All posts by Elizabeth Mestnik

Chad’s Reflections on Day One of Meisner

Chad, one of our students in the Meisner Technique program, shares his thoughts after the first day of class – how it compared to his expectations and what struck him.

Tricky New Year’s Resolutions

2020 Resolutions Banner

Let me tell you why I decided that this year I would approach my New Year’s Resolutions a week or 2 after the first 1st.  New Year’s Resolutions are a tricky thing for me. You too? On one hand, it’s an opportunity to start off fresh – aspirational, clean slate type of thing.  On the other hand, we are making these life choices amidst a very hectic, emotionally-charged time that can offer us some real challenges.  We might not be in the best mind set to be taking personal inventory or thinking critically about the direction of our lives.  For me, the holidays are fun but EXHAUSTING and OVERSTIMULATING. They are so far from the other 340 days of the year, we have 7 birthdays in my family, as well as Hanukkah,
Christmas and New Year…Yikes!   Why do I try to take stock of myself in a state of anxiety triggered by airports, crowded shopping malls, work obligations, aging parents, the extra 5 (I’m being kind here) pounds, 3 WEEKS of winter vacation for my kids (thank you so much LAUSD), wine, sugar…

And I really wonder why I can’t keep my New Year’s Resolution?  Why should I keep a resolution a crazy lady made? And when I “fall of the wagon”?  The crazy lady is gone, and the real me gets to deal with all the lousy feelings of not keeping these resolutions yet again. 

I am going to assume that I am not alone in this yearly ritual.

That being said, I do think there is a lot of value in looking back at your life and wanting to make changes for the better… so this year I really wanted to help myself be successful… I decided I would wait a week or two before attempting these commitments … let life return to some semblance of what I see the other 11 months of the year, get some sleep, detox a bit. 

And as a side note…I hate the word resolution – resolute – it implies to me something very finite, unwavering, with no room for human foibles, or the inevitable small slip-up. It says to me that it’s about will power, that if we wanted something badly enough we could exert enough will power to make it happen. And if you don’t – you’re weak.  But studies are showing that will power is not usually the best approach to reaching our goals and changing our behaviors. – See I’ve been doing a lot of reading on this subject in anticipation of the year 2020, and I’d like to share just a few things I’ve learned.

At EMAS – we have a class called The Actor’s Life. On the first day we learned that the main thing my students felt was hindering their acting career was a feeling of overwhelm.  Between training, creating projects, survival jobs, auditions and the business aspect of the entertainment industry, they are going 20 different directions. This creates stressors from so many directions that it can create a feeling of anxiety that becomes so strong you feel paralyzed, unable to make ANY decisions.  Where you end up doing nothing or nothing well. So, one of the first exercises I decided to do is called Value Ranking. Values are priorities that tell you how to spend your time, right here, right now. They are often tied to our sense of who we are in the world and what we aspire to be to the world.  

In class we did an exercise that helped us narrow down our top values, literally pitting one value up against another to rank them in order of personal importance. Some of the values that were presented in class included

  • Career
  • Family time
  • Health
  • Creativity
  • Freedom
  • Gratitude
  • Financial Stability
  • Decisiveness

Once you land on your top 3 or 5 or 10 personal values, you can get help making difficult choices (like should I spend my time on this student film?) by putting your options up against your most important values. Will spending your time on something reinforce one of your top values?  Will a more important value be sacrificed by making that choice? It’s just a little guidepost that can keep you moving forward and avoid unhelpful detours. It can keep momentum moving forward, one decision at a time.

But values have also been proven to be helpful in making personal change (aka resolutions).  Goals that pertain to personal values (“I want to have more stamina so I can play with my kids”) are more often successful than those that have to do with self-image (“I want to look better in a bathing suit). The whole point of discovering your values is to improve the results you get in those areas that are truly most important to you.  So I am going to take time this week to reassess my values – try to get my top 5 clear in my head – so I can keep moving forward.

Next week I want share with you the other bit of cool info I learned about how to keep moving towards our New Year’s Resolutions Intentions.

Until then – how about you share with us some of the values you hope to bring into 2020…

Why EMAS’s Conservatory Training Program?



I HAVE SEEN TOO MANY TALENTED ACTORS LEAVE EXPEN$IVE BFA/MFA OR LOCAL CONSERVATORY PROGRAMS  with so much debt they never have the chance to really pursue an acting career.  Why?  Because they became slaves to their “survival job”.  Their loans came due and they couldn’t take the low or no paying opportunities that would give them performance experience and build a resume.  They were exhausted and lacked the time to prepare for auditions and got out of creative shape.



That is why EMAS is excited to offer this world-class actor training right here in the heart of the entertainment industry but literally for a third of the price. At the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio we offer complete actor training with some the most highly trained teachers in Los Angeles.  We know that each actor’s dream hinges on a mastery of the craft, self exploration and a relentlessly truthful instrument.  Our Conservatory Training Program offers Voice, Speech, Movement, Shakespeare and Business/Life skills classes that augment our central Meisner Technique Acting Classes.  

We have been offering these acclaimed acting classes for years.  This is the first year we are bundling them together for a Conservatory Curriculum.

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio has been ranked as one of LA’s top acting programs by

The Los Angeles Times

For us, it’s all about the training, not the bells and whistles.  Why will someone hire you?  Because you are great at what you do. So when we sat down and worked out the numbers – we really didn’t understand why a year of professional training in Los Angeles should cost you $17,000- $25,000 (not including living expenses). We have put together a thorough 19 hour/week curriculum that will cost you only $7600

Read more and apply for our Fall 2019 program here.

Acting Conservatory Program Banner


Summer Acting Conservatory Program 2019

EMAS LA Acting Workshop Program
This Summer, EMAS is offering a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in your craft through our Summer Conservatory program. This program bundles four of our acting workshops with the goal of helping you to develop the tools to take the next step in your acting career.

If you’re interested, please call us at 323-528-6280 or email [email protected] for more information and to schedule an interview.


When: JUNE 27– AUGUST 1, 2019

Session A: Monday & Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 10am
Session B: Tuesday & Thursday nights at 7pm & Saturday afternoons at 2pm

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!

Read more about the Meisner Technique.


2) Animal Work Movement Workshop

When:  Friday June 14th. @7-9pm, Saturday June 15th & Sunday June 16th @10 am- noon

Over the course of three days Caitlin will be taking you through movement/body exercises that will help you to build a deeper physical characterization of any role. It will deepen the understanding of the character as well as allow for you to have an open instrument through which behavior can be revealed. You will discover how it is that your animal moves through space, how it accesses sound, and truly identify their five senses. This is a fantastic way to create non-cliché, unpredictable, instinctive character choices that will set your acting choices apart.


3) Introduction to Williamson Movement Technique:

When: June 24th – July 29

Mondays — 2pm to 4:30pm

Using the fundamentals of the Williamson Technique, this class functions as a physical guide to help begin to identify your own unique habits of tension and to begin to let go of extraneous physical behavior. This technique was specifically designed for the actor studying The Meisner Technique, to integrate the philosophies and techniques of Meisner training into the body and voice. In doing so, you will become less physically cluttered, less self-conscious, and more capable of creating specific, unapologetic behavior with ease.


4) Introduction to Fitzmaurice® Voicework

When: July 10th – July 31s

Wednesdays 2 – 5pm

This class allows students to learn about the basic format and tenants of this effective voice technique. Fitzmaurice® Voicework is designed to let your body and voice work with freedom and full expression to access your creativity and emotional range. This 4- week workshop will introduce students to the ideas of de-structuring and re-stucturing as well bring attention to their own personal blocks and tensions in the work.

Read more about Fitzmaurice Voicework®.






Announcing: Introduction to The Williamson Technique

Introduction to The Williamson Technique (Level 1); A movement workshop for actors with Caitlin Rigney


The BENEFITS for your ACTING and LIFE are tremendous.

Work to get rid of TENSION, get to know and live in your BODY. Make friends with it and don’t let it limit your experience or acting. Your relationship to that work and your body is ONGOING, so even for those who have done movement in the past, we strongly recommend continuing that exploration with Caitlin and this work. 

It is imperative that you work on all areas of your instrument, including your vital voice and body. Many of you may have worked in other techniques with specific focuses on voice and/or body. This technique was specifically designed for the actor, to integrate the philosophies and techniques of Meisner training to the body and voice. Making yourself open, present, and available to what is going on around you – and translating that into instinctive behavior.


Starts Monday June 24th for 6 weeks

Mondays — 2pm to 4:30pm

Enrollment Fee: $280


11423 Moorpark St
North Hollywood, CA 91602



Animal Work Acting Workshop

EMAS Black Text Logo


Animal Work Acting Workshop

Exploring your character through Animal Work. 


Over the course of this three day acting workshop, Caitlin will be taking you through movement/body exercises that will help you to build a deeper physical characterization of any role. This is a fantastic way to create non-cliché, unpredictable, instinctive character choices. It will deepen the understanding of the character as well as allow for you to have an open instrument through which behavior can be revealed. You will discover how it is that your animal moves through space, how it accesses sound, and truly identify their five senses.

Both the scene and the animal you would like to work with is your choice (best if it is something you have worked on in the past).  Caitlin will ask you to really sit with the character and daydream on what type of animal you trust your character is. And to then email her letting her know the scene in which you are working on, your character and the animal you will be exploring in the workshop.  Your animal may even change after the first class and that is absolutely okay. 

Class size is limited to 14 students to maintain one-on-one instruction.


Friday June 14th.   @7-9pm

Saturday June 15th and Sunday June 16th @10 am- noon


Elizabeth Mestnik’s Acting Studio @ 11423 Moorpark Street

Instructor: Caitlin Rigney

Fee: $110

Register at

Announcing: Level 2 On Camera Technique Class

EMAS Black Text Logo


On Camera Technique Class – Level 2

July 10 – August 21, 2019

Available to all who have graduated from EMAS Professional Meisner Program and those who have taken On-Camera Technique 1

For the actor committed to successful film and television auditioning.

There are no scene partners, there are no excuses – this work is all you – on camera.

In Level 2 On Camera Technique, we delve more deeply into:

  • Scene structure and how to tell the story and find an effective “button” to the scene.
  • Creating an opening moment
  • The importance of your eyes and eyeline and how to use them  
  • Understanding the playing space and stillness and how it improves your game
  • Taking control of the audition room
  • How to handle physicality like a fight, eating, or a kiss in an audition
  • How to handle the callback

With the majority of all auditions for television and film requiring that the actor be put on camera for the casting director and/or producers to review, today’s working actor must possess a solid camera technique that is specific to the audition format. In this course strong cold-read and on-camera skills are developed as well as an empowered perspective of the casting process and a clear understanding of what it truly means to “own” the room.

WHEN: 7 Wednesdays @ 7:00pm

LOCATION: EMAS 11423 Moorpark Street, Studio City

TUITION: $380 ($200 deposit required to hold spot)


QUESTIONS: 323-528-6280