18 Month Acting Program – Sam Super Interview
Sam Super is an actor in the 18 month acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York. In this interview with Katie, Sam discusses the idea that actors don’t need to train and the single reason to study at Maggie Flanigan Studio instead of other acting studios in New York City.
The 18 Month Acting Program – Sam Super Interview
Q: Does your family support your decision to pursue your acting career and how does that help sustain you during like the trials and tribulations of being a young actor in New York City?
A: Well, yes, they definitely support me and what helped is that I’m not somebody who came in to this understanding that it was not going to be difficult or challenging. I knew exactly what I was getting into. So part of it was just having family members that have been in the industry, just reiterating the fact that it’s going to be very hard and that they gave me a good understanding of the amount of work and dedication and time I would need to really pursue this on a real level.
Q: What would you say about the idea that you could just wake up tomorrow and start auditioning?
A: There have been cases, in the past, where my father or my grandmother had been up for roles and it had either gone to somebody with more training or with more experience. I think you only get that experience from proper training. I’m someone who listens to a lot of acting podcasts and people like Sam Rockwell. I remember listening to one that was Daniel Day-Lewis and they just kept talking and reiterating to the point that even after you finish a two-year program, the acting and training never stops for an actor, there’s always something you can work on and improve and tweak; so it’s kind of like an evergreen process.
Q: How have your relationships changed since going through the training at Maggie Flanigan Studio?
A: Definitely a lot more open than I used to be, that’s for sure; wear my emotions a lot more on my sleeve. I didn’t realize– before I started this– I’m 29 now, before I started this program, I didn’t realize that during my early to mid-20s I was sleepwalking through my emotions where I was always stuck in like a numb state, never getting too high never getting too low. One thing that I’ve really taken from this program that I’ve heard from both Karen and Cherry and some of the other teachers was that just giving myself permission to feel, giving myself permission to just let all my emotions down on my sleeve which I didn’t necessarily do before this program.
Q: How is being in class at Maggie Flanigan Studio different than the classes that you’ve taken before?
A: Well, first of all, this is a real legit studio, I was taking classes in church basements and rented rec center areas. So that obviously adds to the seriousness of it, but also the people that I’m with too. A lot of the acting classes I was taking were for stay-at-home moms, people that wanted to try a class out, people that had other careers and just were looking for something fun to do as a couple.
Now, I’m only surrounded by people that are serious and that are looking to have careers in the industry. That’s a lot more helpful because we’re able to bounce ideas and bounce horror stories of auditioning and stuff like that off each other, so it helps because it’s like you have a family and strength in numbers.
Q: How has this sense of community through both first year and this first few months of second year added to your experience at the studio?
A: Well, it’s added a lot. Karen said it when we started January class, but it’s like– when you first show up in January, it’s like these people are total strangers. And by the end of that first year program, it’s like you have a lifelong bond with these people that six months ago you didn’t know anything about. So that kind of continues on to that idea of community and family because it’s like– even if it’s like 10 years from now and I see one of my Maggie Flanigan fellow students on the street, I know I’m going to stop and take a minute to at least give him a hug and ask them how they’re doing because of this bond that we had by going through this together, by going through– to give it a war analogy, but both being in the trenches together. That’s like that unspoken bond that we now have that I get to share with a whole group of people I didn’t get to have before.
Q: How have the auxiliary classes changed the work that you’re doing in the acting classroom for the better?
A: Movement’s been very helpful in being able for me to recognize problem areas in my body that I might not have otherwise noticed before. The ability to find tension, release it, the ability to just open myself up even further, it’s like there’s a wall and there’s a little crack in the wall or water sprouting out and it’s like you’re slowly trying to open that crack up until it flows all the way through.
That’s how I’m feeling about working through my emotions and working through the program that movement helps me with and just getting me further along so that when I get to those sad scenes, I can get a little further along into crying than I did before. Or if I need to get angry, I can get angrier than I did before, because movement has helped me release myself and be able to access my body more properly.
Q: What was the best part about working with Karen during first year?
A: Well, Karen’s extremely dedicated to her students. She’s somebody who is able to connect with people of all walks of life. She’s such a calm disposition and extreme patience. That’s very helpful for somebody who’s going through the growing pains of learning what it means to actually become an actor.
Q: What is the best part about working with Charlie?
A: Charlie’s very good at honing you in on those fine crafting little details, whereas Karen, I like to think of it, it’s like Karen taught me how to– if we have a house to build, the foundation, Charlie’s now the one that’s helping me work on the bathroom, the kitchen and the lighting fixtures. He’s the one that had now that you have this whole foundation in place, Charlie’s the one to help you fine tune and get you to those next further steps that you need to go to become a successful and working actor.
Q: What has been the best part about starting in the January class?
A: Well, I actually liked the fact that there was less of a break from the end of the first year January to the beginning of the second. When I came back for the second year, there wasn’t a lot of cobwebs I needed the dust off. I think, whether it’s good or bad, having the September class, you get a couple months off in between. Although that’s good, you have to relearn your impulses a little bit and get back onto your feet once you get back into that program. I felt I didn’t have to miss a step once I started second year, because so little time had elapsed from first year.
Q: What would you say to someone who says they don’t need to train for two years?
A: I would say they’re never going to become a real working actor. Just like any profession, you need to put the time in and to really dedicate it and work it. Malcolm Gladwell did this thing where he talked about the 10,000 hour rule. Where it’s you need to take 10,000 hours to practice something every day in order for you to become an expert at it. Musicians have to play their instruments, actors have to act and train. They’re never going to get that way if they don’t do proper training.
Q: What is the single number one reason to study at Maggie Flanigan studio instead of anywhere else?
A: I think it’s just the level of commitment that you get from the teachers. There were many times where Karen was working nights and weekends and coming in on her days off. Just that level of tireless commitment that our teachers have to making sure that it’s a two way street, that we’re getting the best out of them and they’re getting the best out of us, that’s what I think separates Maggie Flanigan from a lot of other studios is that we’re not just looked at as someone paying tuition and another paycheck, we’re seen as somebody who, if we do everything we need to do in the program, can get to be a working actor at the end of it.
Learn More About the 18 Month Acting Program at Maggie Flanigan Studio
To learn more about the acting programs at the studio, including the 18-month acting program, visit the acting programs page on the studio website and call the studio at (215) 600-1669 with questions you have about applying for admission to the studio.
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