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The Road to an Actor’s Life

Deciding to commit to a professional actor training program is one of the most difficult and rewarding decisions that any actor can make. In this blog post Charlie Sandlan discusses the skills, the commitment and the vision that actors need to have sustaining and fulfilling acting careers.

profile of charlie sandlan sitting in teh studio teaching the acting class during the summer

Charlie Sandlan – Summer Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Every time I sit with a prospective student who is looking for an acting studio, and has come to talk to me about training seriously, one of the first things I say is that this work is going to change your life. Not only will it be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, it will be the most rewarding.

Developing the Fundamental Acting Skills

When one commits to living an artistic life, they are dedicating themselves to illuminating the human condition. That’s what the lead roles, the major parts require of an actor. How many shoes can you step into? How many aspects to the human experience can you bring to life?

That is what the best actors can do, put deep, rich behavior on camera and on stage. And they can do it consistently.

For that to be possible, there are a number of things that need to be second nature for the actor. A set of skills that are fundamental to how you work.

These include the ability to listen intently, craft simply, specifically, and personally, truthfully do, and respond spontaneously from unanticipated moment to unanticipated moment. This can absolutely be taught with the Meisner Technique.

The other important fundamental is the ability to access the full gamut of human emotion with a body that is released, and a voice that is clear and resonant. But these are just the fundamentals.

What is the advanced work that an actor needs to master in order to bring a script to life?


Stringing together a number of co-stars and under 5’s doesn’t require much. Actors who work at this level can get lulled into thinking that conversational reality is good acting. It’s not.

Charlie SandlanMaster Teacher

What Separates Amateur Actors from Really Good Actors

It’s the second year of the Meisner Technique that is the most difficult, and rightly so. There are many untrained actors who can get signed by an agent, and can eventually get great auditions for guest stars, and series regular roles.

They may have an interesting look and vibrant personality, which can initially get them into a room. But what inevitably happens is that those actors don’t possess the skill set to break down material and make choices that will create vivid, organic, fully realized behavior.

That is what really good actors can do, they can do actions, justify text, implant meaning, and create impulses. They can do all that work, then show up on set or in rehearsal, leave themselves alone, and work off the other actors spontaneously.

When an actor gets pages and pages of sides for a major audition, if they don’t know what to do, they will absolutely be exposed as an amateur.

What can happen is an actor finally gets the opportunity to audition for bigger parts, but they do not have the skill set to break down a complicated script. Stringing together a number of co-stars and under 5’s doesn’t require much. All that is expected of you is basic conversational reality and a good sense of truth.

Actors who work at this level can get lulled into thinking that conversational reality is good acting. It’s not.

meisner summer intensive begins

Meisner Summer Intensive – Maggie Flanigan (917) 794-3878

Creating the Path for a Long Acting Career

Just as with any art form, it is a solid technique and craft that will make your work consistently vivid. I understand the urge of so many young actors who think that they don’t have the time to commit 2-3 years on training. There’s this fear that opportunities and success are going to pass them by. Then years go by. And after 5-7 years of not booking bigger parts, there’s this realization that they should have just trained years ago when they first started.

A lot of it has to do with the vision of the type of actor you want to be, and the kind of work you aspire to do. If you really can’t imagine doing anything else with your life, don’t you think you owe it to your future self to set up a path for a sustained career?

The majority of young actors quit before they’re even thirty. It’s too hard. The struggle is real. Lay the foundation now, and give yourself a form for your talent to go into. It’s how you start on the road to an actor’s life.

Learn More About Professional Actor Training

Learn more about professional acting programs by visiting the Maggie Flanigan Studio website ( Actors who are interested in applying for admission to the studio should apply online and call the studio with questions at (917) 794-3878.

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