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Spontaneity and the Meisner Technique

Actors who study the Meisner technique learn what it means to be spontaneous. In this video blog, Charlie Sandlan from the Maggie Flanigan Studio discusses the importance of authentic behavior and the ability to be spontaneous.

spomtaneity maggie flanigan studio 01 (917) 794-3878

Spontaneity: Charlie Sandlan in Class – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 794-3878

There are a number of fundamental skills that the Meisner Technique instills in actors. One of the most important is the ability to be spontaneous. It is an essential part of an actor’s capacity to create authentic, organic behavior. Aspiring actors who are coming to New York will often begin a search for acting classes that will challenge and inspire them to approach acting in an artistic and disciplined way. Meisner training has become one of the primary acting techniques in the United States because of its ability to ground an actor in the present moment, with the attention completely off themselves and onto the other, listening, and responding personally and spontaneously in every moment. That takes a full year to become second nature and cannot be learned in a film or scene study class. It is also possible to begin this training in a respected six-week summer Meisner intensive.


One of the most important skills that the Meisner Technique instills in actors is the ability to be spontaneous. This takes a full year to learn.

Charlie SandlanExecutive Director, Head of Acting

Professionally, a casting director may audition 200-300 actors for a major part. More than likely 280 of them will give the same audition, with the same clichéd line readings, and pedestrian behavior. The ability to craft personally, listen intently, and imaginatively interpret material is vital. What makes all of that work pay off in the experience of living it through is in the ability to respond spontaneously, out of your head, and impulsively free. That takes training and hard work to accomplish.

True spontaneity in acting requires a stripping away of the socialization, education, and parenting that has instilled in us the habit of thinking before we speak. Dismantling this habit of withholding who we really are, of what we really feel, of breaking the tendency of apology and avoidance is one of the first major goals in a serious acting program. Spontaneity equals authenticity, and who you are, what makes you unique will not come to the surface without it. An actor who lacks spontaneity will hesitate. And hesitation makes it impossible to be impulsive. Your work will be cautious and dead.

The beginning of the Meisner technique immediately begins to address the importance of listening, and responding spontaneously. If you are looking for NYC acting programs, you might consider starting with a six-week Meisner summer intensive. In six weeks, it is possible to work on yourself in a way that frees your instincts, grounds you in truth, and allows you the ability to listen and act on your spontaneous impulses. It is the bedrock of an actor’s craft.

spomtaneity maggie flanigan studio 02 (917) 794-3878

Spontaneity and the Meisner Technique – Acting Students in Class – Maggie Flanigan Studio Call (917) 794-3878

Learn More About Maggie Flanigan Studio

To learn more about the Meisner Summer Intensive and summer acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, visit the acting programs and acting classes page on the studio website

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