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Crying in Front of Strangers

Experienced actors looking for the best summer acting programs often choose Maggie Flanigan Studio. Whitley Cargill talks about the six-week summer acting program and the difference between university level acting classes and professional acting training with Maggie Flanigan Studio.

Best Summer Acting Programs – Whitley Cargill

Whitley Cargill talks about the summer acting programs at Maggie Flanigan Studio

Best Summer Acting Programs Whitley Cargill 01 – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: Whitley, what did you think it meant to train as an actor before starting the six-week summer intensive at Maggie Flanigan Studio?

I didn’t know that it would take as much of an emotional pull out of me as it did when I thought of training as an actor. My experience so far from studying theater in a university was that you would be more so memorizing. It would be a lot of repetition and just learning lines, but coming here, which I was looking for, I found the emotional need that you have to put into work as an actor.


Come here to study because you're not going to waste your time, you're going to learn. Even though you don't have class every day, you still have to commit.

Whitley CargillActing Programs, Student

Q: What happened during these past six weeks that was a surprise, or that changed you?

Crying, yelling, screaming, every emotion that I would usually have in my bedroom or with a close friend or something, having it in front of the entire class or in front of Charlie, was surprising because I’ve never experienced it before. It’s not something that I pulled out in front of people I’ve never really known before or that I’ve pulled out while being on the stage. I loved it, but it was something very new to me, and it was unique in my acting training, too, just getting in touch with the deeper part of myself.

Q: How has the six-week summer intensive changed you as both an actor and a person?

As a person, I don’t think it’s changed me. Before coming here, I had a lot of experiences in life where I already became open and comfortable with sharing, which was an excellent characteristic to have coming in because, plot twist, you’re going to be doing that the whole time, just like sharing how you feel all the time and sharing your inner self. I was already used to doing that, but many things changed for me professionally, in my acting, learning to work with different people.

Many people come in, even though it’s like training, they still have their ways in which they like work and do their techniques. It’s adjusting to working with another person you’ve never worked with before. Yes, professionally, I guess it has been the most significant change and being comfortable crying in front of strangers because that was my biggest thing. I can scream, I can yell, I can dance, but I’m not going to cry, but now, I can cry in front of you, so that’s nice.

Q: Have you ever studied the Meisner Technique before in any other studio?

No, I never studied it before. It’s my first time, and I’m happy with what I learned. Of all the Meisner programs I could have run into, this probably one of the best. I feel like I actually learned something. I’m happy I came here.

summer acting program banner

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

I came in with no expectation so that I wouldn’t be scared or disappointed. Different, in that, I had no idea what was going to happen, and a whole lot of things happen. I expected it to take up time because in theater, in university, it’s very time-consuming. You have to put many things aside and sacrifice a lot of your time and some of your relaxation to do the work. I expected that coming here. I was willing to put aside the time to do my job. That was very different.

Q: You’re originally from the Bahamas. Do you have any advice about students coming just to study for the summer?

I say, before you come here, have your own– They talk about self-care. Have your routine already, and your version of meditation and calming yourself down. I don’t necessarily have the traditional way of doing that, but it’s just coming here, it can be very stressful because when you come to class, you’re going to be emotionally drained, and then, you’re going to walk through the city, and someone’s going to walk into you, and you have not to crack your face because you’re trying to look healthy. You’re just walking around like, “I have a problem,” but deep down, there’s a whirlwind.

Develop that inner voice that calms you down reassures yourself and everything, and tries to stay in touch with the people because if you’re moving here for the program, you may be by yourself. Try to keep in touch with the people where you’re from, who you usually socialize with, and keep that support. Stay in touch with your friends if you talk to them. Stay in touch with your family if you speak to them. When you come to class– My experience has been great. Everyone’s been open. Try to talk to people in class too because chances are; many people are going through the same experience you’re going through. It’s just right to meet a bunch of people that you know you’ll relate to. You’re doing the same thing. You’re all struggling; just know that you are all struggling. You can all just lean on each other’s shoulders when you need to.

Best Summer Acting Programs Whitley Cargill 03 - Maggie Flanigan Studio

Best Summer Acting Programs Whitley Cargill 03 – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: How has your classmates’ sense of community contributed to your experience in the six-week summer intensive?

It’s been pretty helpful for me. There’ve been a few people; in particular, we’ve made a friendly bond over the summer. It’s nice having that support and talking to people while you’re here because it can get a little lonely. After all, you come here- you shouldn’t– I mean, acting is my passion, but to make your life about one thing, it’s just going to be very detrimental in the long run. It’s always good to have some people to socialize with, some people to talk to, if you’re stressed, some people you can vent to. For me, it’s different having an in-person contact versus talking to someone over the phone or online. It’s always nice to be able to connect with people personally when I’m struggling. It’s been nice.

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

Well, Charlie’s a great teacher. He’s wonderful. I’m learning. He’s not going to tolerate any BS for a second. Does that count? He’s not going to tolerate anything. He’s going, being honest with you. Some people may take it very harshly, very critically, but it’s honestly– I appreciate it because I wanted it, and I want to grow. I want to learn from my mistakes.

He welcomes failure in the classroom, which is great because when you’re learning something as tricky as acting, you’re going to fail repeatedly. It’s going to hurt a lot, but in the classroom, he makes it comfortable with failing, sharing, being vulnerable, breaking down, screaming, talking about your biggest fears and what you want in life. I think just having that level of comfort for this kind, of course, is great for a teacher. Thank you, Charlie.

Best Summer Acting Programs Whitley Cargill 05 - Maggie Flanigan Studio

Best Summer Acting Programs Whitley Cargill 05 – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: There are a lot of summer intensive programs in Manhattan. If you were talking to a fellow actor who was looking for a serious acting program why would you tell them to study at Maggie Flanigan?

Come here because you’re not going to waste your time, you’re going to learn. A lot of people in my class may not know what to expect. I have to say, all around, for all of us that have been- there maybe 20 people in our classroom, we’ve all learned something. There’s been a considerable progression in our ability to act, just be open, and to even just take. I’ve seen growth for every single person that I witnessed come through the summer intensive acting program.

I highly recommend it because there are other programs I know, and it just seems it’s more quantity over quality. You spend more time there; you spend more money. Here, you’ll spend less time and less money because you get to choose exactly what you want. I appreciate that. I don’t know what you’re learning when you’re trying to cram so much in a long period versus coming here; you get the necessary basics, you take your break, you get to rest, you get to get to charge up again, and then– Don’t play around with timing. You still have to commit. Even though you don’t have class every day, you still have to commit. Don’t play with that. Also, you don’t spend every day in the studio, you get something out of it, and you will learn, for sure.

Q: How you feel about going back to school in a few weeks?

Unfortunately, it’s going to be disappointing now. I’m not going to lie. I want this so bad. I want to be an actor. I’m an actor now, but I’m training. I’ll be training for the rest of my life. I feel like this is the first time I’ve taken that’s had something good come out of it. I feel like I’ve progressed, I’ve actually learned something, and that this will really make me towards where I want to be in life and just help me develop further.

Universities that teach theater are just showing you a broad knowledge of theater, whether that be stagecraft or scene work or props, costume designs, and a little bit of acting. I know I want to act. Now, when I go back, there’ll always be aching because this is an experience where I realize I learn and I’ll be pushed towards where I want to go versus I go back, get a little bit of what I want, not even really, just a little bit. I’ll just be so unsatisfied the whole time. I’ll just feel like I’m wasting my time.

Q: Do you think you’ll feel more confident when you get to act in a show or audition for that thing that’s happening at school? Do you think you’ll feel more prepared?

I feel more confident. Before coming here, there was a lot of doubt about, “Am I doing it, right?” Why don’t I– Because you see some great actors, and you’re like, “What the– How? How do I get there?” This is the very first itsy bitsy little step, and I feel like it’s a step. I feel like I will be confident because even though this is the fundamental block of where I want to go, I think I’m still progressing. I know I’ve learned something, and I have something to bring. I know I have something to bear now. I’m going to be more confident.

It’s different. People, being here, there’s a standard. There’s a standard to live up to, which I just never had in university. It was like, “Okay. Yes, you did that. You finished the show. Let’s move on. Okay, nice, you tried. Oh, you finished your monologue, great.” There’s no other feedback to grow, which I was looking for, and I came here, and I found that.

Summer Acting Programs

Learn More About the Best Summer Acting Programs in New York

Experienced actors and students interested in professional actor training should consider the six-week acting programs this summer at the Maggie Flanigan Studio ( ). Acceptance into the studio is based on an interview with Charlie Sandlan, the executive director and head of acting. The application process begins with submitting the online application on the studio website. Students should apply online and contact the studio with questions by calling (917) 794-3878.

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