Category Archives Acting Studio

5 Tips for Successful Self-Tapes

1. Create a non-verbal moment before the lines start. Before the first line is spoken create a response to the moment before. This will draw the viewer in before the speaking even starts.

2. Craft before you memorize. Knowing more about your character, what they want and why they say what they say will make memorization easier.

3. Introduce yourself in your slate – don’t announce or present yourself but think about how you would introduce yourself at a dinner party. Keep it warm and friendly.

4. Be in response to your scene partner. Remember you are being seen even when you are not talking.

5. Keep your eyeline close to the camera. However, don’t look directly into the lens. If you talk to more than one character, use sticky notes to mark your eyeline.

Acting and Basketball

As my students know – I think in metaphors. They pop out of my mouth on a regular basis. One of my favorites is the comparing actor training to athletic training. A lot of actors don’t see the disciplines as similar – as though being a great actor is some sort of mysterious gift that you are born with or not., but being an athlete is something that you can develop. Kobe Bryant’s work ethic was legendary. He was famous for his 5am-7am workouts in high school. No one got to practice before him or left after him. He fine-tuned both his body and his skills. He made sure his body was able to do everything he needed it to, whether it was greater speed or the strength to match up against a LeBron James. He found that type of intense preparation fun! Without that work ethic and a love of the process – he might have just been another talented high school player. That’s the physical side of his training.

For actors, day in and day out work on flexibility, using the breath, emotional access and strengthening the voice is important so they can consistently meet the emotional and physical demands of the work. Do you have an argument scene? Will you be able to take multiple takes yelling at the top of your lungs without damaging your voice? Will you be able to repeatedly access emotional moments and not dry up? Can you handle the tongue twisting dialogue of a medical drama or a Shakespearean play? We stretch, do yoga, study voice, do articulation exercises and work out our imaginations and emotional temperaments every day to get in actor shape – so that whatever the scene requires, our body, our voice and our emotional life is ready to convey it.

What’s the actor equivalent of Kobe’s workout? His famous 1000 shots a day? In the Meisner Technique – it’s our repetition exercises. At least 1000 moments daily of connection and focus, deep listening, and riding impulses. This exercise has the actor repeatedly being affected by every little nuance they receive. Working on these exercises every day removes defense mechanisms and gets actors out of their heads so that being spontaneously reactive is in the muscle memory. It allows actors to feel deeply with no fear of showing those feelings to the camera or audience. As any athlete knows – the minute you engage the intellect on the court is the minute you miss a shot. The minute you think about your performance you are no longer living through something truthfully in the imaginary circumstances. Kobe also made sure to continue working on his strength and flexibility because it’s not enough to just be able to make the shots, you need your body to be able to handle the demands of 48 minutes of running, jumping and physical tussles with opponents. Actors need to be able to handle 8 shows a week and grueling emotional and physical demands.

But there is more than the physical side of basketball and acting. In acting we call it the craft. It is all the stuff you need to do before the opening night or the big game to be completely free and at your best. Crafting means breaking down a script into beats, objectives and actions, using personalization to connect to the stakes and understand the emotions of a scene, and researching to help interpret a character. Actors need to be insatiably curious about those characters, learning how to effectively research the time, place and genre that character lives in or the performance will fall flat. The same way a great athlete spends time breaking down a defense an opponent and referee positions, actors break down dialogue, characters, and storyline. The important thing for both an actor and an athlete to remember is that once the performance begins you can’t be working on any of this – you either prepared enough or you didn’t – and it’s time for the instrument to take over – the muscle memory to step in.

So, at EMAS we are always reminding our actors that they need a finely tuned instrument as well as the ability to craft personally and effectively. It is not enough to just know the plays and understand the opponent, without being strong, flexible, and able to work instinctively – your basketball prowess will only go so far. Actors who have all the craft training but lack emotional availability, a dexterous voice, an expressive body or imaginative stamina will not engage their audience. The story might make sense – but it won’t compel anyone to watch.
I like to leave my students with this quote from the Black Mamba himself:
“Those times when you get up early and you work hard. Those times you stay up late, and you work hard. Those times when you don’t feel like working. You’re too tired. You don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream.” – Kobe Bryant

A lot of people say they want to be great, but they’re not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness. They have other concerns, whether important or not, and they spread themselves out. That’s totally fine. After all, greatness is not for everybody.” – Kobe Bryant.

“The mindset isn’t about seeking a result—it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life. I do think that it’s important, in all endeavors, to have that mentality.”

“A lot of players don’t understand the game or the importance of footwork, spacing. It’s to the point where if you know the basics, you have an advantage on the majority of players.”

Many actors are given gifts. It is clear that with James his dedication and work ethic is what has made him one of the best to ever play.

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio Returns to In-Person Classes at new studio location in North Hollywood Arts District

Los Angeles, CA, March 5, 2022 – The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio (EMAS) has moved to their new studio home in the vibrant North Hollywood Arts District.

EMAS had to close its Studio City location due to the pandemic and the need to shift to online training. EMAS returned to in-person classes in July of 2021.

“Although we have been offering in-person classes for the past 8 months, we didn’t have our own home. We were graciously welcomed by a number of North Hollywood theatres to hold our classes there, but it feels so good to have our own location again.” says owner Elizabeth Mestnik.

EMAS is already offering their full 2-year Professional Meisner Program as well as Scene Study and Acting Technique for Beginners.

The Summer Meisner Technique Intensive will start June 27th, 2022 and is currently accepting applications.
Director/Owner Elizabeth Mestnik explained “As the Covid-19 numbers continue to drop we look forward to returning to offering our full offerings of classes including Movement, Voice, Audition Technique and Shakespeare by the fall.”
The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio is now located at 4713 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91602.

About EMAS
Founded in 2001 by Elizabeth Mestnik, EMAS is celebrating its 21st year as a boutique, training program in Los Angeles. EMAS is for serious actors who want the rigors of a true 2-year Meisner Training program in a personalized environment. Since its inception EMAS trained actors have worked in television, film and theatre and have found representation from some of Los Angeles’ top managers and agents. EMAS is also proud to be recommended by CBS and backstage as one of LA’s premier training programs.
As Alumni Charles Michael Davis said “My best was demanded every class. The program is challenging enough that it really prepared me for the demands of working on set. Set seems easy compared to what we did at EMAS!”

For More Information about The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio contact us at [email protected] or visit the website at www.emasla.com

Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio
4713 Lankershim Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91602

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio Returns to In-Person Classes while maintaining popular Online Option

L.A.’s Top Meisner Training Program will be offering classes at The Two Roads Theatre in Studio City this summer.

Los Angeles, CA, May 14, 2021 – The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio (EMAS) will be returning to in-person acting classes this summer with their 5-week Summer Meisner Technique Intensive.

In-Person Intensive will start July 7th, and be held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Two Roads Theatre from 10am – 1pm.

Online Intensive will start June 14th, and will be held on zoom on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4pm.

Elizabeth Mestnik explained, “We are so happy that the Covid-19 numbers have dropped low enough in LA that we are able to offer in person classes. We had incredible online programs this past year, and we will continue to offer those for people who aren’t able to join us in Los Angeles, but returning to in-person has our entire faculty excited to be able to do this work face to face. We are ready to prepare our actors for the full return of our film, television and theater industry”

Covid-19 protocols will be strictly enforced. Applicants for the in-person classes do have to show proof of vaccination to maintain the safest possible training environment. Class size has been reduced and classes have moved to The Two Road Theatre : 4348 Tujunga Blvd in Studio City to offer a larger training space to adhere to LA County protocols.

About EMAS
Founded in 2001 by Elizabeth Mestnik, EMAS is celebrating its 20th year as a boutique, training program for serious actors who want the rigors of a true 2-year Meisner Training program in a supportive yet challenging environment. Since its inception EMAS trained actors have worked in television, film and theatre and have found representation from some of Los Angeles’ top managers and agents. EMAS is also proud to be recommended by CBS and backstage as one of LA’s premier training programs.

As Alumni Charles Michael Davis said “My best was demanded every class. The program is challenging enough that it really prepared me for the demands of working on set. Set seems easy compared to what we did at EMAS!”

For More Information about The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio contact us at [email protected] or visit the website at www.emasla.com

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.

Why EMAS’s Conservatory Training Program?

I DO NOT WANT YOU TO GO INTO DEBT! 

 DO YOU HEAR ME?  

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.

I DO NOT WANT THAT TO BE YOU!

 

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
backstage
CBS

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.

1) SUMMER MEISNER TECHNIQUE INTENSIVE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

THIS IS A NECESSARY PART OF YOUR WORK.

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.

When:

Starts Monday June 24th for 6 weeks

Mondays — 2pm to 4:30pm

Enrollment Fee: $280

Where: 

EMAS
11423 Moorpark St
North Hollywood, CA 91602

Register: www.emasla.com/registration