned at an acting school. This acting method was named after its creator, Sanford Meisner, a professional actor and acting coach at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.  It was incepted in the 1940s and is still popular today. It’s also inspired by the Stanislavski’s system – a Russian-born acting method.

The Meisner technique involves a series of repetition by the person performing the exercise. It helps an actor make a scene more believable, as they get into character. As an actor, the technique is essentially asking you: How does it really feel to be in this person’s shoe? (the character you’re playing), and how can you draw upon your own experiences to connect with this character at an emotional level?

Benefits of the Meisner Technique:

The most beneficial aspect of this lesson is that actors will be able to adapt to a scene or circumstance, by living truthfully in the moment. It also helps actors learn more about and master improvisation.

Examples of famous actors who’ve benefited from this technique include Sandra Bullock, Grace Kelly, Dianne Keaton, and plenty more.

An acting school – a good one – can help actors in various stage of their acting career, master the technique, to ultimately be a better candidate for a role.

Course length times will vary from school to school, but as students, it’s important to do your own research to find an acting coach that teaches the Meisner technique the way the originator did.

Preparing For An Audition

You may already know what to take with you on an acting audition, but do you know how to mentally prepare yourself for it?

What does it take to stand out from the countless numbers of individuals that are vying from the same position that you are?

An acting school can help to train your thoughts, gestures and mind to focus on the task at hand. An acting coach can also give you knowledge to win in all types of acting genres.

Here Are A Few Tips:

• Be confident – when you believe in yourself, it’s easier for others to do the same
• Smile – It helps connect with directors and break the ice (for you at least)
• Build your stage presence – this can be learned through an acting coach
• Practice – it makes the monologue or dialogue run perfectly
• Project your voice – doing otherwise comes off as timidity

Other Considerations:

• Bring a head shot and resume, this shows preparedness
• Dress for a job, but not for the part, costumes are usually provided
• Early birds catch the first worm, so get there 20 minutes early

Whether you’re going to an arranged audition, or an open casting call, these tips should better prepare you to land the role you’re trialing for. Get the full actor’s checklist at an acting school in LA, who will teach and practice with you.

Emasla is a top-acting school in the heart of Los Angeles. To learn more about class schedules and tuition for the Emasla studio, go here.

And on a final note, believe in yourself, do your best, and everything else will fall into place. Remember, with time and practice, all things become feasible to those who think they can.

THE MEISNER TECHNIQUE SUMMER INTENSIVE

The Meisner Technique was developed by Sanford Meisner over 65 years ago, and remains one of the leading actor training techniques today.  The summer intensive is a month-long course that meets three days a week for three hours. It’s purpose it to give student actors a full exposure to the philosophies as well as the structure of this demanding yet dynamic process. It develops sensory and emotional skills and introduces actors to the strength of using one’s own uniqueness within performance.  Students are expected to present work at each class. In addition, Ms. Mestnik expects students to rehearse in preparation for each class.

 

If you are ready to ignite your imagination, reconnect to your emotions, trust your instincts and develop the essential skills of great acting, and work harder than you have ever worked before…

This program is for you!

Auditing:

EMAS does not permit auditing of technique classes. We consider technique classes at EMAS to be a personal laboratory, where the students are encouraged to take risks. There is a sense of safety created by the closed classroom that allows for such risk-taking. EMAS does everything to encourage and support the actor in this endeavor.

Preparation:

We recommend reading On Acting by Sanford Meisner or The Actor’s Art and Craft by William Esper before interviewing for our program.

Attendance:

Students presenting themselves to EMAS for training must be prepared to undertake the rigorous and demanding work required to ready themselves for the demands of a professional career.

Ms. Mestnik is very strict about class attendance and students rehearsal in preparation for each class. Students who are not professional in conduct or undependable as partners and class members will be discontinued. Many of our students are working professionals and every effort will be made to accommodate student’s professional demands.  Students are allowed two absences in this 5-week session.

 

Tuition:

 

14-Class Core Acting Program $595

Add 4 Body/Voice classes for $150

 

Class Schedule:

Session A:  Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:00, Saturday mornings at 10:00.

Session B:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 10:00

Physical Voice:  Mondays:  7:00pm

The Reasons You Need An Acting Coach

Here’s why every serious actor or actress needs a coach:

• You are a brand
• You need to increase your weight lifting from good to great
• You need the advice from someone who has worked in the industry

The choice between going to an acting school or not attending, is almost like deciding to skip or prepare for college.

The truth is, acting schools give actors a competitive advantage in a very competitive industry. This is done through techniques that have been learned and taught through decades. These acting techniques are what directors look for during auditions. Acting schools also produce skills in individuals to make showcases perfect – and on any stage.

Yes, some skills cannot be taught. These include natural talent, in-born motivation, and others. Then, there are those abilities which can be learned.

What acting skills are taught in an acting school? Here goes:

• Learning timing, as in when to move based on settings and signals
• Rhythm, meaning gestures and the way your body moves freely and naturally
• The display of emotions, to increase and nail believability
• Voice control and pitch, for getting into character

These skills are just scratching the surface. If you’re new to acting, you may need to start a beginner course. Actors who are already in business can continue with acting classes to improve upon current skills.

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio is an acting school, that has realized numerous successful actors and actresses. To learn more about Emasla, visit www.emasla.com.

To Be Discovered in Hollywood

What can you do to get discovered as the best in the business?  You may think that going up against leading actors is absolutely daunting. It is.

However, the good news is – it can be done.

All it takes is the most steadfast belief in yourself, despite any number of closed doors.

Don’t believe us?

Get insight and inspiration from the very competition you fear. Check out a few leading actors’ and actresses’ bios, and you’ll see… just like you, they got their feet in the door as aspiring actors too.

Determination, discipline and drive, will make the difference between your success and another man’s failure. Of course, the obvious talent of acting is a must.

The next step to getting discovered in Hollywood, following the belief that you can act, is enlisting the help of an acting coach to polish and master basic and advanced acting techniques.

Acting schools in Los Angeles, like The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio have trained hundreds of acting students, to help them get discovered as key talents in the industry for the last decade. It also helps when you can get referenced by a seasoned coach,  who also has networking opportunities with numerous directors and recruiting managers in the Los Angeles vicinity.

Acting workshops  also allow actors and actresses to practice to perfection, in dedicated groups. This means that when it comes time to audition – all nerves will be intact, and the performances will flow naturally.

Nowadays, it seems that all it takes to get discovered is a viral video. That’s one way of doing it, but there’s also the tried and true method , which is – honing one’s raw talent in an acting school, enlisting the help of a talent manager, and auditioning in front of the world’s most revered acting directors, right in the center of Hollywood.

Elizabeth Mestnik’s Acting Studio can help you get discovered, by first schooling, and then helping with recruiting trained, professional actors and actresses from beginner to advanced levels. This is whether you want to be discovered for serial commercials, theatre, or movies in different genres.