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A Safe Place to Train

Meisner training provides the professional actor with a tool set that improves  the actor’s ability to audition and perform on stage and on screen with authentic behavior. Ryan Campbell, in this interview, discusses why he considers the studio a safe place to train.

The Importance of Having a Safe Place to Train – Ryan Campbell Interview

student in the meisner training program talks about the first year in the program

Two-Year Meisner Training Program  – Ryan Campbell – Maggie Flanigan Studio (917) 794-3878

Q: Ryan, what did you think it meant to train as an actor before you started the six weeks Summer Intensive at Maggie Flanagan Studio?

A: Honestly, I had no idea, really what professional actor training was. This is the place that I was recommended by previous students to come and check it out if I wanted to train as a professional actor and not hack my way through. This is the place.

Q: What do you think training as an actor means now that you’re almost done with the six weeks?

A: It means hard work. It means a lot of hard work and dedication like any craft. This is a place where you learn that you have to put in the 1000 hours. You have to come here, and you have to have your mindset on becoming better and improving.


When you are opening up parts of your personality and feelings that you've never experienced before, it is important to feel comfortable. This studio is a safe place for you to discover how to train and act as a professional actor.

Ryan CampbellA Safe Place to Train

Q: What did you learn about yourself over these past six weeks that was a surprise, or that changed you?

A: I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I have certain defenses that I didn’t know that I had. I learned that I have feelings that I didn’t realize that I had. I learned that I have a perspective on just about everything. Even when life taught me to–especially in New York City to push things off and not acknowledge everything. This school teaches you how to recognize every feeling that you have and find out your perspective on everything.

Q: This was your first time studying the Meisner Technique?

A: Yes. First time.

Q: There are a lot of takeaways, I’m sure, but what is the thing that you found resonated with you the most, whether it was the repetition or the point of view, whichever it was.

A: I think the thing that resonated with me the most is learning how to listen, honestly. Learning to listen and take things in. The repetition, of course, throws you for a loop. Overall, I think the biggest thing is just listening. It’s just like, everyone feels that they’re already listening. Even when you’re having a conversation, you feel like you hear people already, and you’re like, “Hey, I got what they said.” When you take these classes, you learn how to take in with somebody saying, taking what they mean by that, learning the subtext and things like that. I would say just the listening.

Q: How do you feel changed as an actor?

A: I feel like I’ve just started. This class, I can’t even say that it’s changed me. I would say that it’s almost birthed me. It’s birthed me as an actor. This is a high starting point. Even if you’re coming here to refresh on acting, I think it can be helpful. For me, this is my starting point. I feel like this is where I’m learning a technique for the first time. I’m learning how to craft for the first time. You’re learning the behind the scenes stuff that you can’t get just from watching or being on set.

Q: How has the sense of community amongst your classmates amongst faculty and staff here? How has that contributed to your experience over this past six weeks?

A: I’d say it’s contributed a lot. The faculty here, it’s nice to– although I love Charlie, it is nice to have other perspectives and to get the teaching from different styles, and as far as the community of my classmates it’s been great. When you open up in front of a group of people you’re going here, you get to know a side of them even as they’re getting to see that side of them. It’s essential.

You rely on your classmates a lot. You will depend on your classmates to help you craft; you will rely on them in your scenes in your repetition. It’s probably the most significant thing honestly, having your classmates there to support you. As an actor, you learn that you’re just working out the other person, so they’re everything.

two year acting program interview with Ryan Campbell - maggie flanigan studio - Mata Barr 02

Best Meisner Training Program in New York NY – Call Maggie Flanigan (917) 794-3878

Q: How is training at the studio different than what you expected?

A: It’s a lot different than I expected. I would say, coming in, I had, I would say, what I call the Danielson mentality, which is like, you go in, and you’re like, “Alright, I’m going to learn some karate.” You come in here, and you’re like, “Okay, I already know the kicks in the punches I want to learn the cool stuff.” Then you come in, and it’s the same way of acting. You come in, and you’re like, “Yeah, you know, I already know how to act, a little bit I want to learn how to get the Denzel tear, I want the defensive snap bubble.”

You’re looking for these specific things, and when you walk in, and Charlie laughs, and he goes, “Okay.” Then he tosses you a rag the same way Mr. Miyagi did, and he was wax on wax off and the wax on is your repetition the wax off is your independent activity, and you’re just building from there. It’s honestly like one of those things where everything that you expect is probably going to be wrong, and he’s going to show you how to work to get where you want to get, but you have to put in the time, and you have to learn fundamentals.

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

A: Charlie as a teacher? Charlie is our Miyagi. He is the person that shows you how these activities and this repetition leads to you being able to come alive during the scene. I’ll probably compare him he’s like an architect. He’s like somebody who is going to help you build the career that you want. He’s going to help you create the skills that you want and help you become an actor that you want to become even though he probably doesn’t know who that is.

He’s very supportive. He’s going to tell you the truth 24/7. He’s not going to hold back. It’s all that above honestly because you don’t want a teacher who’s going to ask you, “Well, how do you think you did?” Or you don’t want somebody who’s going to give you a generic answer. Charlie expects the best out of us, and he’s going to push you to that. I appreciate it as a student.

Q: What would you say to a prospective student who maybe thought they were unsure if they should commit to a program like this because of time or money?

A: I would say to that person if you want to grow as an actor and you want to take your career seriously, you have to make the sacrifices to be able to do this. I like left doing like standard American commercial print stuff to take a nine-to-five, just so that I could work this into my schedule, so I can take the night class because it’s just essential.

Having your survival job, I mean, it’s a necessary evil of the game. It’s one of those things where you get what you put into it. If you’re not willing to put your time into this, you’re not ready to suck it up after you get off your nine-to-five and come to class and really give your all and maybe it’s just not for you. Anything that you care about, you have to put the work in. I would say for that person commit and do what you have to do, do what you have to get through.

Q: What would you say for you is the number one reason to study at Maggie Flanagan Studio or any other studio?

A: The number one reason. That’s tough. I would say the number one reason to study at Maggie Flanagan is that it is a safe space for you to discover things and to learn how to act and learn how to work as a professional actor, learn how to train as a professional actor. Finding a place where anybody can feel comfortable is very important.

For instance, like me as a student of color, you must feel comfortable, especially when you’re doing things like activities where certain emotions are going to come out. Charlie is somebody who understands how things work outside of this space. Just like he said personally to other students I’ve seen him speak to and to me is like, “I know that society tells you there are certain things that you cannot do outside of the room, but here at Maggie Flanagan this is your safe space. You can feel comfortable.” That means the world to an actor who is opening up parts of your personality and feelings that you’ve never experienced before.

students in class for the two year meisner training program at the maggie flanigan studio

Two-Year Meisner Training Program – Maggie Flanigan Studio (917) 794-3878

Meisner Training at the Maggie Flanigan Studio

Meisner training at the Maggie Flanigan Studio for many students, begins with the six and eight week Meisner Intensive acting programs. Actors who are interested in applying for admission to the studio should view the acting programs and acting classes page on the studio website. Interested students who have questions should call the studio during business hours at (917) 794-3878.

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