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How Long is Acting School at Maggie Flanigan Studio?


When aspiring actors consider pursuing a career in the dramatic arts, one key question often arises: “How long is acting school?”  In this blog, we will delve into the duration and depth of acting programs, with a special focus on how the Maggie Flanigan Studio’s NYC acting classes tailor its curriculum to transform its students into serious, successful actors.  It is important to understand that pursuing an acting career involves more than just talent—it demands technique, along with thorough preparation, and deep dedication to the craft. Our programs are structured to provide foundational skills and immerse you in a transformative educational journey that prepares you for the realities of acting as a profession.  If you’re just starting, seeking to refine your skills, or aiming to shift your career, our studio is committed to helping you excel in the vibrant arts scene of New York City. Let’s explore what sets our actor training apart.

Key Takeaways

  • From short-term intensives to two-year conservatory programs, the Maggie Flanigan Studio offers tailored training to suit every stage of an actor’s career development.
  • Beyond acting techniques, our curriculum includes vital business skills and professional networking to prepare students for real-world success in theater and film.
  • Our focus on the artistic and business aspects of acting ensures that students thrive in the competitive performing arts industry.

Understanding the Duration of Acting School

A student practicing a scene Acting school and the duration of its acting classes or programs vary depending on the level and intensity of the program. A bachelor’s degree program in fine arts or dramatic arts typically spans three to four years. These programs provide a broad education, covering everything from theater history to practical performance skills.  For those looking to deepen their expertise further, master’s degree programs in performing arts or related fields often extend for an additional two to three years, allowing students to specialize in areas such as film-making, directing, playwriting, or advanced acting techniques. At the Maggie Flanigan Studio, our approach is distinct from these traditional academic routes. Instead of a standard three to four-year curriculum, our focused acting programs are designed to immerse students in intensive training over a shorter period.  Our programs are tailored to equip students with theoretical knowledge, and, most importantly, with substantial stage work and scene study that prepares them for real-world acting challenges.  By compressing what is traditionally taught over several years into a more concentrated timeline, we allow our students to develop their craft fully and start their careers sooner without sacrificing the depth and quality of their education. It is also important to know that a three-year commitment at the Maggie Flanigan Studio is not nearly as expensive as a four-year BFA or three-year MFA program. A four-year BFA can run in excess of 250,000K, and an MFA can cost in excess of 200,000K.  Enrollment in the Maggie Flanigan Studio’s full two-year Professional Actor Training Program, along with the third-year Professional Actor Business Program would cost only $52,200.

Maggie Flanigan Studio’s Premier Acting Programs

Movement classes at Maggie Flanigan Studio Our premier acting studio is committed to providing a transformative education that equips aspiring actors with the necessary skills to thrive in the competitive world of performing arts. With a carefully designed curriculum, we ensure deep, comprehensive learning across various aspects of acting and theater production.  Here, we break down the acting programs that define our approach and set our students on the path to success in their acting careers.

Professional Actor Training Program (PATP)

The Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) at the Maggie Flanigan Studio provides unmatched acting training in the United States, spanning two rigorous years.  This 24-month program is meticulously designed for students dedicated to fully immersing themselves in their craft. It has been curated to mirror and compete with the top MFA programs in the United States. Students can expect to be in studio 22-26 hours a week. The PATP distinguishes itself by integrating rigorous physical and vocal training with essential industry skills, ensuring a balanced focus on artistic development and practical industry insights. This comprehensive approach equips students to handle stage and camera work effectively.  Graduates of the PATP are prepared to step into the professional world with confidence and competence, significantly reducing the typical struggles faced by new actors.  Below, we detail the comprehensive curriculum that equips our students for such success. Year 1: Foundation and Fundamentals

  • Acting 1: First Year of the Meisner Technique, focusing on instilling fundamentals, and developing a truthful acting process.
  • Voice 1 & 2: Training aimed at improving vocal strength, resonance, range, and flexibility.
  • Movement 1 & 2: Courses designed to increase physical awareness, expressiveness, and the pliability to process a deep, emotional experience free of tension. 
  • Film History 1: Provides a deep understanding of film’s evolution as an art form over the past 100 years.
  • Theater History 1: Explores significant movements and figures in Western theater history, including a broad, wide-ranging look at Middle Eastern, and Eastern theatrical periods.
  • Combat 1: Basic stage combat techniques, including hand-to-hand and weapons fighting for theater and film.
  • Breathwork: Techniques to improve breathing for vocal performance and relaxation, along with a process to help regulate your nervous system.
  • Dialects 1: Learning a process and technique for approaching regional and global dialects.
  • Chekhov 1: The technique created by Michael Chekhov is a profoundly imaginative approach to creating behavior and experiencing the truth of the moment. It is an inspiring complement to the Meisner Technique.

Year 2: Advanced application and industry preparation

  • Acting: Second Year of the Meisner Technique, focusing on script analysis, and character interpretation.
  • Voice 3 & 4: Continuation of voice training, focusing on alignment, resonance, and applying these skills to elevated language.
  • Movement 3 & 4: Advanced movement featuring Suzuki and Viewpoints techniques tailored to character work, and dynamic and expansive physical range.
  • Script Analysis: Skills for breaking down scripts and making informed character choices.
  • Cold Reading: Techniques for auditioning with minimal preparation.
  • Dialects 2: Advanced dialect work with scenes.
  • Classical Text: Approaching the heightened text of classical Greek playwrights such as Euripides, Sophocles, and Aeschylus.
  • Shakespeare: Understanding how to handle sonnets, as well as monologues and scenes from Shakespeare’s most important plays.

Core Program and Bare Essentials Program

Besides the PATP, we also offer 2-year acting programs crafted to provide an in-depth education in acting and grounded in the revered Meisner technique.  The Core Program covers essential aspects of acting, voice, movement, and historical context, designed to develop well-rounded actors equipped for both stage and television or film. The first year lays the foundation with courses like Acting 1, paired with Voice 1 & 2, Movement 1 & 2, Film History 1, Theater History 1, Breathwork For Actors, and Chekhov 1. In the second year of the Core Program, students dive deeper into the complexities of acting with Acting 2. This year also includes Voice 3 & 4, Movement 3 & 4, Chekhov 2 & 3, Cold Reading, and Script Analysis.  For those focused exclusively on acting, the Bare Essentials Program strips away the additional subjects to concentrate solely on the bare essentials necessary in order to seriously consider a professional career. This program is intensely focused on the two-year progression of the Meisner Technique along with Chekhov 1, 2, &3, along with Breathwork for Actors.

Short-Term Intensives and Acting Workshops

Our Meisner Summer Intensive is a six-week program that provides an intensive introduction to the renowned Meisner Technique. This intensive is perfect for anyone interested in exploring what serious professional acting training entails. This program goes beyond typical short courses and covers the first 18 classes of Meisner’s first-year training. Over six weeks, students engage in focused crafting and scene work that challenges them to move beyond amateur habits and develop genuine acting skills. The intensive is designed for those poised to deepen their commitment to their acting career, including current college undergraduates who seek more comprehensive training than their current program provides and also seasoned actors in need of sharpening their artistic process. Besides the core Meisner acting classes, our summer session includes a range of additional classes to enrich the learning experience.  Students can opt for Intro to Movement, Intro to Voice, Intro to Fitzmaurice Voicework®, Intro to Alexander Technique, Intro to Playwriting, and Mask and Character, making their summer educational and transformative.

Professional Preparation Beyond Acting Techniques

In the realm of acting, mastering the business aspects of the industry is equally critical for long-term success. Our studio recognizes this necessity and offers a specialized third-year Professional Actor Business Program.  This program is meticulously designed to bridge the gap between artistic talent and business acumen, preparing students to confidently manage the complexities of the acting industry. The Professional Actor Business Program offers a comprehensive suite of classes and workshops that address key aspects of the business side of acting. These include:

  • Social media consultation. An actor’s online presence can be as influential as their in-person auditions. Our social media consultations help students create and maintain a professional online image that appeals to casting directors and producers.
  • Financial coaching. We provide financial coaching to help actors manage their earnings, understand tax implications, and plan for financial stability in a career known for its unpredictability.
  • Audition techniques. Mastery in auditioning can make the difference between securing a role or not. Our workshops in audition techniques teach students how to present themselves effectively, interpret casting calls, and deliver compelling auditions on-camera and in theater settings.
  • Life Coaching. Take a deep dive into the resistance, the excuses, and the unconscious sabotaging that keeps you from living the fulfilling and successful life you desire.
  • Professional Actor Website. Working one-on-one with our website designer, you will create a  personally designed and curated acting website.
  • Professional Demo Reel. Working in collaboration with REELARC, each student will receive a professionally shot and edited demo reel for their website.
  • Making Your Own Work. Classes in learning how to write, direct, and produce your own content.
  • Becoming a Professional. Classes are taught by the top casting directors, agents, and managers in the business, to help you understand the professional expectations you will face in the industry.
  • Branding Consultant. Individual work with a professional branding consultant to sharpen and refine how you choose to present yourself to the industry.
  • Professional Headshots. Each student will work with their chosen photographer to get their headshots taken.
  • Professional Auditions. The program culminates in two months of auditions with the top casting directors, agents, and managers in the industry.

The Importance of Networking and Gaining Practical Experience

A student taking on-camera classes at Maggie Flanigan Studio Successful acting careers hinge on forging strong industry connections and accumulating hands-on experience.  Our programs emphasize connecting students with established actors, respected directors, experienced producers, and influential agents. These relationships are crucial, as they can open doors to new opportunities and provide critical guidance early in an actor’s career. Students regularly participate in talkbacks with Q&A sessions with some of the top professionals in their field. Recent guests include Tony winners Reed Burney, Ruben-Santiago Hudson, and the playwrights Joshua Harmon, and Pulitzer Prize winner Shanaz Toosi.  Engaging directly with these professionals helps our students learn how to navigate the professional landscape and gives them a chance to apply their classroom knowledge in real-world settings. 

Why Choose Maggie Flanigan Studio?

Choosing the right acting school is an important decision for anyone serious about pursuing a career in theater or film.  At the Maggie Flanigan Studio, we offer a distinctive educational experience that sets our students apart. Our curriculum is rooted in the principles of fine arts and liberal arts education, emphasizing performance as well as the intellectual and emotional growth necessary for actors to thrive in diverse roles. Our faculty comprises seasoned professionals who are both teachers and working actors, directors, and filmmakers. This blend of real-world experience and pedagogical expertise ensures that our students learn through a practical, hands-on approach that is rare in traditional acting programs.  Ready to commit to an education that will challenge you, transform you, and prepare you for the realities of a professional acting career? Call us today at the Maggie Flanigan Studio and start your journey toward professional success.


Maggie Flanigan Studio caters to various stages of an actor’s career, offering programs from short-term intensives that last only a few weeks to comprehensive two-year conservatory acting programs.  If you are new to acting, looking to deepen your craft, or a seasoned professional contemplating a master’s course, our studio delivers the rigorous training and supportive environment necessary for excellence in theater and film.  Here, you can unlock your full potential in the performing arts and take significant steps toward advancing your acting career.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many years does it take to be an actor?

The work of a serious artist never ends, and we believe that a true actor never stops working on themselves and their craft. That said, the time it takes to learn how to act takes two to three years. It’s a hard business and there are no guarantees, but if you bust your ass, train well, and never quit, you can carve out a successful career. Master’s programs and dedicated acting studios like Maggie Flanigan Studio offer structured courses or programs that typically last two to three years, providing actors with comprehensive skills in theater, film, and television.

How long do you stay in acting school?

The duration in acting school can differ based on the program chosen.  At Maggie Flanigan Studio, aspiring actors can enroll in programs that range from short intensives lasting a few weeks to full-fledged conservatory programs spanning two years to three years, all designed to enhance their acting abilities and prepare them for the demands of the profession.

Is acting career difficult?

Pursuing a career in acting can be challenging due to the competitive nature of the industry and the demands of continuously honing one’s craft.  Success often requires talent as well as perseverance, practice, and a determination to not quit. The reality is that most aspiring actors quit in less than five years. You need to be willing to dedicate a decade before ever considering that option. You need grit, resilience, and a solid craft to support your talent.

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