Ego & The Meisner Technique
October 16, 2017

Acting as an Art

I struggled for a long time to understand exactly how acting was an art form. Not that I didn’t think it was. I knew that it was. I simply didn’t understand how, or how I was an artist within it.

In many ways I’m glad that it was a long and very often painful journey to beginning to grasp it. One of the things I discovered about creating art defied much of my training up to that point.

I thought that acting was something that I did. That if I wanted to create art I had to I make it happen. I believed that I could create something artful through some kind of hard work and sheer willful effort. If failed, I tried harder.

I succeeded very well at getting very frustrated. I knew my “craft” extraordinarily well. I knew how to break down a scene, how to root out the circumstances, objectives, superobjectives, obstacles, stakes, beats, subtext, inner monologue, backstory, moment before, moment after, secret, relationship etc. and used breathing techniques, stretching, gentle massage, sense memory, substitution, psychological gestures, animal exercises, clock exercises, blind exercises, fourth wall exercises, and more exercises and more exercises and on and on and on — I tried it. Still, I couldn’t find the art in my artform but I believed I would know it when it happened.

Where I found it wasn’t in any piece of craft or technique. Not in some trick or tool I picked up in a class or workshop. As it turns out I found it everywhere — right in front of me, around me and within me. It was in the person I was listening and speaking to, and in my surrender to the present moment. That, as I discovered, is where the extraordinary occurs.

All along I was using my craft to try and control and manipulate myself and my scene partner. I was acting at them and not with them. I had been trying to technique my way to a great performance and some kind of artistic experience. I realized that I don’t do it, it does me. My job is to create the space inside myself for creation to occur and get the hell out of the way.

There’s this moment in Meisner work where you find yourself in the middle of a scene and realize that you haven’t thought about yourself for the last several minutes. You were consumed by the reality of what was happening and in your commitment to discovering it, you actually did. You lived it. Selflessly. Truthfully. Until now. Because now you’re thinking about yourself, which is probably where your head has been for most of your acting life.

I cannot tell you how much I love this work that Sanford Meisner created. How transformative it is. How freeing it is.

I can’t say that every role I play is what would be considered art, but I know that I don’t think about it so much anymore. I do my best to truthfully and selflessly surrender to the moment and see what awaits there. Perhaps in that space, art lies waiting to be expressed.

Evan C. Schulte

 My early years of training as an actor were met with moderate and humble successes.  I was considered for many great roles, my peers and teachers were active admirers of my work and I would even dare say I was a ‘pretty good’ actor among many talented individuals.  Still there was something that was missing. I often struggled to find who or what I was as an artist in this medium we call acting.  I wanted to, as they say, “lose myself” in a role.  The problem was that I never really knew what that was or what that meant.  Perhaps for a brief moment I would touch upon it only for it to disappear just as quickly.

 Again and again I would come up against this invisible wall, frustrated, angry and ever doubtful that I might never know true meaning in my craft.

Meisner was that missing piece.  A training that was often marginalized in my education up to that point and even ridiculed.  I discovered through my own experience that the technique was and is still greatly misunderstood.  To know Meisner is to experience it, which is where much of the confusion comes from.  All I can say is that it freed me -- took me beyond myself and everything I thought I knew about acting and in that space I discovered what might be considered a true act of creation and maybe even art.

Evan has been engaged in the art and craft of acting for over twenty years.  A former graduate of SchoolCreative and The True Acting Institute, he is an insightful and passionate teacher of the Meisner Technique which he learned under the instruction and guidance from renowned teacher, Larry Silverberg.

Evan believes in teaching through collaboration, inspiration and joy above all else, and in helping actors discover who they are as artists and creators.

I invite you to join us.


Evan C. Schulte
Founder & Instructor
Evan C. Schulte

Evan has been engaged in the art and craft of acting for over twenty years.  A former graduate of SchoolCreative and The True Acting Institute, he is an insightful and passionate teacher of the Meisner Technique which he learned under the instruction and guidance from renowned teacher, Larry Silverberg.

Evan believes in teaching through collaboration, inspiration and joy above all else, and in helping actors discover who they are as artists and creators.
The Players Creative Company believes that great acting is more than applied techniques and intellectual concepts.  We believe that great acting can be a transcendent experience, that can take us beyond ourselves, enriching all of our lives.

 This goes beyond technique.  This goes into the deepest part of ourselves.  A part that we rarely peer into.  A part that is full, alive and present.  A part that we seek to awaken.
    
 Journey into an experience of acting that is unlike anything you’ve ever engaged with, and will change your perceptions of what it is you do as an artist.

Actors Trained In Meisner:
Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, Sam Rockwell, Alec Baldwin, Christoph Waltz, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Meloni, David Duchovny, Diane Keaton, Eli Wallach, Grace Kelly, James Caan, James Franco, James Gandolfini, Jeff Bridges, Jeff Goldblum, John Turturro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Naomi Watts, Stephen Colbert, Steve McQueen, Sydney Pollack, Tina Fey
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The Actor’s Awakening


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