Why Start the Two Year Acting Program in January?

byGil Rodriguez

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students talk about the benefits of starting the two year program in January

January Two-Year Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 789-1599

The professional actor training program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio is a two-year acting program that starts twice a year. Students can enroll in January and September. In this interview, three students talk about the January class in the two-year acting program.

Q: What was it like starting the two-year acting program in January?

This means you’re starting in January and then it goes January until the end of July. You only have one month off and you start the second year. It’s basically completing the program in 18 months instead of the full two years.

A: It was hard, of course. Cannot talk about the obvious. It was hard because, at one point in the year, you’re not going to class just twice, you’re going three times a week. But I think it’s so beneficial because it just made you become this workhorse that you weren’t before and how fast and no brakes. You always hear about how fast you’ve got to make choices for auditions and whatnot. It forced you to just be creative, be on your toes, and be impulsive. I think, with acting, you’ve got to be impulsive. I think, overall, it was just training you for the better. To be on your impulses, to be creative, to work hard– all the great stuff. You know? Yes, all the great stuff.

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A huge benefit to starting the acting program in January is that the program is less than two years. The biggest benefit of the January class is having Karen Chamberlain as our acting teacher.

Gil RodriguezStudent, Two Year Acting Program

A huge benefit is– It’s shorter. That was a huge thing for me when I first signed up. I was like, “Oh, great, I’m not really doing two years.”

It made me feel better and you get Karen, which is huge. When I first signed up, I totally thought that was going to be a downfall of signing up in January. Because I was like, “She’s not the head teacher. They probably just brought in some person who has less experience in–” No. I think we all doubt that–

I feel so happy that we had Karen. She’s amazing, huge resource. And then having Karen and Charlie, having both of them. So you’ve had a little bit different experience in the teaching has been– I definitely wouldn’t have changed my choice to start in January, because I got to be with Karen.


Yes, and to bring back home what they said, it is difficult to start and– the first year, it’s shorter, but it’s also a lot of work and you need to be on top of everything that you do. You can’t half-*** anything. That’s not what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re supposed to be doing everything the teacher tells you to, you have to take it into consideration because it’s what makes you stronger as an actor. It makes you be on your feet constantly and just choose what you need to do in a very specific way. I think that’s the most beautiful watching my partners and my peers for the first year of January, just watch them grow and become these beautiful human beings before my eyes. Just watching them cry and watching them be humans was beautiful.

Q: What would you say is the single biggest benefit of starting in January instead of September?

If you had to pick one thing, I know there’s a lot, but if you had to pick one thing, what was it for you personally?

A: I don’t have to think about it, to be honest. Personally, I would say the biggest benefit is having Karen Chamberlain as our acting teacher.

Yes. Honestly, yes, she is extraordinary. She’s an amazing teacher and going from her to Charlie is just great because you have two different perspectives about the same exact work, but the bars are the exact same. The way they go about it is different- which is crazy because the standards are the same, but they just have a different approach to everything. Karen’s way of teaching was just amazing. You learned so much from her.

When Charlie would come in to watch the scenes, he would give us the exact same notes that she was giving us, so you know that you’re not missing out on anything. If only, it’s benefitting you more because when you get to Charlie, you have a different perspective. When we get out of here, we’re going to work with people that we have no idea who they are and they’re going to be telling us what to do, what not to do. So having two different perspectives was, I think, the biggest benefit that I could have.

Kren Chmaberlain teaches acting class in the two year acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Karen Chamberlain – Two Year Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call 917-789-1599

Q: What single word would you use to describe Karen as an acting teacher?

A: Supportive, I think, which is funny because that’s almost outside of the acting world. I feel like it’s a given that she’s amazing at what she does and that she’s one of the best at teaching, but outside of that she’s incredibly supportive– and I don’t pride myself on being someone who needs a lot of support but when you need it, because there may be a time or two that you need support. She was phenomenal at listening and just being able to be whatever you needed at that time, she steps up to do that.

two year acting programs - Maggie Flanigan (917) 789-1599

Two Year Acting Program – Karen Chamberlain

For me, there are so many different things I can say about Karen, but she’s just a beautiful human being. She really helped me. I mean, she helped all of us but my relationship with Karen and the way that she is with me as a teacher, I definitely grew a lot. She taught me so much. She taught all of us a lot, but I struggled a lot at the beginning and when I look back now it just makes me– it’s just really wonderful that I now know how to be very patient with myself and know how to love myself more and be more serious about how I am as an individual in anything that I do. I think beautiful is definitely a word for me for Karen. She’s great. She’s wonderful.

So many ways to describe her. Definitely passionate, I think. Passionate about what she’s doing. There are so many times where you’re working so hard. The first year, I mean January, is really tough. It’s fast-paced. You’re like, “Oh, did this happen last week or three months ago?” You really don’t know where your mind is and there are times where maybe you just want to take a break, but then you think about Karen. How she shows up every single day to teach us and for three hours, she’s giving every student her undivided attention, because of how passionate she is about the work. She’s just so passionate and if she can do it that just motivates you to want to come in and give her the same respect that she’s giving you. The same passion. The same hard work that she’s putting into it. All the hours she’s thinking about it. You want to do the same. I think that that helps so much with the work because having a bad day in class, you sort of feel like you disappointed her. It’s like a discipline where you’re like, “D***, I didn’t want to do that. I’ve got to be better next time. I don’t want to let Karen leave disappointed.” You know? That stems from her passion for it.

Q: How has her insight changed the way you think about what it means to be an actor?

A: She had us write this, it’s like three different cards with three different questions.

One of the questions she asked, “What is the job of an actor?” I remember writing a whole page on what I thought the job of an actor was. We all read them aloud the last day of class and then she goes, “So, what is the job of an actor?” In the simplest way, she says, “To create behavior.” She put it in a simple way. Then I realized that it’s just, yes, it’s simple, but it’s not. All the first year, that insight and hard work into the craft is for you to be able to create behavior. I think for you to create authentic, organic, interesting behavior, you have to put in that hard work into your craft. She gave me that insight into how hard you have to work at what you’re doing. You have to instill that in yourself and go after each and every single day. I mean, when we get out of here, the class is over but the whole day we’re just still thinking about acting, and acting, and acting. I mean, we’re texting all the time. Literally, every day we’re texting and talking about, “Hey. What do you think about this? What do you think about that?” She just instilled the work ethic that I thought I had and just showed me that I didn’t and instilled that in me.

I think something I really discovered the first year was that this is kind of sad. It’s that an insight into acting was that you didn’t have to be this sad, suffering artist or not have confidence in your work. I want to be confident in what I do and I feel way more confident now. Even just after the first year. We haven’t even finished yet. I feel excited some days to get out there and do what I love. You don’t have to beat yourself up every single time you have an audition. You can have tools and feel good about what you’re going to do and what you did in an audition or in any type of work. I think it just kind of opened my eyes to that. I don’t have to live in fear or self-hate.

I feel like there was one specific moment where Karen was just like, “Oh, how beautiful is it for your partner to just yell at you and you’re just breaking down.” Because I’m not one to like break down. I mean, now I’m just crying everywhere, I’m just like on the floor sobbing. Just, creating behavior, being on top of everything that you need to do and just noticing what people do to push your buttons and that’s a beautiful thing that you can never get from another actor or just like, “I know where to pick your buttons girl and I’m going to make you have like–” And it’s not even like, “All right, now I learned to start crying.” But no, it just happens naturally because it hits your dramatic cord. As actors, it helps us just be better and we learn from each other every single day. And that’s what mean for me, my inside is in first and second.

two year acting program - Maggie Flanigan (917) 789-1599

Students Wait Outside Acting Studio – Two Year Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan (917) 789-1599

Apply Today for Admission to the Two Year Acting Program

The January class is an 18-month acting program in NYC that includes all of the professional acting classes that comprise the entire two-year acting program. To schedule, an interview with Charlie, visit the website (https://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/) and call the studio during normal business hours at 917-789-1599.

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