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Concentration and the Meisner Technique

(updated 05/02/18) The Meisner Summer Acting Program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio is a six-week training program centered on the Meisner Technique. In this video blog, Charlie Sandlan discusses concentration, which is an important building block of Meisner training.

Charlie Sandlan teaching in the summer acting program about how concentration is the essential building block that actors need and learn with the Meisner technique

Charlie Sandlan – Summer Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Concentration and the Meisner Technique

Any serious actor has a sincere wish to be free and spontaneous in the imaginary world. Out of their head, responding in the moment, malleable to the nuances of human behavior. It does take two to three years to train professionally, and the Meisner Technique begins immediately to address the core fundamentals that make this possible. The key to real freedom in acting starts with an actor’s placement of concentration. It is fundamental to the actor’s craft.


"Concentration is the first building block of an actor’s craft. If you want to develop this and other fundamental skills, get trained."

Charlie SandlanExecutive Director, Head of Acting

Art is not intellectual. It comes from the heart, the imagination, and the primitive unconscious. We are primarily self-absorbed creatures, self-reflective, insecure, with a deep need for approval and validation. An artist must work incredibly hard to keep these human tendencies from sabotaging their creative freedom. For actors immersed in serious acting training, particularly the Meisner Technique, addressing these issues begins immediately, challenging students to get the attention off of themselves. Bad actors wait for their cues, worried about how they look and sound, and not present in the moment. Placement of concentration for the actor is the very first thing a student actor in a Meisner training program learns to do. When an actor has the ability to make the other people on camera or on stage more important than themselves and possesses the ability to truly listen and hear for the first time, then spontaneity is possible.

When placement of concentration for an actor becomes second nature, it is a big first step in creating a truthful reality. An important principle in acting is that I don’t do anything unless the other person makes me do it. It is also talked about as the pinch and ouch. A good reality is possible when the ouch is consistently in direct proportion to the pinch. A really good actor knows that they are not important. This requires a real willingness to let go of the need to be good, the need to show anything, and the need to be interesting. On its face, this advice seems counter to what an actor wants. Of course, we want to be good, we want to be vivid, we want to be interesting. Ultimately, this comes down to the ability to craft well, to do the homework, make interesting choices, implant them deep within, and then you must have the skill set which allows you to trust in your work, put your concentration on the other actor, go from unanticipated moment to unanticipated moment, and respond spontaneously, trusting that all the hard work will be revealed in vivid, clear behavior.

Concentration is the first building block of an actor’s craft. If you want to develop this and other fundamental skills, get trained. Even a well-respected Six-Week Meisner Summer Intensive will immediately address how to make concentration something second nature.

Summer Acting Program - Maggie Flanigan Studio 01

The Best Summer Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 794-3878

Summer Acting Classes at the Maggie Flanigan Studio

To learn more about the Maggie Flanigan Studio and the Meisner based training in the summer acting classes, visit the studio website ( or contact the acting studio by calling (917) 794-3878.

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