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A Tough and Honest Approach

The two-year acting programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio in Manhattan train professional actors. The programs at the studio are ideal for actors who are serious and committed to their craft. Cristian Santiago discusses with Katie his experience in the two-year acting program at the end of his first year in the acting program.

Cristian Santiago is a student at Maggie Flanigan Studio. He talks about the two year program.

Two-Year Meisner Acting Program – Cristian Santiago at Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call  (917) 794-3878

Two-Year Meisner Acting Program – Cristian Santiago Interview

Q: Cristian, what did you think it meant to train as an actor before you started the two-year acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio?

I thought actor training was going through scenes, reading lines over and over again, and practicing scenes.

Q: What do you think it means now that you finished your first year at the studio?

I think it means to know how to craft and to personalize every single thing that you’re doing and working from your heart and working truthfully rather than just reading the text and putting some implying meaning on it. Now, it’s more about really figuring out what your objective is rather than just what it says on the paper.


Charlie tells you what you need to hear without your feelings being put into account because this is not what it's about. It's about actually growing and learning. I appreciate how hardcore he was in class.

Cristian SantiagoTwo Year Acting Program

Q: What were you doing before you decided to commit to the two-year program?

I decided to commit because I was working in fashion production. That was a lot of behind the scenes like working, producing photo shoots. As it went on, I just realized I don’t belong behind the camera anymore. People would tell me that a lot. I would do a lot of acting when I was younger. I had a break in between my last job and then figuring out what I wanted to do next. I was like, “I just got to do it.” I had a couple of friends tell me about the school, and I came and did it.

I jumped in ready to do all two years because of the success of my friends had told me about and how much they enjoyed it. I slowly figured out as the months went on that I was very into it. It took a lot out of me, so I know that the result has to be worth it.

Q: Did you study the Meisner technique before or this is your first time?

This is my first time doing Meisner.

Banner 2 Year Acting Program Begins at the Maggie Flanigan Studio

2 Year Acting Program Registration – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: How is studying at the studio different than what you expected it to be?

I expected it to be, for some reason, less personal and I didn’t think I would have to dig deeper into myself as I am to be acting. Now, I understand why that is so important to take on other roles or anything. You have to know who you are. That’s what I figured out here during the first year.

Q: What did you learn about yourself that changed you during this year?

I learned that I was not as empathetic as I thought I was. I guess listening was the biggest thing that I took away. Now, when I talk to people or interact with people, I listen to what they’re saying. By listening, you can take on what they’re going through more than before when I would talk to people. Do you know what I mean? Listening has now allowed me to be able to understand what people are going through, and I think that’s important for acting.

Q: What is one thing that resonated with you the most?

If I could pick one thing that resonated with me the most, I think it was to always go with my gut and go with what the truth is of how I feel and to always be truthful. Sometimes, according to just the different circumstances, you think you need to act a certain way or talk a certain way and do this. It’s really about your heart and what you indeed, entirely mean. That’s I think what I took away the most from this first year for sure, being truthful.

Q: How has the experience in the auxiliary classes affected the work you’re doing in the acting classroom?

For the first half of the year, I was not doing movement. I would see all the other students who were doing the movement classes and how that was translating in the classroom, and I was like, “I need to start doing this class.” I started doing it and the second that I was into it, like two weeks into it, my acting dramatically changed, especially with emotional preparation or just like being open.

I don’t know; I was just a lot more emotional because of the movement class. I was able to let every emotion that I felt out because of movement class. It just really opened me up, and you’re so free in that movement class that it only translates into the next classroom which works out so much better for the acting that goes on in the acting room. Movement really, really, helped me and changed me a lot.

Q: What’s it like to be in class and have a bad day?

I’ve had a lot of those. I’ve had those, but I had taken all of them as like, “This is what I brought, this is what I can do.” No matter the critique on it, you always know there’s a next time to do a better job. Yes, it does feel like shit when it’s happening, but then you take account of like, “What did I do that’s making me feel this way at this moment and what didn’t I prepare enough?” That’s usually what I think of when I’m having a bad day in class. I don’t allow myself to get beat up by it. I’m just like “This was a c*** activity, but let me figure out why.” Not like, “Man, I s***.”

Q: What’s it like to be in class and have a good day?

It feels like you go completely numb. When you have a perfect day with an activity in class, I don’t even hear Charlie’s critiques. I don’t hear anything that’s happening. I am just so in the moment with whatever I am doing or the contact with my partner that I don’t even know what’s going on anymore. I blackout, and it’s incredible.

student talks with the studio about the two year acting program at maggie flanigan studio in NYC

Two-Year Acting Programs In New York, NY – Maggie Flanigan Studio  (917) 794-3878

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

I don’t think I’d be able to learn this technique or learn acting in general if it wasn’t for his style of teaching. I need a tough, honest, a “he cares about you” kind of approach to teaching. He tells you what you need to hear without your feelings being put into account because this is not what it’s about. It’s about actually growing and learning. That’s precisely what he does when he’s giving you your feedback or all of that stuff. I never took any of it personally because that’s not what we’re here for. I just appreciated how hardcore he was.

Q: What would you say to someone who maybe was thinking about committing to our two-year program and they feel like it is a waste of money or they want to be working right away, and they don’t have the time?

I would say if you’re very serious about it, then you need to trust the process because everything that’s done here is for a reason, everything that’s offered here is for a reason. It all works. I know that from seeing myself in the beginning to the end. I don’t necessarily think I’m a great actor yet, but I have learned a lot. I believe that if you want to take it seriously, you have to commit to this process, which is a very hard one, but ultimately, I feel changed.

Q: What would you say is the number one reason to study at Maggie Flanigan Studio?

The number one reason to study here would be if you want to learn how to be a truthful, deep, intense personal actor who wants to change your viewers and make people feel things, then that’s the number one reason to come here. Because when I sit in that classroom and people are doing an excellent job of doing an exercise, doing whatever, I feel that in the audience. If I’m doing a good job and I look over to my peers, and I see them crying or laughing or enjoying themselves, that’s the number one reward.

Being able to do that, I got that from here, and I think that’s one of the best feelings in the entire world.

Two-Year Acting Programs in New York

Application for the Two-Year Acting Program in New York

Learn more about the two-year acting programs and acting classes at Maggie Flanigan Studio by visiting the studio website. Students interested in applying to the studio should apply online ( Students with questions about the specific classes that are included in the acting programs at the studio can call (917) 794-3878.

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