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The Scaffolding of Creating Behavior

Acting programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio are focused on the Meisner Technique, the life work of Sanford Meisner. In this interview, Charles Pang discusses why studying Meisner at the studio is different than his previous Meisner training.

three headshots from charles pang, meisner acting student

18-Month Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio – (917) 794-3878

18 Month Acting Program Interview: Charles Pang

Katie: Is this your first time training in the Meisner work, or had you previously taken classes in the Meisner technique before?

Charles: I was trained in Meisner before but not as deep as what I’ve experienced here in the studio.

Q: Okay. Before starting classes online with Maggie Flanigan studio, what did you think it meant to train as an actor?

A: To be disciplined. I now know to be creative, like experiencing how actors create by daydreaming and what imaginary circumstances are without being fantastic. That’s what I’ve learned, and I think it solidified how I should work.


Charlie can be tough sometimes. But, he can also be patient and very kind. We need a teacher who upholds the standards, someone who tells us that the work is not good when it isn't and tells us why it isn't.

Charles PangStudent, Two-Year Acting Program

Q: Regarding the Meisner technique, what part speaks to you most as an actor?

A: I think it’s two things. The first thing is that it gives you a scaffolding of things to think about, questions to tackle when you go into a scene, go into creating a moment, or create behaviors. It gives you all of that, everything that you need to know, and it helps you. It gives you guidance, how to craft the whole thing. The second thing is emotional preparation. Charlie helps us; he encourages us to pinpoint the emotion that we are going after. When we have that identified, I can stay in that direction and deepen my understanding of the circumstance. Still knowing that’s the emotion, I’m going after and how much more can I mine about the event.

Q: What’s something you’ve learned about yourself this year that was a surprise or that changed you?

A: Wow. I’ve got– First, it’s such hard work. It’s so difficult; it’s so challenging. Up to this point, I finally found a sense of freedom in creating vivid behaviors. It involves a lot of play– I don’t know how to say this. Like dressing up, or like you’re dressing up for someone in your imaginary circumstance. There’s a lot of work into it, and I may not do a good job achieving that objective, but now I’m starting to have fun and going in, doing these unusual things.

Q: How have the classes at Maggie Flanigan Studio been different than classes at other studios?

A: I think there are two different things. One thing is that the program that the Maggie Flanigan Studio offers is a two-year program. I guess I like the commitment because with that, we have a group of classmates that go through the same challenges with me, growing with me, and there’s a lot of merits in that. When we need help, we can go to each other and get support or help each other tackle a circumstance. Finding what’s missing, it’s always good to talk to someone who knows what’s going on.

The other thing is that it just goes so much deeper into every component of the Meisner technique that I have not experienced before. So I think that’s the main reason why I would recommend this program.

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Q: I think that half of the Meisner technique is watching and learning from your other classmates, learning from them and their exercises. Did you also find this to be true?

A: Definitely. Just the ideas that my classmates would bring up that would inspire me to think about, “Oh, that’s something that I could do. Oh, that’s what Charlie means.” With one of the components in it, or– Just having a scene partner when you’re crafting, especially now that we’re doing shared circumstances right now. There is just life experience that I may not have, but that my partner can supply to the crafting, and then we can deepen the acting relationship a lot more, so yes.

Going into this program confirms that. Acting is a collaborative process, and we need insights in life to supply to our work, and with more than one people there are more life experiences. So then that’s how the work would get better, and you also grow as an actor knowing the life that your partner has gone through, and I think that’s one of the great things that I get to do here.

headshot for charles pang, meisner actor

Charles Pang Interview – 18 Month Meisner Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio (917) 794-3878

Q: I know you were auditioning a little bit you first came to the studio. Looking back on the auditions you went on before you started training at the studio, how do you feel about them?

A: I think I had no idea what I was doing. I think being in the program helps me. It gives me a standard of what I should look for as an actor and prepare for it. That’s also one thing that I’m looking so much forward to, the second year because you will get more into script analysis.

Script analysis, character development, and skills, I think, are needed when you get aside and figure out where you should implant things in it. That’s why I would look forward to doing that too, but right now, I have all the basic questions to go through aside as well. That’s a great thing; I know more now.

Q: Do you have any insight to share about moving to New York?

A: Well, moving here was hard. There’s encountering– New Yorkers are better because it’s such– It has so many cultures in it. People are used to meeting people from other places. Given the pandemic and anti API hate crimes, it may not be the best idea to move here now. I think it’s a little– The societies, it will take some time for this society to go back to when it’s normal. When I was here for the first time, I also met many people, students, classmates, from other places, often like me.

We meet those people, and we know what choices we’ve made; they said, “We’ve decided to come over here to realize our dreams.” We will often meet those people, and you will get the support you need from them. Apart from that, it takes a lot of determination. I would say it’s just not easy.

Q: You’re also working full-time right now. Could you talk a bit about balancing full working time, doing the acting class twice a week, and rehearsing with your partner? What advice do you have?

A: What I’ve been doing is setting up a schedule with my scene partner so that we have a steady plan that we can maneuver around, but that’s always on our timetable. I think I push through it. That’s the thing. I can’t say that I’m doing an excellent job in balancing, sorry.

18 Month Professional Meisner Acting Program

18 Month Professional Meisner Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio (917) 794-3878

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

A: He upholds the standard for us. He could be tricky sometimes. Sometimes he’s very patient, very kind. He gets excited when he sees excellent work, but when he sees something that’s slapped together, he will take it apart, but that’s what we need. We need a teacher who would uphold your standards, tell you that the work is not good when it isn’t, and then tell you why.

He might give you the suggestions that you need, how you can do better. He will also give us a good talk if he sees that we’re not doing the best that we can. I liked working with him. Because of him, I think that doing the work that he asked us to do has changed me because of him. I’ve never been more emotionally open before.

Q: The second year, what are you looking forward to the most?

A: I think it’s character development and script analysis because that’s the thing that we haven’t– Right now, I believe we are building the foundation. I would look forward to those two components because I think that’s important to my career afterward.

Charlie can be tough sometimes. But, he can also be patient and very kind. We need a teacher who upholds the standards, someone who tells us that the work is not good when it isn’t and tells us why it isn’t.

Learn More About Training Programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Learn more about the Meisner training programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, including the 18 Month Acting Program ( Students who are interested in applying to the studio for acceptance should apply online and call the studio at (917) 794-3878 with questions.

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