Finding the Best Summer Acting Program – Austin Kairis
Austin Kairis is a current student in the two-year acting program at the Maggie Flanigan Studio. In this part of the interview, Austin talks about his decision to pursue an acting career, how the Meisner training has changed his relationships, and why he chose the summer acting program at Maggie Flanigan Studio.
Q: Austin, did your family support your decision to pursue an acting career?
A: They’re supportive, sure, but had no idea what it meant to be a working actor. They think it’s this idea of me chasing fame, which may be at one point it was as a young child. As I get older, I realize that’s not what it is. Yes, my parents, they’re supportive from a distance. They’re not supported financially or whatever, just because I’m an adult, but they’re seeing how this is affecting me and how much I honestly care about this and how it brings authentic happiness to me, and they’re very supportive of that.
Q: How have your relationships changed since the beginning of the summer acting program?
A: I’m a lot braver with my honesty and being able to approach people with my honest opinion right off the bat instead of skirting around an issue and standing up for myself and yes, just speaking my mind when I have something to say to a friend or something. I’ve lost some friendships because of it, and I’ve gained a lot of great ones just because you realize what’s meaningful to you and what’s authentic. That’s how my relationships have been affected.
Q: What advice would you give to any prospective students who are thinking about moving to New York City to train?
A: Any advice I’d have to give to someone moving to New York, definitely have your finances ready to go, and speak to people who you know who if you don’t– if you do know people here, talk to them. If they’re actors or anyone, speak. Know where is the best studio is to go to, who is teaching the right techniques, and then you find out for yourself what aligns with your process and your aesthetic or taste.
If you don’t know anyone in New York and you’re just taking a giant leap, then I would be serious about the research you’re doing, of what kind of technique you want to learn, and then talking to multiple studios. Don’t be afraid to shop around, and don’t commit to something that you’re not comfortable with.
Q: How did you go about the process of finding the best place to train for you?
A: It was a significant influence from my friends even just to come here, but then I had a meeting with Charlie. He wasn’t asking very superficial questions about acting. He was just like, “Seriously, why do you want to be an actor?” I’ve always known the answer, but it even took me back to think why do I want to be an actor. I guess the answer is, there’s something in me that it has to be shared. I feel like it’s a destiny of mine.
After talking with Charlie, I just knew I had a feeling, and as I said before, I had known I’d wanted to do a Meisner program only by doing research on and what that is. I just felt very comfortable deciding to come here.
Q: How has your time at the studio changed the way you live and relate to those in your life?
A: I’m able to relate to people a lot better than I ever have before. Also, you learn a lot about coming into the studio and unzipping and putting your heart and soul on the line. We still have to be real humans who go out into the real world who face, especially New York City, tons of things all the time and learning how to zip that back up.
It’s changed the way I live because I am a little bit more guarded in real life, but only because I’m becoming so open when I’m working if that makes sense. That doesn’t mean that things don’t permeate me and land on me in real life, but to really– it’s hard to let that affect you in the day to day basis, so just come into here and be able to live out those experiences that I’m having in day-to-day life, but aren’t able to really express unless it’s through this art form.
Q: What is it like being in acting class at other studios, compared to the work you’re doing in the classroom with Charlie and Maggie?
A: What I love the most about the Meisner program, and I guess this speaks to why I chose it, is that it’s very foundational. It starts with the basics, basics, basics. Anyone, whether we have tons of acting experience or zero, they can come into here and build from the bottom up. That’s what I love, is it teaches you how to have confidence just because you’ve learned that you have a tool belt that you can work with, rather than just walking into a class like, “Here’s a scene, let’s do it.” It’s more starting very fundamentally, very tediously, but it’s the process that I needed to have just confidence in myself to keep doing this and to believe in what I’m saying and to believe what I’m doing.
Q: How is it affecting your ability to become a better actor?
A: It’s teaching me that within anyone, where’s a whole, whole palette of human experiences and emotions that we can use to illuminate life. I’m just becoming a lot more intentional when I’m acting, and I’m becoming a lot more creative in finding ways to approach a role or approach an emotion or a circumstance. All around, I feel like– All around I feel like, this is going to sound a little silly, but it just feels like it’s aligning with everything that I’m supposed to be doing if that makes sense. It’s just teaching me how to be an actor that’s being exactly truthful to whatever it is I’m handed.
Finding the Best Summer Acting Program
Learn more about the acting programs and the Meisner Intensive at the Maggie Flanigan Studio this summer, by visiting the Maggie Flanigan Studio website acting programs page. Students with specific questions about the classes schedule and programs should call the studio directly at 215-600-1669.