Questions for a potential Meisner Teacher

Questions you should ask when interviewing a Meisner School

Who you work with… 

…is just as important as what technique you choose to study. Every school and teacher is different. But a properly trained Meisner teacher will answer the following questions without hesitation or uncertainty:

Are you the person teaching the class?
Some schools will have an assistant or someone else handle the ‘interviews’, which end up being sales pitches for their classes. Make certain you’re meeting with the teacher you will be working with. Keep in mind, some schools will also switch teachers during the course. So ask to meet with the teacher of the class and find out who else may be stepping in to teach.
Do you teach the full 2-year Meisner program and when was your last graduation?

Tons of schools say they offer the full 2 year training, but many don’t even know what the second year of training consists of beyond “Spoon Rivers”. Some who offer it, don’t have enough students completing the 1st year training to continue into a 2nd year. Ask them how often they start a new 2nd year class and when the last one actually completed.

How many students are in a class? Do students get to work every class?
Most schools start a Meisner program with 20+ students. This means you’ll be doing ‘group repetition’ all at once as the teacher walks around couples, or worse,  in a big circle. Or start with group comedic improvisation exercises that aren’t even part of the Meisner Technique. Sure, they’ll say “…you’ll work every class!“, but are you getting 5-10 minutes of a 3 hour class time? Or 20-40 minutes?
Do you require students to rehearse or is it just a suggestion? Are students allowed to work in class if they did not rehearse?

How many times have you sat in an acting class and watched students performing  a scene like they’ve never even seen the script before? Doesn’t that feel like a waste of your time? In a proper Meisner class, students are required to rehearse between classes. What they present in class is what they’ve been working on. They’re not just ‘winging it’. If the school doesn’t require rehearsals, you’ll be sitting there rolling your eyes.

Is your school available for students to rehearse outside of class time?
If they require rehearsals, but tell you to “just do it over Zoom”, run. After the pandemic, a number of schools shut down their studios, or downsized. They may not have the facilities and equipment to do anything more than teach. Especially if they’re renting theater space somewhere to hold a class. Do they have props and set pieces you can use in your work? A desk, a mirror, a couch? Or are you expected to bring all that with you to every class?
Who teacher trained you in the Meisner Technique?

This is critically important. Just because someone studied the Meisner Technique as a student, doesn’t make them qualified to teach the Meisner Technique. Ask who trained them to teach? How were they trained and for how long did this training last? What generation are they removed from Sanford Meisner himself? Meaning, are they 1st generation, and were teacher trained by Meisner himself? 2nd generation, which means they were trained by someone who was trained by Sandy? 3rd generation? 4th? …5th? Did they read Larry Silverberg’s books on how to teach the Meisner Technique and then called themselves a Meisner teacher?

What have you added or changed to the technique from how you were taught? Is it different than what Sanford Meisner taught?

Here again, is a critical question. Many Meisner schools have added or altered the program. Most 3rd or 4th generation teachers won’t even know the differences. But many 2nd generation teachers should know if their training deviated from what Sanford Meisner created and taught. If you’ve already read “Sanford Meisner on Acting” you can ask for any differences compared to what you’ve read in the book. In particular, the order that the exercises are introduced and taught, and the scenes used in the book.

Click for Student Testimonials

Tanya Bettencourt
"I used to think showing vulnerability was a weakness. Not anymore."
Nina Umpierrez
"Completing this program has left me feeling ready and excited to go out and get what I need!"
Amir Hasan
"It did not take long for me to realize that my brain was the biggest obstacle holding me back..."
Vanessa Parker
Vanessa Parker
"...this class shows you that you can go straight to the heart and the emotion"
Alex Montalban
Alex Montalban
"However seemingly simplistic Sandy's method may appear, this school is not for the faint of heart..."
Star Don
"Look another person dead in the eye and just FEEL. It’s the simplest yet hardest thing to do."
DeShaude Barner
"The 2 years spent learning from Martin and Ranjiv are something I will never forget... "
Christina Ramirez
"...there is nothing like seeing yourself grow into the person you always were meant to be..."
Torrey Drake
" ability to utterly connect and live in the moment is second nature to me."
Mikhail Suvorov
"The Meisner technique, unlike anything I've done before, is something you can't pull through just sliding on the surface."
Sierra Smith
"..I learned that ACTING IS NOT ABOUT ACTING."
Bryan Shilowich
"You learn to stop “trying” to “act” and instead learn how to feel your deepest emotions..."
Juliene Winborne
" I had taken numerous acting classes, but none of them fully embodied what I was looking for."
Zachary Gordon
" has been an emotionally exhausting journey, but beyond rewarding."
Cameren Foley
"This class is definitely not the easy route..."
Matthan Harris
"This is without a doubt the best acting class I’ve ever taken."
Damith Warnasuriya
"...this is not a class that you sign up for but more like a life course that challenges you..."
Johannes Aspegren
"The Meisner technique allowed me to really see my progress."
Brandon Quinn
"I have worked so much more since studying at the Meisner Center..."
Stacey Danger
"The amount of growth I’ve had in nine months far surpasses that of all other studios I’ve trained at combined."
Tanner Risner
"You have no idea what this class can do for you."
KoJo Asiedu Head Shot
Yisreal Dubov
"...not only did I walk away with an incredible training in acting; I walked away with a family, and memories that will last a lifetime"
Alexandra Dunmore
"I am astounded that I thought I knew how to act before this class."
Jada Merritt
"...know what it is that you need and fucking go get it!!!
Nerlyn Jean
"A true challenge and commitment, it was the best decision I made for my career thus far."
Jacob Dimenstein
" advice to you would be to be open to the possibilities."
DeRon Horton
..."the emotional capacity of which i am able to reach now I cannot see myself gaining somewhere else"
Albert Emery
"I am a better communicator as a result of speaking from my heart."
Shalonda Shaw
"...I know what I'm capable of as an actor, and that is a wonderful feeling."
Danielle Vega
"I felt I needed a class of Meisner caliber to have in my repertoire to take me to the next level of my career."
Channing McKindra
"This is the work that I imagined doing when I first decided to become an actor years ago..."
Andrew Carter
"It was by far the most challenging educational and artistic experience of my life."
Clayton Bury
"I learned to quiet my overactive mind, and to simplify my process by following my heart."
Nicole J Butler
Alessandro Marino
"This class cuts the bull*** and tells you the truth..."
Heidi Shon
"The Meisner Center gave me a process to work with that I was desperately seeking."
Michael Roshangah
"I found that I am stronger than I gave myself credit for."
Michael Campion
"...other acting classes don’t teach the right skills in the right order, nor do they have the patience to train them fully."
Jonathan Freudman
"This is not a Mickey Mouse class, this is serious acting, this is MEISNER.”
Jule Johnson
"I walk away proud, thankful, and immensely confident with the person I’ve become"
Menen Basha
"I’m not quite sure where to begin because so much of this experience is too big to summarize..."