What Does It Mean To Have A Physical Presence When Acting on Film?

byMaggie Flanigan

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The Meisner acting technique often refers to something known as the actors instrument. While directors and actors are sometimes at odds due to creative differences, the truth is actors are the instruments, the components, that make up a successful production with a director as a conductor. Actors are the most important element of the overall “symphony” known as The Story, the instruments directors use to effectively tell that story. The actors instrument is what the actor uses to channel the vision of the writer and director, creating the most artful, interesting character they can to make the vision a reality. Actors who have worked hard to develop their actors instrument are the ones who most often enrich a story, by bringing complex, interesting characters to the vision.

Instruments are made to create beautiful sound, while actors must express uniquely human characteristics using many different forms of expression. Expressions, both internal and external, are what Meisner technique actors work hard to develop and integrate into an “instrument” they can use as actors. The aspects of the actors instrument can be grouped into six general categories known as Sensory expression, Imagination, Intelligence, Physical expression, Empathy and emotion. By mastering as many of these aspects as possible, and working hard at developing all of them, an actor has the ability to take on any role. Some of the most successful, award winning actors have mastered all six of these forms of expression.

The Maggie Flanigan Studio provides acting classes in NYC for serious actors. Find out more about meisner acting nyc at the studio website or read this article about emotional preparation.

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