The Unavoidable Meisner Process
The New York summer acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio includes the Six-Week Meisner Summer Intensive. The acting intensive is based on the training that Sanford Meisner created to teach professional actors. Here in this video, Andrel McPherson discusses the acting program.
Andrel McPherson Interview: New York Summer Acting Program
Q: Andrel, what did you think it meant to train as an actor before you started the Six-Week Summer Intensive at the Maggie Flanigan Studio?
A: I thought it was about taking your own time to read as many plays as possible, studying other actors and then getting on stage and just figuring it out for yourself and hoping that a moment happens or you feel something by yourself. I had no idea nor did I ever imagine that it would take so much of myself to bring it out there then, which makes sense. Before you started doing work like this, you think that you’re doing that and then when you start doing it, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, that’s a lot more work than I thought it would be.”
Q: Well, what do you think it means now to train?
A: Making everything so personal for yourself and being able to focus tremendously on, not yourself, but what everyone else is giving you in the moment, which is hard because you’re always in your head. You’re trying to make sure that you’re giving the best to them, but then you have to feel it and be in that moment, paying attention to every single detail which is exhausting when you’re starting off this type of training. I guess just the most significant thing I’ve taken away from this is trying to pay attention to my point of view and how I’m feeling in a moment and how I can express that improv through whatever.
Q: What happened throughout the six weeks that changed your perspective on acting and training?
A: Charlie going off on me. It was exactly what I needed. Not because I didn’t realize, I did not know that it would take that much out of me until someone was just like, “You’re giving us a lot of bull, let’s not do that anymore.” Then there was this moment where I’m like, “Crap, but no, I want this. I want to try.” Then you continue to dig deeper and deeper in yourself. That’s when you find one little nugget of something, and it’s like, “Okay. I see it now. I see what he was talking about.” A lot of those good moments.
Q: What did you learn about yourself, that was a surprise or that changed you?
A: How willing I am to be open? I wasn’t expecting myself to allow so much of someone else to come into me just because that’s not how the world works. We’re huge on trying to protect everything that we have. To know that I have it in me to pay attention and to experience what someone else is feeling and giving me was honestly just– It’s so exciting.
Q: Now that you’ve just trained for the past six weeks with the Meisner technique what resonates with you the most?
A: Process, really and truly, knowing that there has to be one and there’s just no way around it because everything else in life has a process. I don’t know why I thought that I couldn’t be any different.
I’m so mad about myself. I’ve wasted so much time, but it’s okay.
Q: A lot of people do have that misconception about being an actor.
A: Exactly. Yes, the process would be it for me. It’s so exciting to know that there is one and it’s working for me. It’s not just something I made up on my own. It’s like there is tradition behind it. There’s the reasoning behind it. There’s an explanation for everything as to why you should do it and why you shouldn’t. It’s literally like you’re given a map to go out and have fun.
Q: You’re also a writer. How has what you’ve learned throughout these six weeks helped you as a writer and not just an actor?
A: I don’t write about what I don’t care about anymore if that makes sense. It’s straightforward to get caught up in writing what you think you should be writing about. If anything, I learned in Meisner that what I think I care about and what I care about are two completely different things. It’s been nice to see myself be a lot rawer and honest with what I’m writing and not being so afraid to put it on the page and being comfortable with all ugly sides of myself, all pretty sides, just like every form that there is in me.
Q: You’ve also studied at other studios with other teachers. What’s been the most significant difference between Maggie Flanigan and other studios?
A: The attention and the dedication to not caring about ego and just being there and putting in the work to make sure that I’m putting in my work. It’s easy at other places that I’ve trained at to get lost in the crowd there. Charlie was just so adamant about giving everyone their time and making sure that you had what you needed. He wasn’t trying to do it off of the whole class. It’s an individual. It helped you grow in the way that you needed to build, and not necessarily in what other people may need.
Here, there has been so much attention, so much specificity as to what I needed which is what I came here for. It’s been great just having someone and a group of artists, able to hone in on what I could bring out of myself.
Q: What about the sense of community within your class?
A: They’re my family. I love so many of them now. It’s been- oh, gosh. I love them. I do. I can’t believe– For one, it’s bizarre now that we can talk about whatever we want to because you break down so many of the walls. In the first two weeks, you’ll cry [laughs] for whatever reason. That was just like, “You know things about me that my own family doesn’t know about me.” It’s been so rewarding to be a part of this environment, which is another reason why I love acting. You’re always steadily building a new family. I have another one now.
Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?
A: Charlie is fantastic. He is so tough. You will walk away from some classes feeling down, but you have to remember that it’s never out of place of malice. He’s just really not going to give you any crap about what he thinks that you need. The man knows what he’s doing, I think, at least from my perspective. He’s been so tough when needed, but also so soft when I needed him to.
It’s almost scary where he knows the line. Like right when I’m like really getting into my head, that’s when he’ll say something that I need to hear. He is good at balancing, and I would say — a great, great person to learn from.
Q: What would you say to someone who says, “Oh, I don’t need more training,” or, “It’s too expensive?
A: If you think you don’t need class then I’m sorry for you. You always need to be training. Always. Even the greats say that. You can’t ever stop, ever. If you don’t think you have the money, that’s such a hard thing, but it’s worth it. I guess, really worth it. I know in the beginning, I was like, “Oh my God. Am I doing this? Am I about to drop this money?” Now, here I am and I would drop it all over again if I had it and if I could. Every time, I would. It’s been so giving to what I’m trying to work towards. It’s been more so an investment thing like, “Is it worth the money?”
Q: You are moving to LA in a few weeks?
Q: How do you feel going out there? Do you feel more confident than you did six weeks ago?
Interviewee: I feel excited, very excited to know that now I have this other part of me to bring over there. I also have the knowledge that I want to keep training. I’m going out there, and I’m not just going to be doing what I was doing before and just sitting around and waiting for a blessing to fall on my lap. It’s a good feeling to know that I’m going over somewhere else with all this energy, all this excitement, and I’m pumped. Yes, I’m excited for sure.
The New York Summer Acting Program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio
Learn more about the New York Summer Acting Program at the Maggie Flanigan studio by visiting the acting program and acting classes page on the studio website ( https://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/ ). Actors who are interested in the programs at the studio should apply online and call the studio with questions by calling (917) 789-1599.
from Meisner Acting – The Maggie Flanigan Studio New York NY – 917-789-1599 – Feed https://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/summer-acting-programs/andrel-mcpherson/
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