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The Magic of Artistry and Craft

The New York summer acting programs at the Maggie Flanigan studio allow actors like Shamikah Martinez to study the Meisner technique in a small personal setting, for six weeks. In this interview at the studio, Shamikah discusses how she has changed and grown as an actor during the six weeks.

Shamikah Martinez headshot from the New York Summer Acting Programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio

New York acting summer programs – Shanika Martinez 07 – maggie flanigan studio

New York Summer Acting Programs – Shamikah Martinez on Meisner Training

Q: what did you think it meant to train as an actor before you attended the summer acting programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio?

What did I think it meant to train as an actor? Training for me has always felt like using your instrument. That’s pretty much what I came here to do. I had some Meisner background, but it had been years since I’d used it. Just finding that playfulness again and that vulnerability.


At the end of the six weeks, I realized that I had forgotten about the artistry and the craft of acting. It's magic. I am now approaching each audition and doing what it is I'm supposed to be doing in that scene instead of just reciting memorized lines. I am grateful for this reminder.

Shamikah MartinezStudent, Summer Acting Prpgram

Q: Now that the six weeks are over, what do you think it means now?

It’s funny because, at the end of the six weeks, I realized that I had forgotten what the artistry was especially once you start working and there’s so much business on top of the art, it’s easy to forget what the basis is and why we all started doing this in the first place. I remembered in my body what if felt like to walk into a scene and be full. I hope I won’t forget that again.

Q: What happened explicitly over these past six weeks that changed your perspective on acting and training?

I don’t know if it was a perspective change as much as I realized how important it is to keep using yourself and keep working on yourself and keep that practice whether you’re on a set on you’re not. It’s easy to forget the technique and forget how worthwhile it all is and forget how to use your imagination. I realized that I hadn’t been using my imagination to its full potential in a lot of jobs that I’ve booked because there are so many other things to concentrate on.

Taking the summer intensive was a massive reminder of what if you ask all those questions, what if you emotionally prepared? It’s even changed my auditioning now, and how I approach something, it’s not just memorizing lines, and it’s like, “I knew that. I knew it. I forgot about it. How did I forget that?” If you’re not doing all that, it’s not worth it.

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

What did I learn about myself? I learned how much I missed the craft of acting like truly missed it. It’s magic. How many other people can say that they get to live lifetime– just different lives in one lifetime? I don’t think I was getting that from some of the roles I was doing because I wasn’t approaching it with the technique and the same craft that I knew existed and I knew that I enjoyed, but I had stopped practicing the method. I think I got lazy.

Q: That’s easy for us to do when we’re, like you said, focusing on the business and not so much the artistry.


New York Summer Acting Programs - The Meisner Summer Intensive Begins

New York Summer Acting Programs – The Meisner Summer Intensive Begins

Q: You’ve studied the Meisner technique previously. What is it that draws you so much to this technique?

I love the use of imagination in Meisner. It’s like being a kid on the playground. There’re endless possibilities. You don’t have to look in your toolkit and say, “I’m missing these experiences,” or, “I don’t know how to play this role.” When you’re using your imagination, there’s nothing you can’t do. I’m ready for superhero stuff, I think.

Q: Was there a moment over these past six weeks where it started to click again?

The independent activity. A few weeks into doing the independent business, I realized what it was to put the work into it, walk into it, that full. It was I could barely contain myself. I think that’s also when I realized how much it meant to me, to be able to get to that place and we didn’t have a dialogue. There was no research done and character study; it was just your heart and your soul. I was like, “Oh, wow, yes, those things exist,” with or without a script, they exist.

portrait of Shamika Martinez talking about the New York summer acting programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio

New York summer acting programs – Shanika Martinez 05 – maggie flanigan studio

Q: You’re working professionally and auditioning regularly, how have you seen changes in just these past six weeks?

I do feel like my auditions are different now because there is the sense of, “You have to get the words right. You have to wear whatever the nurse would wear, what would a nurse wear? You have to say the right thing to the casting director when you walk in.” Again, it’s all that business, but now, since taking the classes, I just went back to the root of it which is, “What am I going to live through? What is this thing I’m going to experience?”

Because this also might be the only time I ever do it. I haven’t auditioned recently actually, where that was the case, and there are some unfortunate circumstances in the scene, and I got so upset. I can hardly breathe. I looked up at the casting director; she was like, “Are you okay?” I was like, “Yes, no.” It was like I remembered what it was like to live through this. Now approaching each audition and doing what it is I’m supposed to be doing in that scene instead of just reciting memorized lines. I’m grateful for that reminder.

Q: There are a lot of Meisner intensives and a lot of Meisner teachers in Manhattan. Why would you recommend the six weeks summer intensive to other people whether they were green, new in the business or working professionals?

I would recommend taking acting classes, in general, to get yourself back in your body. There’s so many things turned at us where we’re just out of our collection looking at ourselves, going through this chaos of trying to get a job, trying to figure out, “How can I get seen for this,” or reading this or understanding this text that we’re just not in our bodies.

Studying and getting back to that is essential whether you’re a series regular on a thing or you’re starring in a play, or you’ve never done it before. It’s like I got to know myself again, weirdly.

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

Charlie is honest, which I appreciate. There’s a lot of not reliable in this industry, and that’s not helpful when you’re trying to grow as an artist, you’re trying to learn, and you’re trying to figure out your craft and your technique and who you are. You don’t want someone teaching you so that you’ll keep taking their classes. You want someone teaching you because they care about this.

I still remember the first interview here to get into the program, and I was thinking, “Wow, I want to learn from this person, he cares about this.” There is no way that some of that enduring love for it is not going to rub off on me. I think it has.

the 18 month acting program begins soon at the Maggie Flanigan studio

Summer Acting Program in New York – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 794-3878

Apply for Admission to the New York Summer Acting Programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Learn more about Meisner training and the summer acting programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio by visiting the acting programs page on the studio website. Serious students who have questions about the schedule and enrollment should call the studio at (917) 794-3878.



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