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Reframing the Fear of Failure and Criticism

Acting programs and acting classes at the Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York are based on teaching the Meisner Technique as Sanford Meisner intended. In this discussion, Eden Marryshow and Charlie Sandlan discuss the fear that many actors have that prevent them from receiving the training needed for a long professional acting career.

two year acting program - Maggie Flanigan (917) 794-3878

Two Year Acting Program – Maggie Flanigan (917) 794-3878

The Fear of Failure and Criticism

Charlie: You know, I have been a teacher for a long time. I’ve interviewed thousands of students, taught many, many people. It is always surprising to me how prevalent fear is. How it can keep people from pursuing their dreams, from committing to something that might seem very daunting and scary. I’m just wondering what your thoughts are about that.

Did you experience that kind of fear when you made a commitment to the two-year program?

Eden: Yes, definitely. Definitely felt fear, continue to feel fear, continue to feel that fear of failure, yes. Reframing it to me means, it has to go from failing to feedback. If we can take our egos out of it and if we can take the emotion out of it, if we take the elevator music out of it and we can look at it for what it is, it’s feedback.

Charlie: The fear of feedback.

Eden: Yes, the fear of criticism, failure, or failure in general, is feedback. If I fail, like I did with the Superman thing, I can say, “Oh, that was wrong. Let me re-adjust myself,”. It all then goes back to the idea of having a north star.


If you're freaking out, it's probably a good thing. I believe that intuition, fear can be a good thing. If you feel that fear, that's the path.

Eden MarryshowTwo Year Acting Program, Alumni

What do you think people could accomplish if they were guaranteed that they wouldn’t be criticized?

Eden: Everything. Right?

Charlie: Brené Brown talks about that a lot if you listen to her at all.

Eden: That’s right. Yes. I love Brené Brown. I mentioned her in “Bruce”.

Charlie: That’s right.

Eden: Yes. Again, I’ve definitely experienced a ton of fear, a ton of fear of failure. I was at the Board of Education for 10 years of my life. From 18 to 28. One of my dreams was to work with my dad, which I had the pleasure of doing, but from 18 to 28, I went to Brooklyn College for film production, got all my film credits and then was like, “I’m good,”.

I started making my own little movies and people would say that they were good, all that, but my own sense of it is like, not thinking that I was good enough, is also another thing. Again, I say this all the time, people we know are all consumed with being perfect, but perfect comes from the Latin –

Charlie: Yes, art’s not, you can’t be perfect in anything.

Eden: Nothing is perfect. It comes from the Latin “perfectus” which means complete, we’re all born imperfect. It’s just this weird thing where we’re searching outside of ourselves, right? But it’s here. Also, for 10 years doing that and being scared, and daydreaming with my friend Marcell when we will go to the Chinese spot, at Wendy’s or McDonald’s or whatever, driving at lunchtime and then just like sitting back and dreaming about what life would be if I actually did take a shot, take a chance. That’s 10 years of my life. It was really scary, the prospects of doing that.

banner for the two year program

We all experience that. There are people that will tell you that you can’t make it. I have something to say to the people that are scared of people judging them. Anybody that tells you, “You can’t do it,” has never gone after anything in their life. Or they’ve gone after it and they stopped. Nicole who went to Maggie’s, randomly ran into Daniel Day-Lewis, all like — You remember that, Kate? Ran into Daniel Day-Lewis on like 23rd and 6th and he walked all the way with her to Washington Park.

Charlie: I remember her talking about that and they had a conversation —

Eden: And he — This is the dude.

Charlie: Talking about giving back, paying forward, like to have a conversation with him.

Eden: Yes, to have that conversation. He told her, “You can do it. I’m not going to say it’s easy.” He saw something he was trying to do it too and he was like, “But you can do it.” Anybody that’s gone after anything, and enjoyed the journey, is not going to tell you that you can’t do it.

What do you say to somebody who’s sitting in front of the computer and they’re like, “I want to be an actor? I know, I think I need training. I’m just not sure if I’ve got the time or the money.”

Eden: It’ll come.

Charlie: – about money, and going into debt. It freaks them out, man. It just freaks them out and they just — They get crushed by fear.

Eden: That’s right. Follow your freak out. If you’re freaking out, it’s probably a good thing. I believe that intuition, fear can be a good thing. If you feel that fear, that’s the path. Who goes and watches a movie where the middle of the movie, the heroine is not falling flat on their face? Who wants to see the beginning of the movie, life is great, and the end of the movie, life is great, the middle of the movie, life is great? It’s the idea of, when you feel that fear, you jump in. You know from now on, that is your intuition saying, “We have to go that way,”, and that’s part of the reframing. If you’re watching this right now, you’re watching it for a reason. Come, interview, check it out. I’m not getting paid.

Charlie: I know.

Eden: You know what I mean? Well, seriously though, this is really serious. I love this studio. I love Charlie Sandlan, I love Katie Healy, I love Maggie Flanigan. I am indebted to them for life, for the craft that I have gotten and I have received. If people out there, even if it’s yourself, you don’t know s***. Never have a broke person tell you how to get rich. If you are broke in this whole acting thing, you don’t even know what the f*** you’re talking — Excuse me, my language. You don’t even know what you’re talking about. Press us in, send an email. Do it. If you commit, if you give your all, it will happen.

I had $2500 in the bank when we decided to make Bruce. It was a hundred and forty-three page, the first draft that a bunch of people told us it wasn’t anything. They told us it was crap. I was frustrated. I was like, “I’m going to make this.”, and what did I do? Because I am smart when it comes to certain things, I got all of my Maggie Flanigan friends. I was like, “You know what, this script might not be the best, but I have a bunch of friends who know how to work and who will figure stuff out for me and do the work.”. I had about 25, maybe, $3000 to make a feature film, and because of favors and love and craft, people started to jump on the train. People love to jump on a moving train.

eden marry show talks about following his fear and enrolling in an acting program

Acting Program – Eden Marryshow – Maggie Flanigan Studio 01 – (917) 794-3878

Charlie: Because people believe in you. Because you speak and have such a positive energy around you.

Eden: Thank you, Charlie.

Charlie: You know what I mean? That’s what I love about you, because not only are you a talented actor and you’re serious, but you give so much to people.

Eden: Thank you.

Charlie: You’ve spent all of your days trying to help people become better.

Eden: That was what I’m obsessed with. I believe –

Charlie: And look, I mean, your life just continues to take off. The world just keeps bringing stuff back to you.

Eden: It does, it’s crazy.

What would you say to people that are worried about the money and worried about life?

Charlie: I tell students because they’re freaked out, they don’t want to take all these classes, I say, “Listen, if you’re going to start a business, you have to invest in it. If that business is you and your body and your craft,” but it scares people. They won’t do it. They’ll put it off until all the stars are aligned.

Eden: Exactly.

Charlie: The stars are never going to be aligned.

Eden: They’ll never going to be aligned.

Charlie: What do you say to people like that?

Eden: It’s the pine box rule.

Charlie: Pine box rule?

Eden: Yes. Basically, mainly for me, it’s just like, “Am I going to be thinking about this when they put that moment before I get put in that box and get buried in the ground?” No, I’m not.

Charlie: I’m going to steal that.

Eden: Yes, please do. For me, for a lot of this stuff, that’s what it’s about. It’s like, “The money will come.” If you think about the how, the aligning of the stars, like how am I going to do something, that’s not your work. Whatever you believe in, God, the universe, that’s its work. Your work is figuring out like, “Look, this is what I want to do with my life. This is how I’m going to grow the universe.” I don’t believe in this idea that God is a stagnant thing, the universe is a stagnant thing. I believe it’s growing with all of us. Right? The idea is if we’re committed to growth, it’s always going to support, the universe always supports dreamers. There is a safety net. There will be. I had no money when I started the Maggie Flanigan Studio. I had no money when I was starting Bruce. Right? I say, had a little bit of money before I started Maggie Flanigan but then, it all went away because I wasn’t going on on auditions as much. I committed fully to doing this. Money came. The money will always come. I had 53 cents in the bank, I think.

eden marry show talks with Charlie Sandlan about the two year acting program and acting classes at the studio

Eden Marryshow at ABFF Awards – Professional Acting Programs – Maggie Flanigan Studio – (917) 794-3878

Charlie: I remember you talking–

Eden: Yes. We are going to complete — We were editing, finishing, trying to finish up the editing of Bruce and I had ¢53 in the bank, and we owed about almost $6,000 in rent. We have never been late in our rent before, ever. Cesa is like, “Eden, you know you’re going to have to get, probably, have to get a job.” And I hadn’t had a job in years because I’ve been working as an actor, which is amazing. Doing like dream big, go hard.

I was like, “Oh man. I have to get a job, and figure this out.” but I wanted to finish my movie. So, I’m talking to my friend, one day, and I look in her eyes, like literally that afternoon, I look in her eyes and I’m telling the story and there’s something in her eyes that was just like, no, and I was like you’d be a hypocrite. I was like I’m going to do the only thing I know how to do, which is to go home and work on my film and trust that the universe will be there.

Long story a little shorter, I get a call to go on a voice over audition. I end up booking in like the next three days, a National Bacardi spot. Voice over became like the voice of Bacardi, for that season. That was it, it just happens. I’m not special. I mean I’m special, but we’re all special. It’s not like, it’s not rocket science, it’s just idea, the scariest thing is to jump in. If you do it it will happen, if you’re watching television and you’re like this guy’s a hack, or this woman’s a hack, or this one has no talent, you shut the f*** up and do something.

Charlie: That’s right because you’re not in the arena, right? As Brene Brown said you’re not in the arena.

Eden: And before her Teddy Roosevelt, which was the speech that Eric Kooner made in a lesson in our voice two class, which was my introduction to it, and I was like dude, who said that I’m about that. The man in the arena, you know, was a bunch of critics, who are going to be woman enough, to jump in and say let’s get it.

Charlie: That’s right.

acting program - maggie flanigan studio 01 - (917) 794-3878

Acting Program – Students in the Two Year Acting Program -Maggie Flanigan Studio – (917) 794-3878

Apply for Admission to the Maggie Flanigan Studio

Apply today for admission to the acting programs and acting classes at the Maggie Flanigan Studio. Admission to the studio is based on an interview with Charlie Sandlan, the executive director. Call the studio with any question you have about our acting classes, two-year programs, and summer acting programs or visit the studio website (

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