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Claiming and Using My Emotions

The New York acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio that starts in January offers students a shorter alternative to the two year acting program. In this interview with Katie, Hailey Vest discusses Meisner training with Karen Chamberlain, why all actors need training, and why she chose the Maggie Flanigan Studio.

The acting programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio equip actors with the skills and the tools that they need for long acting careers. The acting program that begins in January is an 18 month long program created for dedicated actors who are committed to establishing the work ethic required of professional actors.

Hailey Vest: 18-Month Acting Program Interview

Haliey Vest talking about the acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio and how her auditions have improved through this training

New York Acting Programs New York – Hailey Vest Interview – 18 Month Acting Program

Q: Hailey, how have your relationships changed since going through this first year of the Meisner training?

A: Oh, man. January students, like the first year or so, it’s all about breaking down your walls, and being able to find your emotions and use them and be able to claim them. Before the first year, I’ve always been the person who was like always happy and bubbly all the time and super helpful, and I didn’t think I had a right to being angry or sad. I just had to be happy for everybody all the time. Coming into the first year, it blew that away. All of my relationships, even the people I work with, and when I talk to my parents is like you’re more assertive, you stand up for what you feel, which is new for me.

I don’t let people walk all over me as much as I used to. I mean, I’m still working on it. My first instinct is always like to help someone even if they’re yelling at me, but I know I need to get rid of that. Emotionally, I have completely changed. I looked back at Hailey eight months ago, and she was like a scared shell of a person. I know that I’m still working on it, but, oh, I don’t want to go back there. This work brings out the best in you. It brings out the worst in you. So you can greet it head-on and not wonder why this bothers you.

The first year was a lot of like I’d see birds, and I’d burst into tears. It was just like this bizarre reaction from then being like, “Oh, I miss home right now. This is a response to that. I’m going to call my mom.” I understand now. I know my emotional responses, my body. I have a better understanding of myself. I did not expect that from this work.

Q: How have those changes in your personal life and your relationships helped you take one step towards being the actor you want to be?

A: I think it’s made me understand that before the Meisner work, that all of my characters, everything that I did was very two dimensional. It was a little bit fake. There was an aspect that wasn’t necessarily truthful or 100% truthful, and I was not aware of it. With this work, moving forward into the actor that I want to be, it’s all about the truth. That is the only thing that matters. Everybody grows up, “I want to be an astronaut.” “I want to be a ballerina.” I wanted to be an actor so I could be all of those things.

admission to the studio and the 18 month acting program is by interview only

I would love to be a surgeon, but no one’s going to hand me a scalpel and be like, “Great. Cut me open.” That is just a bad idea. With this work, I feel that I can bring human emotions and human connections to a character that makes it truthful, that makes it real. That makes people in the audience go, “Oh, I understand this. I can relate to this, and this helps me in my life.” With this work it’s more, I’m slowly taking the steps towards being able to do that and being able to have control over it rather than hoping that it’s there, and sometimes hitting and getting a home run and striking out.

I’m not afraid of striking out anymore, because I know that the work is beneath me, you just got to keep going. The first thing anybody says because you’re auditioning– Agents, managers, the first thing that they tell you is, “Okay, cool. You’re great; we’re so happy to represent you. What classes are you taking? Are you actively taking steps to get better?”

Nobody wants to work with someone who is like, “This is me, and this is going to be me for the next 40 years.” No. We’re evolving; we’re changing, my types change, my age range changes. You have to be working all the time. Honestly, that’s the thing that makes this craft better and real and truthful. You have to take classes. This is honestly the best place. I’m getting emotional right now; I’m sorry — the best place to do it.

Hailey Vest Interview about the acting program that lasts for 18 months at Maggie Flanigan Studio

18-month Acting Program – Hailey Vest Interview – (917) 794-3878

Q: What has it been like working in class with Karen Chamberlain?

A: Okay. Oh, man. With Karen, walking into the first year, I did not think I had any right to my rage. I did not know that was something allowed, it was something to be looked down on, and she empowered me to be able to want to take control of it, but also to be okay with it. I got into the first fight of my life with my boyfriend, a full-on battle, and it was great. I said, “Karen would be so proud.” He was, “You better email her right now.” I did.

Karen unlocked who I am. How many people can do that? She’s incredible. Karen is fantastic, and I love her. With Charlie, he said it recently, but our only job is to make the complicated look simple, and it’s so true. When you look at any great actors out there, you’re just watching something. You get a script, and it’s like, “Okay, cool. This is so difficult and challenging, but I’m going to make it look simple.” That we have a right to, if it’s written on the page, there is a reason why that word is being said. To breathe life into the words and not just have things being an afterthought.

There are so many times where you’ll hear in, especially film classes, other places, but it’s like, “Throw the line away. Throw it away.” It’s like, “This was written for a reason.” “Okay, I’m going to throw this away now.” “Great, cool.” No, don’t throw it away, make it simple, do the work. That’s all that we’re doing, and it’s fantastic.

Q: What would you say to someone, who thinks they don’t need to train for two years?

A: You can never stop taking enough classes. I will say that my undergrad, my favorite thing about it was the head of our department was the casting director for CBS, and she just brought everybody to meet us and do a bunch of masterclasses, which was phenomenal, but everyone who came and talked to us, like Alec Baldwin, and Mike Myers and Natalie Dormer. They’re all these huge powerhouses.

The first thing they said to every single one of us was, “Never stop taking classes. You will never be on the mountaintop.” I never want to be at the mountaintop because if I’m there, that means I’ve nowhere to grow. All I want to do is keep improving. If you don’t want to take classes, you’re cutting your legs off. You have to take classes. Okay, you have to take classes. That’s all I have to say about that.

Q: What is the number one reason to study at Maggie Flanigan Studio over any other studio?

A: From all of the research that I’ve done with other studios and talking to other actors who have done little classes here or have trained at other places, Maggie Flanigan is– I don’t want to swear, but there’s no BS about it. You can’t come in here without rehearsing and expect that you’re going to get better. They take the time; the teachers are phenomenal. They care about their students. Maggie Flanigan is like a home. If you choose this craft seriously and you want to get better, and you want not just to be an actor, you want to be an artist; this is it.

Whereas other places, it’s more membership-based or for the money, and it’s not a craft. It’s, “Cool, let’s read this monologue a couple of times. A monologue you’ll never use because it’s also not right for you, but we’ll do it anyway because we don’t have time. Good job, thank you, and next.” You don’t get that here. This is training. This is Meisner. I completely trust Charlie. I completely trust Karen with this work.

Where sometimes, you can walk into a room, and you can feel that something’s off like the teacher is checking a notebook, putting it down, and then repeating it. This is the work they live it; they breathe it. This is what they want to do. I want to be taught by them.

Kren Chmaberlain teaches acting class in the two year acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio

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

Apply Now for Acceptance into the 18-Month Acting Program

Acceptance into the New York acting programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio is based on a personal interview with Charlie Sandlan, the Head of Acting. To learn more about the acting program and the options available, call the studio directly at (917) 794-3878 or visit the studio website ( for more information.

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