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Two Year Acting Program Interview – Aviona Carrigan

The two-year acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio is based on the Meisner technique, which was created by Sanford Meisner. In this interview, Aviona Carrigan talks about the two-year acting program and how she is changing personally and professionally.

two year acting program Aviona Carrigan 01

Two-year Acting Program Interview – Aviona Carrigan – Call (917) 794-3878

Q: Aviona, tell me about your background in acting.

A: I don’t have a background in acting but I danced for 15 years and trained that way and I model professionally.

Q: Before you came into Maggie Flanigan Studio, did you study anywhere else? Did you study the Meisner technique? What was that like for you?

A: Actually, I looked at several places before coming here. I spent a year and a half trying everything out. The first place I went to was a Meisner technique acting program. Some of the issues I found with that is that because I was a green actor, as they like to call me specifically, I was treated differently than most of the other students. It’s somewhat like a factory, really. I was just a number. I was like a paycheck for them. I didn’t really feel welcomed. Especially, with some of the other students, it felt very competitive when that’s not what I really wanted in a program. I wanted a home and a family and people to grow with.


I took acting classes at other studios in New York before I came here. I honestly feel Charlie was the best fit for me after speaking with him. He’s one of those people that will tell you how it is and will honestly tell you what you don't want to hear but what you need to hear and that's what you need.

Aviona CarriganTwo Year Acting Program

The second place I study wasn’t a Meisner-based program at all but I found that the students were lacking — what’s the right word for it? Motivation and wanting to actually put in the work and effort and everything in it, like they were just here to show up and here to play, it was like a hobby. I wanted somewhere that — one that felt like a family and everyone wanted to push each other and work together and grow.

Q: You studied in a Meisner program. You studied a couple different techniques, you mentioned. Why did you decide Meisner was the best one for you?

A: It was something that I noticed — focused on bringing myself to the world or to the character. It was like looking within you. I noticed that it helped me with my listening, it helped me with my communication. It really grounded me. The other places I found didn’t create a sense of foundation, it was more of like, “Here’s some cute like not cute,” but some tools and things that you can add but it didn’t have a foundation to add it to and that’s what I wanted.

Q: You mentioned you danced professionally or danced for 15 years, you model. A lot of people might just think, “Oh, I can just jump into acting.” Why did you decide to commit to a two-year training program instead of just jumping in?

A: I wanted to approach acting the same way that I had approached dance. I think it’s really important to — within dance, you start on the floor. You stretch and you build strength and then you move to the bar and you work on your technique and then you go to the floor and you work on combinations. Eventually, you get to learn choreography and you get to perform. I wanted to have the same approach to acting as I did dance because I felt like that’s the best way to strengthen yourself.

Q: What were the steps that led you specifically to the studio? You said you looked for a year and a half which is a long time. Some people look longer than that. Some people, this is the first studio they look at. What were the specific steps that made you decide to come to Maggie Flanigan?

A: I read so many books on technique which, honestly, it doesn’t really do anything justice. I really think you have to dive in there and learn what works best for you. Also, interviewing all the teachers and instructors. I honestly feel Charlie was the best fit for me after speaking with him. He’s one of those people that will tell you how it is and will honestly tell you what you don’t want to hear but what you need to hear and that’s what you need to grow.

Q: Why the professional actor training program? You’re taking all the classes. You’re balancing a job, you’re modeling, you’re still working. Why did you decide to take on not just the acting class but movement, voice, theater history, script analysis, all of the things we offer here?

A: I think knowledge is power. Especially in this industry that’s so competitive, why wouldn’t you want to know as much as you can know about the career you’re trying to have for a lifetime? I think voice training is so important and I was unaware of how untrained I was with my voice. The movement class has grounded me so much. I didn’t even know how to approach a script before and now taking script analysis or being in that class, I was like, “Oh, man. I was really clueless.” I just think it’s really important that you try to be as well-rounded as possible in something that you want to do forever.

Two Year Acting Program Admission

Acting Classes NYC
Admission to the two-year acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio is based on a personal interview with Charlie Sandlan, the executive director and Head of Acting. To schedule an interview, call the studio directly at (917) 794-3878.

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