Bringing My Soul Forward

Fall Meisner Intensive Tashima Evans 01 - Maggie Flanigan Studio

The Maggie Flanigan Meisner Intensive trains professional actors utilizing the teaching and work of Sanford Meisner.

Fall Meisner Intensive Tashima Evans 01 - Maggie Flanigan Studio
Fall Meisner Intensive Tashima Evans – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: Tashima, what did you think training as a celebrity before you began the six-week Meisner intensive?

A: Well, to be very honest, I’m just going to discuss my introduction to the studio and what my expectation was in coming to researching here for the summer. I looked at it as it would be another class I would take. That is kind of the way I seemed coming to, studying in the studio, that is the way I looked in my expertise. I was like,”I’ll do this. I will study a bit, I will add it to my resume and flourish, I’ll be useful.”

Q: What do you think celebrity training is now that you’re on your last week of the six-week program?

A: It’s been, for me, incredibly life-changing. I’ve seen it help me grow up to my artistry, and that I feel like coming to it, I had the esteem for acting as an art. I am an artist. I say,”I’m not only an actor, I’m an artist.” I’ve had a deep esteem for artistry, but I really don’t think I saw just how deeply flawed I was in my view of my artwork and how I set constraints on what I did with my art.

I really feel like being at the class using Charlie has been mind-blowing. It has impacted my personal life. If something is going on this I would like to do, I’m thinking, What’s more important, exactly what this person is doing or what you need and want? It has helped me to become clear about what I wanted in my entire life, and there is no turning back, I feel like today. It’s no way for me to go back to whatever I was doing before as a celebrity. It has completely altered how I view training.

Q: Was there something special that happened over the course of the six weeks that changed your perspective on the training?

There were so many moments, not just for myself, but seeing other people work, but I will say there was one moment in which I was doing an activity, and that I used a very personal experience. I wept in a way that I’ve never cried in front of anybody. No one in my life, my family, friends that I’m close to that I know has ever seen that part of me. It was something I have done privately by myself, but never in front of people.

For me, that atmosphere is very addicting. It also it showed me that’s what I need to share more as a celebrity. I want to expose more of my personal moments. When I am by myself, once I’m my ideas, when I’m at the car, whatever that is, I wish to showcase that. I feel like this opened my eyes to what I’ve been a wall that has been around for myself. It has been like, I can be strong, and I will do this small part of myself but this personal moment, feelings, and feelings that I talk about, I don’t want to share this.” I feel like this was the moment where it opened it up for me, and I was like, Hey, just do whatever you feel what is real.

Fall Meisner Intensive Tashima Evans 02 - Maggie Flanigan Studio
Fall Meisner Intensive Tashima Evans 02 – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: What did you find out over the course of the six months which has been a surprise or that changed you?

A: That I had training. I came into it thinking,”Well, I am going to perform this class and then I’m just going to place it on my resume. I do not even have to move ahead in anyway.” Just how much I had to unlearn and grow as a performer and the way I had emotional blocks in places I was not even aware of. I feel like that was a big thing for me, but also to be of myself and be real and authentic.

A: I will say that I did take things away which were great from other conditions or adventures that I had since it can to where I am, but I feel before, I was enjoying at acting. I wasn’t tried and right coming out of my heart and my spirit more. I really feel like being studying at Maggie and researching Charlie has taught me how to bring my soul ahead, and it is not a thing that I am playing at but being real and being authentic. I feel like that’s the gap, not beingalso, about Charlie, is Charlie is not trying to sugarcoat anything. He is keeping it all the way real.

I even tell people that the thing he’s noticed about me and about matters that I will do and the way that it materializes in class, I am not even aware. He has been so on point and true in a way that no additional acting coach has performed with me before. I feel like this is where it is all about the artistry, it’s about the craft. It’s about respecting it, and it is not about, Let us see what jobs you’re likely to publication. No, it’s like, No. Where’s your heart? Where is your spirit? Where is the atmosphere?”

Q: How would you describe Charlie as a teacher?

A: Well, he’s rough. There were moments in the beginning, as I had been getting to know him, that he does not even know this, but I had been p***** off at him. I could think in my head like, I will walk out” I’m telling myself calming myself down and turning, I’m going to walk out,” but I understood I want his teaching style. It is not likely to be all about making you feel good, it is likely to be on the fact, and sometimes, the truth hurts. It doesn’t always feel good. I feel like Charlie has a respect for the craft, respect for the art, and he is not about making people feel great. I have seen myself and people cry because of that.

Q: What would you say to someone who had been considering signing up for the Meisner intensive next summer, but is stating, I really don’t require the training. So is a famed actor and they didn’t do some training.” Or, I’m 24, I am too old, or I don’t have enough time. What could you say to this person?

A: We all must grow. As anybody has learned it had been that there was so much in me that needed to emerge. I hadn’t even at all touched my maximum potential. I do not even feel like this I have reached that in six weeks. It’s been like grazing the surface of what I am capable of doing. It’s well worth the investment; it’s well worth the time. Who cares what anyone else is doing? What do you see yourself needing to do? What do you know which you have to bring forth? What about yourself needs to shape and change?

If someone’s even inquiring about it, then there’s a part of you that understands you need it. Do not sell yourself think, No, I am good because I have done that before.” You need to grow” If you want to be great at anything, then it requires training.

Q: There are a lot of intensives all over the country and lots of Meisner intensives in New York, so why would you tell someone that Maggie Flanigan Studio is the best location for them to train?

A: Before arriving here, I looked at some other areas. From what I have seen, in the folks that have studied this was a tried and true like, This is where you need to be.” I came to a motion performance, it was their final movement functionality, and that I was moved to tears. Not even just since, Oh my gosh, these are great looking people and they’re great,” but every single person’s soul was infused in what they were doing.

I feel like studying in Maggie has shown me exactly what everyone is. It sets a standard for every person in the class, professionally as far as artistically. I simply have not experienced that anyplace else. I’m tough– What is it, such as a hard egg to crack? It is the truth for me, and it’s opened me up in so many other ways. I feel like there is no other place for me .

the best new york acting programs
The Best New York Acting Programs

Acting Programs and the Meisner Intensive at Maggie Flanigan Studio

To find out more about the acting programs in the Maggie Flanigan Studio, including the Meisner Intensive, visit the acting programs and enrollment pages on the studio website. Call (917) 789-1599.

This interview summary first appeared in the Maggie Flanigan Studio blog:


Two Year Acting Program: Xandra Leigh Parker

Two Year Acting Program - Meisner Studio Philadelphia 03

If it concerns the Meisner technique, the Maggie Flanigan Studio is regarded by many to be the most professional and most respected actor training program in the United States.

Two Year Acting Program - Meisner Studio Philadelphia 02
Two Year Acting Program – Meisner Studio Philadelphia 02

I think it’s turned out great. I get a lot of time in class. I get to work on all different thing. I get to use everybody. You get to really know everyone and it turns into a very comfortable environment due to this, also it gives you the freedom to do things you did not know you’re prepared or capable to do. I believe that it’s worked out really wonderfully for me.

I believe that is the importance of the two-year program, is that Charlie, especially, will have to know you quite well and be able to dig in there and work with you personally as you gradually lose the blocks that you have. I think that it’s important because it is such a very long program that you get to get those things for this, I figure. Absolutely. I am starting to feel what Charlie’s talking about until he’s going to say it, so I think that it’s starting to drop away, which is really wonderful. I believe to what they needing to operate on each individual’s critiques are completely tailored by him. Amazing. It’s like I have a family a little bit. Everybody supportive of one another in class and out, and we hold each other accountable and push each other. I think that it’s an environment because of how.

And you’re registered in the professional actor training program, how can you believe, taking each one of the auxiliary classes, you’re only on your first year, however how do you find that currently profiting you in the acting class?

Immensely, not even only in my acting classes but also in life, because I’m carrying lots of the self-wellness classes also. I think that matters had a good grasp on, it’s incredible how much I have instituted that at the rest of my life and just how much I did not know. I believe the whole program builds on itself well. I’m not even sure how to say that. I think that they all slowly assist the acting program till you are about halfway through and you begin to see all of the little things.

You’d worked formerly before you came in here, what finally made you choose to come and study and commit to the program, take out time in livelihood and really devote to training?

I felt like I did not have a solid method of working yet. I had bits, but I didn’t have a good foundation to being able to go in and do my very best work. When I had been doing fantastic work, it had been out of chance rather than out of training. I think that the choice was by far the best one. I’ve seen how I would have approached characters before much otherwise and almost wish I could go back and do it again. I also think that my life experience with all the training program has been beneficial for me, I’m glad I am hitting it in this time, definitely.

How can you believe both Charlie and your classmates have helped you increase your standard for yourself? What you are willing to devote to the project you’re working on, the functions you are growing, how have they helped you raise your standard?

As soon as you have one of these classes which you are feeling completely hastened, you would like it more and more and more. It’s almost like you want yourself. It’s not a competition with your classmates, however you want to be certain that you’re constantly pushing and constantly striving to do something which scares you because that atmosphere is un-fakeable, I believe, and has been some of the scariest classes but also the best things that I was scared to do so, even to strategy for a subject, have been monumentally helpful.

meisner technique two year acting program xandra leigh parker 03
Meisner Technique Two Year Acting Program – Xandra Leigh Parker

And compared to other areas you’ve researched or taken classes, just how do they compare to Maggie Flanigan Studio?

The dedication is different. Everybody here who I have worked with is here for the correct reasons. They want this. They are eager to work for this, and that’s just unlike a great deal of studios I was in. The proportion of men and women who are there for the correct motives, who are really here in order to train to be a real artist, to make choices that are courageous and bold and to take it. I believe that is a major difference. And you feel safe here in order to try that stuff.

How have Charlie and the other educators in Maggie Flanigan Studio supported your individual growth?

I think it’s very individual. I really feel as if I have a relationship. They instruct each pupil to what they need differently. I believe it individualized, and I think that’s my favourite thing about it. My relationship with my teachers is different than another student’s, and that is how it should be.

What could you say to someone that’s possibly a buddy that has been working in the business for some time but hasn’t really committed to training or they feel like they’re stuck or perhaps somebody you’ve just met at a workshop and they’re maybe toying or considering committing to a two-year program especially, maybe not your learning in studio?

I would say, going back to school is a very difficult decision for me because I had been worried that I was taking a step back again. But at exactly the same time, I felt like I didn’t have the principles and at least in the beginning of the year no matter how frustrating the principles are, and they definitely were, I think that it’s constructed a much more solid base for myself to try frightening things, and I think that’s the thing I would say to individuals that are thinking about doing this. If you don’t have a good base, how can you build a profession? So I’d say, “Surely. Jump in and get it done.” This is the place for me.

Well, you’re finishing up your first year right now and you’re likely to be heading to the next year at the fall, are you really excited? How do you feel about that?

I am quite excited. We’ve gotten tidbits that everything hasn’t been given by years away, but I am really eager to try each of the things that we keep shoving and keep pushing and keep hearing whispers around. Yes, I’m very excited for the year.

So, Xandra, a couple pupils who you started the first year with, in September, is no more here, what does this say about the program, the passion, and the dedication it takes to become a significant actor?

I believe this program targets artistry, first and foremost, and taking opportunities, but it also focuses on work ethic. There is a lot demanded of you and many of it’s on yourself. And, needless to say, the classes require that you construct on it, but then you are not doing anything, if you are not working for yourself. I think that this program thus far has also coached me to drive, and push, and push and constantly work hard. Charlie cautioned us that that was it is just to work as quickly as you can. And he was correct. I don’t think I have ever worked as hard in a program before, and I am very glad that I’m.

Two Year Acting Program - Meisner Studio Philadelphia 01
Two Year Acting Program – Meisner Studio Philadelphia 01

And what could you say to a fellow actor who’s out there auditioning, maybe not reserving, they are working and wish to be booking, that’s fearful that training will take away their authenticity, or put them inside their head, or eliminate what makes them special. That coming to a program like this would get in the manner that. What would you say to them?

I believe that this program can help you research your identity. It Kind of illuminates it, if anything. I’ve found a lot more about myself and my own issues with acting or blocks that I’ve given myself my stress and what that means for me personally. I believe that it helps you open up your individuality over anything else. You have a clearer idea of who you are what you think, and as a individual, and what you strike. I believe, it is the opposite if anything else.

Interested actors should call (973) 532-5263 to arrange an interview.

This article appeared on this website first: Top Two Year Acting Program

Nutrition for Actors: Knowing your Primary and Secondary “Foods”

Lianna Nielsen teaches nutrition classes for actors at the Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York. In this video blog post Lianna talks about the importance in understanding the connection between primary foods and secondary foods.

One of the biggest lessons I took from my time at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition is the concept of Primary Foods. It’s so simple yet so profoundly important and continues to keep me healthy and sane despite the uncertainty of a life in the arts. It starts with the understanding that there are two types of food, Primary and Secondary. Primary Foods are made up of your relationships, career, exercise and spirituality (whatever that may mean to you) and Secondary Foods are literally the food you eat, the medicines you take, and the alcohol you drink — anything you physically consume.

The theory is that if one of your Primary Foods is out of balance it will be manifested as a Secondary Food craving. For example if you are feeling sad, lonely, or heartbroken, people will often tend to crave sweets in order to numb the emotional pain. Another great example is stress — it causes some people to crave junk food or even feel hungrier, while others may completely lose their appetite. On the other hand, when we are happy and everything is in balance it can be much easier to make healthier choices, and even when we don’t, they seem to have less of an affect on us.


I remember noticing a pattern in my early 20’s that whenever I would start dating someone new, someone I really liked, I could effortlessly lose a few pounds — no matter what I was eating or how much I was exercising. I loved the way my body looked and felt but knew that the “new boyfriend diet,” though enticing, probably wasn’t the answer. Only later did I realize that it was the excitement and happiness that led me to feel and look the way I did.

For me it was a major shift to think about nourishment more broadly than just my relationship to food. Understanding that the quality of our lives — how happy, how fulfilled, and how connected to others we are, is as important to our physical health as food and exercise.

nutrition for actors lianna nielsen 04

So I encourage you to start paying closer attention to your body, becoming aware of your cravings, because they are actually important messages. Think of cravings not as weaknesses, but as a guide to help you to create and maintain balance. When you start to feel sick, overweight, exhausted or even just hungry especially when you shouldn’t be, check in with yourself. Are you sleeping enough? How stressed are you and what are you doing to combat this stress? How are your relationships? Look for areas that are out of balance and correct them. Simple things like exercise, adequate sleep, or spending more time with loved ones (in addition to eating good food, of course) can make a huge difference.

When given the opportunity, our bodies will naturally choose to be healthy and happy. By learning to listen to what our bodies are telling us, we get a better sense of what we need to feel our best and therefore perform and create at our highest levels. Any serious actor must not only master their instrument, but also care for and protect it, the same way a concert violinist polishes, tunes, and attends her violin. The beauty of learning to listen to and trust our acting instrument is that the more we pay attention to that inner voice (intuition, true self — whatever you choose to call it), the more we are connected to our creativity …because it’s the same voice.

For more information about nutrition classes for actors, as wells other acting classes at the studio, visit the studio website or call 917-789-1599.

3 Misconceptions About Professional Actor Training

I have found over the last decade and a half training aspiring actors in the Meisner Technique, that most students have big misconceptions about training when they first start exploring their options. There are such an array of classes, workshops, conservatories, and coaches in NYC, that if one does not have a good understanding of what is needed, a great deal of money and time can be thrown away.

The first thing that must occur is true clarity about the type of actor and artist you wish to be. The art of acting has been diminished over the past twenty-years. In our current superficial pop-culture, acting is now primarily an outlet for attention seekers intoxicated with the mirage of fame and celebrity. Much of the so called training in this country has found a way to cater to the idea that craft and technique can be acquired very quickly: come take my weekend audition workshop, learn how to book the job, sign-up for our acclaimed film & tv class, come learn important tips from our working professional casting directors and agents, etc. These misunderstandings lead to some big misconceptions about establishing a serious acting career.

I don’t like theater, I just want to study Film & TV

I hear this all the time. The idea that somehow an actor works on a script differently for theater and film is absolutely false. Certainly, both are completely different mediums, but acting is acting. The ability to truthfully do under an imaginary circumstance is the definition of acting. The fundamentals needed to consistently create the flawless illusion of life: out of your head, on your spontaneous impulses, functioning from an open vulnerable and sensitized body, the ability to craft in a simple, specific and personal way, and comfortable functioning from your rage, heartbreak, joy, silliness, fear, sensuality, embarrassment, and humiliation is the same regardless of the stage or the camera. You will not learn to act in a six-week or one year “Film & TV” class.


I don’t need voice & movement, I just want to learn to act.

Any serious artist masters their instrument. The musician, the sculptor, the dancer, the painter, and even the athlete, all work constantly on the ability to handle the tools of their craft with total command, confidence, and ease. For the actor to be truly transformational, a fully developed physical instrument in necessary. A resonant voice, clear speech, and a pliable body capable of processing rich emotion, is what will make you watchable. Tense and strained actors are not interesting or compelling. All an audience experiences is their tension. It is the sign of an amateur.

misconceptions about Professional Actor Training



I’m too old to commit to two years of training. I’ll miss out on a career. I need to audition now.

If I had a dollar for every actor (of any age, but especially those in their 20’s & 30’s) who shared this unrealistic fear, I’d have a vacation home. What aspiring actors fail to realize, is that it’s the training that will give you credibility. Do you know how many thousands upon thousands of people flock to LA and NYC to pursue a fantasy? No one – casting directors, agents, managers etc. will take you seriously, or risk a chance on you if you have no training. You’re just someone who thinks acting is cool. Real industry professionals have their careers and reputations on the line. They find talent from the top MFA, BFA, and Two-Year Acting Programs in the United States. I would not base a long, successful career on looks and personality.

So take yourself seriously, whatever it is you choose to do in life. If you don’t have a clear vision of the artist you want to be, than you are simply wasting your time.