You'll get the basics of improv from any beginner level at the Big 4. It's just a matter of being able to stay sharp if you choose not to climb the levels.
If your dream is to be on SNL or in an improv group, then you'd want to climb the levels.
Is Meisner a learning style you should definitely learn?
In a perfect world, you would be able to take some kind of class that gave you intros to each of the main styles Meisner, Uta Hagen, Chekov, and Strasberg / Adler (/ whatever other Stainslavski derivitive you would like to insert).
In an imperfect world, I would suggest reading what you can about the styles and then choosing from there.
It's a misconception that two years of a reputable Meisner program is purely repetition. It's not. Repetition is used purely in the beginning stages of the first year and then is replaced with actual scene work, emotional preparation and improv, all the while "living truthfully under imaginary circumstances, moment to unanticipated moment."
Anyone who says otherwise has not fully trained in the Meisner technique. It cannot be learned in a workshop setting nor in a program that merely offers repetition or an 'introduction to Meisner.' It is a full two year commitment. There are no shortcuts, as with learning anything worthwhile.
In the second year, the scene work progresses with more difficult scenes, and using Meisner's "Golden Box," you learn to break down a script using the technique.
Anyone who offers a 'quick intro to Meisner' which entails only repetition is not teaching the entire technique. It's like trying to learn how to be a master pianist in two weeks by learning a few scales and arpeggios and then saying publicly, "oh yeah. I play the piano."
I'm a bit annoyed that there seem to be so many teachers out there who thinks they're teaching Meisner technique just by doing repetion. And then a bunch of students who think the Meisner technique is just repetition. -_-
I'm in a two year program and we left repetition after two months. The only reason they use it is to get out of your head.
Many teachers prey on actors who think they can get a 'quick fix' to be a good actor, through workshops, intro classes, boot camps, etc. Meisner said it takes 20 years to be a master actor. I believe him.
I started taking professional voice lessons at 12 years old (I'm 44 now) and although I consider myself good at what I do, as with any art form, it takes years to become great at anything. Ask any professional ballet dancer whose been dancing since they were 5. No one wants to do the work and commit.
Immediacy does not equal good or informed, folks!
Repetition, according to William Alderson, my teacher, who was trained as an actor AND teacher by Meisner in the 1960s, and who ran The Neighborhood Playhouse for 22 years, 'was the quickest way Sandy came up with to get sparks flying between two people and to get them to respond truthfully.' It was a beginning tool, used at the very start of the training.
Just as one learns scales at the beginning of piano lessons. You only learn the scales at the beginning of the training. Eventually you play songs! An acting foundation is VERY important, and sadly, many actors won't put in the time and the work..and eventually, it shows.
There is a reason Mr. Meisner designed the program as a two year program. Those who teach pure Meisner and who were actually trained by the man continue to teach it as a two year program.
Others are teaching parts of it, ie, "the repetition," merely for profit and are not doing their students any service. Commitment is not known by many these days. It's all about instant gratification.
End of lecture.
^ Yes, yes, yes and yes.
amo37, well said!
Does Mr. Alderson take on new students? What does he charge? I'm still looking for on-going Meisner based classes and I'm trying to avoid those short ones.
As a little addendum to this, in Meisner's own classes, the repitition also molds itself into other things. I don't know how to explain it really, but you're doing kind of a "progression" of repetition.
Hi guys I was wondering if you guys could help me with one more thing. I would like to take 2 classes at the same time. An improv and an Audition class. I have picked and will be registering for my improv class soon. But I am unsure which class I should take for my audition class. I am thinking either Tess or Saxon. Because they are in my price range. Why is it I have read some comments to take Saxon first then Tess. Also since I under 20 would I take a teen class?
Syphus, I understand what you mean. You have to experience the training to see the progression.
Toonaive, his website is aldersonstudio.com
The cost is $275 for 8 classes. (Instead of a month, as not all months have equal days).
He has a first year, second year and graduate class and is always taking on new students.
Okay, thanks. I can mention your name if that possibly can get you a discount for your own training.
...there's your answer to this rhetorical question. And as for what you think, it can take more than 20 years. You better believe it.
And as amo37 said, Meisner did not design his technique to be an intensive. Whatever current schools do, it's not what was intended.
William Esper is teaching it as a long-term on-going acting class.
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