New York After LA: Natasha Weiner

byNatasha Wiener

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The Meisner acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio provides actors with the tools they need to succeed as professional actors. Natasha Weiner, an actor in the two year program, talks about the difference between acting classes in LA and actor training in New York.

LA Acting Classes and New York Acting Programs – Natasha Weiner Interview

two year meisner acting program interview - maggie flanigan studio

Two-Year Meisner Acting Program – Natalie Weiner Interview – Maggie Flanigan (917) 789-1599

Q: What did you think it meant to train as an actor before you started the Meisner acting program this summer?

A: I did not think it meant what this class was; that’s for sure. I pursued acting in LA years before. The format was, you’re given a scene, you have a new partner each class, you do the scene, you rehearse it, you perform it, and then once you perform it, you get some feedback on how it went and what you could’ve done differently. That’s the whole class. When I got here, I knew there was a technique to it because I knew Meisner’s technique. There was more to it than just scenes. Upon coming here, I have never been so exhausted my entire life, but in the best possible way. There’s a lot more work in-depth to it than I ever would have imagined. I understand the process of acting so much different and so much better than I did before.

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"I have never been so exhausted in my entire life, but it's in the best possible way. There's a lot more in-depth work to this than I ever would have imagined. I understand the process of acting so much different and so much better than I did before."

Natasha WeinerMeisner Acting Program

Q: Have you ever studied Meisner Acting before, or this is your first time working with Meisner technique?

A: I’ve never studied Meisner before. This is my first time. I knew of the Meisner technique, and I also knew that there were other ones in addition to him. I didn’t know officially what it meant. I think I knew the overarching theme of what it was. I knew what method acting was. I knew I didn’t like that. I knew of Meisner, but I didn’t understand fully what that meant until getting here. I love the approach so much better. It’s a lot healthier. I didn’t know. I’ve certainly learned.

Q: Why did you decide to take the six-week Meisner summer intensive?

A: Fun story. I go to another person in the building. I remember being in the elevator one day, and I saw somebody holding sides in the elevator. I’m like, “I wonder what that is.” That was, I thought last summer. I guess I was waiting to see that again. Eventually, my roommate had a friend who was here, who I saw in the elevator, who I had no context would be in the program, but I knew that he was an actor. Finally, I was leaving the building one day, and I’m like, you know what? I want to like to study the directory, see what it could be. I found Maggie Flanagan. I looked into it. I’m like, “This is what it is. I’m just going to apply.” All the reviews and everything that I had ever heard was excellent. I figured out what could be wrong? That’s how I found Maggie.

Q: What happened during the summer acting program that changed the way you think about professional actor training and acting in general?

A: Oh, my God. My emotions are like a loose cannon now, is really what changed me. I was talking with Karen. She’s like, “We’re just cleaning up the pipes. It’s fine. It won’t be like this forever.” What changed me, honestly, the approach to acting in general, and what it genuinely means to be an artist. I always hear people throw the word artist around. I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s so stupid. No one’s an artist in acting. Everyone’s just doing it.” Because that’s all, I had learned about acting. I knew that I loved the idea of acting being organic and natural, but this approach genuinely embodies what it means to be organic and natural. I love that so much that this crafting allows me to incorporate that nature of work in approaching it. The change was not so much understanding what it means to be organic or natural to acting, but understanding the process of how to get there and how to bring yourself to whatever role you do.

Q: What about the Meisner Technique has resonated with you the most?

The thing that’s resonated with me the most is, don’t force emotion. Don’t force yourself to feel some way. If you think it’s fantastic, ok. If you don’t, you don’t. Don’t beat yourself up about that, because I tend to do that. I think it’s just, sees what happens, see how it goes, but be open to feeling whatever it is you’re feeling, and be open to the fact that nothing might happen as well. That’s okay. That’s taking me a long time to get there. I think that that is essential in this technique because if you’re not open, you won’t feel anything ever. If you are open, the possibility is quite vast.

I’ve learned that going to therapy is very beneficial. This is almost a different kind of treatment because it forces you to come face to face with your emotions in a way that you might not necessarily have done before. I find that to be inspiring and liberating.

Banner 2 Year Meisner Acting Program Begins at the Maggie Flanigan Studio

2 Year Meisner Acting Program Registration – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: How important has the community been to your experience here?

A: It’s been fantastic. Honestly, I had no idea I was going to meet such an impressive group of humans because throughout, it’s not for everybody. Some people have left, and that’s okay. The thing that I’ve loved is just getting to know everyone and seeing where everyone comes from and their background, and you’re getting to be there to discover their true colors, while they’re there. Everyone is kind and supportive, and everyone is out to accomplish the same thing. It’s not while, of course, by nature that business is competitive in the environment. It’s really how do we motivate each other to do our best work, or how do we support each other. I think that’s been a beautiful place to go and to lean on when things in the class can really– when you can struggle and feel like you’re at a hard place. It’s nice to have met the people, and everyone’s been amazing.

Q: How is the training at Maggie Flanagan Studio different than the training or the classes you’ve taken previously in LA?

A: It’s different because from what I’ve taken in LA, I’ve done improv, and I’ve done actual acting classes, also workshops. The acting classes that I’ve done are very surface level; there’s no depth to it. It’s very much, “Okay, here’s your scene. Let’s see what you can do, and then we’ll go over it.” Not even critique it even, it’s just, “We’ll go over it and see what you could have done better, what probably didn’t work and why you’re making these decisions or whatever.” It doesn’t teach you how to improve yourself as an actor, it just shows you different scenes, and I guess, what you think they mean and how to approach it.

Whereas here, the approach is, we’ll get to scenes in a minute, but what does it mean to be a human being, and then apply that to text, because once you can be a human being, you can be a human being in text. To me, everyone’s mind is like you read a script, like, “Oh, I know exactly what that means,” but it could genuinely be different every single time because it could be a scene about being angry, but you might not necessarily feel as mad. It might invoke another emotion out of the person versus what in theory it should. The approach to the other classes I’ve taken is not focused on the craft, whereas in Meisner, it’s all about that.

two year acting program interview - maggie flanigan studio - Mata Barr 02

Two Year Professional Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan (917) 789-1599

Q: How would you describe your experience with Charlie?

A: Oh, my God. Charlie is a hard a**, but in the best possible way, he will push you to your limit. I’ve heard people say that and I’m like all right, whatever, that’s fine. Oh, my God, I’ve never been so exhausted my entire life, but again, in the best possible way, because you’re pushing yourself to see what you’re capable of. Charlie has been so good at criticizing you. Well, criticizing everyone, so that’s good, but to a point where it’s not meant to frustrate you. It’s not meant to hurt you or make it difficult. It’s intended for you to struggle and figure out how to get there because if it’s just given to you, it’s not going to be difficult, you’re going to forget how to do it, and it’s not going to resonate with you authentically.

I like to say, nothing worth having is easy. Charlie, I think embodies that, because being in this class, I’ve learned that he’ll say something over and over again, like, what does that mean? I don’t understand. Then finally, it’ll just click and like, I don’t get how I didn’t see that. That was so stupid. It’s nice to have someone who he’s there to train you because he genuinely believes in it rather than someone who is, “I tried pursuing it, I didn’t do well. I’m going to make some money off of it. Let me do it. I think there’s a real passion behind there, and that shows in the work, even when it doesn’t feel like it because to be criticized is hard especially when you’re not used to receiving it, but the criticism is not meant to put you down. It’s intended to empower you and figure out what makes you good, and if this is something you can do.

Being with Charlie has been exceptionally eye-opening, in that regard.

Q: There are a lot of studies in Manhattan. What would you say to a student who is thinking about studying here but is worried about the time?

A: To a person who is worried about time, yes, it’s time-consuming. It’s three times a week, and you have to meet with your partner in between. It’s every single day basically for six weeks, so yes, it’s a commitment. If you don’t have that time, you’re not going to get everything you need at the class. That’s the first thing. What was the other thing? In terms of taking other acting classes, being that I’ve taken others, and if you’ve never taken another acting class, don’t expect this to be what you think it’s going to because it’s not.

It’s not. It’s going to be hard. You’re not going to like it, but you have to be open to the fact that it’s going to be hard, and you won’t initially like it because you’re being put in a position that you haven’t been put in probably ever. If you haven’t taken an acting class, it’s terrific. It’s fantastic. I can’t say that enough, but if you’ve never taken something else, and you think, “It’ll just be easy.” It’s not that. It’s not that. You have to work for it here. If you’re looking to take a class and get some feedback, you can go anywhere else around the city to get that.

If that’s what you want, that’s what you want. Just know, even if you have taken an acting class, this will be so beneficial because you have to want to do better. If you’re going somewhere else, and you think, “It’s just going to be easy.” It’s not. That’s all I have to say, but it’s not always going to be so hard I’m going to hate doing the work. It’s going to be so hard that you’re going to have to invest the time. You’re going to have to invest the effort and the energy and the emotion to want to do it. If all of those things pulled through, I think the results can be beneficial, and hopefully wanting to do more.

students in class during the two year acting program - maggie flanigan studio - caleb 02

Two Year Acting Program in New York – Maggie Flanigan Studio (917) 789-1599

Maggie Flanigan Studio Acting Programs

To learn more about the acting programs and the acting classes at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, visit the studio website https://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/. Students who have questions about enrollment can call the studio at (917) 789-1599.

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Acting ProgramThe Meisner Technique

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The Maggie Flanigan Studio has the best summer acting program in New York and the United States for serious actors who are interested in the Meisner Technique.
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