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Training Like an Athlete

The 18-month acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio is an acting program in New York that introduces serious actors to the Meisner Technique in a small intimate studio environment. Troy Press talks about his experience in the acting program and the work ethic that students will need to have.

Troy Press talks about the acting program and training like an athlete

18-Month Acting Program New York – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 794-3878

Q: Troy, what did you think it meant to train as an actor before you started the six-week summer intensive?

A: Before I started the six-week program, I thought that acting was more performance-based. A lot of classes that I’ve taken at other places that I’ve trained have been a lot about jumping right into scenes, jumping right into the script, so maybe that is the way the text is being read. When before you get to even all that stuff, I am not even sure I was also being taught correctly. Now I’m second guessing it on all the techniques that I’ve learned before because this technique has hit home with me.

I thought that acting was very performance-based. It has to do so much from within yourself of just listening, being present and being direct, having a point of view on things and taking in precisely what is happening at that moment, working off somebody else and then for you. It’s just having a great conversation with somebody the same way sometimes somebody can say something to you, and it makes your day or moves you or motivates you to go to the gym or motivates you to open the door for somebody maybe the next time. It’s about taking advantage of those moments in your life.

Q: Was there a moment where your perspective changed on what it means to train as an actor?

A: Yes. I think from the jump; Charlie said it straight by saying what this class is going to entail and he laid it out. I’ve appreciated that because me being a competitive athlete and playing at a high level, I had that mentality of somebody just saying, “This is what it’s going to be. Take it or whatever”. We’ve had people that dropped out of the class. People can’t handle the heat or whatever it is, and it’s nothing against them.


If you struggle with taking the heat of a challenge, I don't think this is the place for you. If you want to get better every single time you step here, this is the right place. The studio lives up to the hype.

Troy PressTwo Year Acting Program, Student

It’s just maybe this isn’t their style, or perhaps the craft isn’t a fit, whatever it is. For someone like me it kicks it up a notch, it sparks something, it makes me go ten times harder. I love being with my back against the wall. You put me there any time of the day. I love that feeling, and I think this class is a prime example of that because they’re going to give you the tools. They’re going to provide you with the resources and the time to do it. If you’re not putting in the work and you’re not mentally preparing and just coming in open, ready to work and prepared to leave everything at the door when you step in, then this probably isn’t the right place for you.

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

A: What did I learn about myself that’s a surprise? Surprise wise, I’d say just, I knew I had certain things installed within, but being able to pull them out when needed at the appropriate time. That it’s not something that you should look down upon if you have something that could trigger you or if you have emotions that maybe you’re like, “You know what, I might not want to say that because this could offend somebody.” These are just the things that make you who you are.

Sometimes as human beings we walk around in the world, and we are acting because we are putting on this friendly appearance, “How are you? Great to see you today, blah, blah”. When inside you’re probably feeling a different way about it. Maybe you are thinking about the way somebody just looked at you, the fact that you just got off the subway, the way you feel about somebody at work, the way your mother just spoke to you; you want to release all of that. In life, we are doing the acting technique. We are not present at all times.

Here, I’ve just been surprised at how simple the training can be, and how it can open up things for yourself. Yes, I would say that’s what’s changed me. It’s just beingĀ present. Taking the time to listen to people. There are still conversations that I have, and you start to check out at some point because you’re like, “All right, this person’s going nowhere,” or whatever. At the same time, there are times now where I’m in a conversation, and I’m giving that person my full attention and, feeling more confident about the interaction that we’re having because I’m taking what he or she is saying and hopefully they’re doing the same. And living in the moment right there at that time.

Q: People have a misconception that they can wake up and be an actor with no training. How has your previous training as an athlete helped you prepare and be open to the rigorous training program here?

A: I love that question because if you think about it from an athlete standpoint, it’s the whole day. If you’re an athlete, you wake up and what are you putting into your body is probably the first question. Are you getting a morning workout in is perhaps the second question? From there how are you fueling up? How are you recovering? Are you getting your vitamins? Are you going to stretch? Are you going to a sauna? Are you taking a hot shower? Are you doing yoga to get your mind right? These are all just some small, although they’re big things, that’s just a percentage of it.

admission to the studio and the 18 month acting program is by interview only

On the athletes side for me I used to have 5:00 AM wake-ups, it was running in the cold, sweatshirts tied tight for an hour and a half, and that was just the start of the day, then going back to fueling up and then watching film about how we’re going to get better. Then we could have our craft again, of actually playing against each other and competing and then later that night it was usually a nighttime lift of some sort, getting the muscles and then recovery meal at night.

Now, I don’t know if it was the healthiest pattern, but it just talks about the work ethic that goes into something like that. Then even if you’re coming here and it’s like, “Okay, well, I have class tonight from 6:00 to 9:00, that’s my day’s work”. That’s three hours where what I just spoke about when I was playing at a very high level I was busting my a** from 5:00 AM till 10:00 at night on top of doing other stuff in my life and other work things.

Now I’m just saying three hours compared to a whole day and I’m not thinking, “Oh, maybe if I have this healthier option I’m going to perform better in class.” Yes. You will perform better if you are healthier. You’re going to be in a healthier state of mind. Everything should tie-in, and you should translate that mentality from crafting to the athlete or whatever it is that you do.

Troy Press talks about the acting programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Acting Programs New York – Maggie Flanigan Studio – Call (917) 794-3878

Q: You mentioned you studied at some other studios, with some other teachers. How is the experience been different here?

A: Yes it’s been different. A different style is probably the easy answer to start. I’d say this is a little bit healthier in terms of if you have to dig for a particular scene or role or for crafting work, because obviously, you want to live it out, but maybe you’re not pulling from a real experience like what I have done before, and that can be draining on you. To me, it felt like sometimes it hurt the scene itself because you’re just going back to that moment.

Maybe I’m pulling something out of it, and I’m talking to the person the way I did talk to them, instead of being present with you, or whoever it is and feeding off of them. Maybe my mind was already made up and, again, I think for the mind and the heart and other places that it just feels more natural to not dive into whatever it is. If you’ve lost a loved one or if you’ve broken out with somebody, or whatever.

It’s tough because you have to be somebody that can zone in and be able to live it, breathe it and believe it. If you don’t do that, you could say, “You know what, maybe it is easier to pull something from my past,” in that sense to go into, if you needed to pull from a scene or a moment or whatever. I don’t know, and I could see both sides of it. Maybe it isn’t the worst idea to if you need to get somewhere to use something from your memory to get you to a place, but I think overall, this has made me feel healthier and more truthful and more alive.

Q: Why did you ultimately decide to study at Maggie Flanigan Studio?

A: I decided to study here because it was recommended by a lot of fellow actor friends of mine, a lot of people in the industry. I finished filming a feature last summer, and one of the writers was telling me all about the studio. Every time you hear something, you’re like, “Yes, whatever.” Then, I started listening to it more and more and more. This studio lives up to the f****** hype. I’m here for a reason and excited about wherever it goes, wherever it takes me for sure.

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

A: Yes, Charlie. I love everything there is about the man. I feel if you struggle with taking the heat of a challenge, I don’t think this is the place for you. If you want to get better every single time you step here if you’re going to feel like there’s a comfortable place for you to create, which I find is tough in any city that you are. Once you get somewhere and you start feeling comfortable like, “I can start creating for myself. I can open up.”, I think this is the place. I think, Charlie, as we like to say in the athletic world, to me is the G.O.A.T. He is the greatest of all time.

students in the 18 month acting program with Karen Chamberlain at Maggie Flanigan Studio.

18-Month Acting Program at Maggie Flanigan Studio with Karen Chamberlain

Learn More About the 18-Month Acting Program at Maggie Flanigan Studio

To learn more about the 18-month acting program as well as the other acting programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, visit the acting programs and acting classes page on the website ( Admission to the studio is based on an interview with Charlie Sandlan. Interested students should visit the admission page and contact the studio with any questions. Call (917) 794-3878.

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