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In the Chair Podcast: The NYU Tisch Experience (Advanced Professional Training)

This week on In the Chair

LSTFI alumni Max Weinstein and Leona Stewart join Will & Samantha to talk about their experience at Strasberg, study abroad, and the transition into the “real world”. Simone Elhart returns to share her experience as an advanced training student navigating the final semesters of her BFA. Listen to Episode 5 of In the Chair wherever you find your podcasts!

Taking Time Away

Max reflects on his academic semester abroad in Paris. He remarks how beneficial it was to have space in order process his Strasberg training. “You need time away, and you realize in your time away that this training takes time.” He explains that, upon returning from Paris, he found that the training had begun to cement itself and become like second nature. Will adds that, as time passes, you mature as both an actor and a person:

“You start [training] when you’re 18-19 years old – you’re still so young in your own sense of self. There’s something about aging into yourself and settling in your bones a little bit more that allows the technique to become that much deeper.”

Will Brockman

Learning Mindfulness

The group agrees that Method Acting is a way to learn about yourself. Will notes how, in The Method, it is so important “to be in touch with what’s actually going on inside you and to start in a place that’s actually real.” Max jokes, “I feel like I’m getting a BFA in mindfulness.”

Leona explains that her journey was about accepting that her experience with The Method won’t be the same as someone else’s. “[As] an incoming student, coming into Strasberg, the whole thing is just overwhelming and everyone is so talented. You’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, they all seems to be getting it. I’m not getting it.’” Leona shares that she has since learned to see her path as unique, and understand that her own growth is what matters most.

Will adds that your experience with The Method will also change and develop over time. Unlike when he first started his training, Will now finds that much of his sensitivity and creative imagination is activated subconsciously, or that he can use the exercises more fluidly.

“Robert Ellerman used to say that training in a technique is for the purpose of unlocking something within you and understanding more about your own instrument. When you don’t have to try as hard, if you’re not ‘doing the technique’ as you were taught, that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it means it’s living inside you.”

Will Brockman

Be Your Own Motivation

When discussing the transition from a university setting into the “real world”, Will expresses the importance of self-motivation, and how Strasberg functions to teach that lesson.

“One thing we always talk about is how self-motivated the entire [Strasberg] curriculum is, and people often don’t understand that it’s done super on-purpose. No one in the real world is gonna push you to find a job, find an audition, find something, find a new scene. No one’s gonna push you to do anything because no one cares, so you have to learn how to be your own self motivator.”

Will Brockman

Leona adds that, in the industry, there is so much that’s out of your hands, making what is that much more important. 50% of getting the job is what you prepare, the work you bring to the table, she explains. “40% is showing up on time, being a nice person, treating everyone with respect.” The last 10% is the details – your hair color, your height, whether you look more like your co-star’s sibling or love interest. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by that final 10%, by the things you can’t control. The panel’s advice? Take ownership of the things you can!


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