Film Studies Paper on Sanford Meisner Acting Technique

Why Sanford Meisner’s Technique Is A Good Approach to Teaching Acting

Sanford Meisner’s acting technique is an excellent approach to teaching acting because it focuses on the actor’s emotional impulses. It emphasizes the fact that a good actor does it from the heart. The individual, therefore, relies on his or her instincts as if the event being acted out was real. Meisner’s technique is a successful way of teaching because one is taught how to personalize events and bring them to life (Hodge 16). It draws out truthful and emotional performance as what is being acted out seems real. In the end, an actor trained on the Meisner technique entertains the audience as the emotions are honest and therefore more intense.

The Most Successful Parts of Meisner’s Approach to Acting

The most successful part of this technique is how it brings events to life. It turns acting into a reality which may be hard for the normal eye to discern whether it is factual or not. Many people usually relate acting to pretense, which may interfere with the goal of acting. However, the Stanford Meisner technique does away with pretense and encourages doing an activity as if it is happening. It encourages one to become that which he or she is trying to imitate. An example is when one is hit in a certain scene. While the normal person may pose to ask why, the technique encourages retaliation so that the acting looks real (Hodge 58). Meisner’s technique also makes the truth to come out spontaneously. Since one is acting in the moment, all their emotions will be on impulse. In order for this to be successful, one has to slowly but gradually do away with the mind thoughts that tend to be distractive. Any distraction may make an actor lose focus or concentration. Another useful part of this technique is the repetition exercise. In acting, repetition helps the content to stick in the mind. However, the Meisner technique introduces a distractor which would normally throw one off balance and make them start again. Through the technique, one can learn to practice public solitude by acting their parts amidst any distraction. Repetition takes off anticipation from acting but introduces affection (PlayGrounds Channel n.p.). What one does depends on the other person hence the mystery and fun created by the Meisner technique.

The Least Successful Parts of Meisner’s Approach to Acting

In some instances, however, this approach may not work for me given that I am naturally instinctive. Sometimes my normal impulse to do something different may override the acting one. For instance, when some danger is lurking, and I am required to sit on my chair by the director and not react. The other reason why this technique may not work for me is that in Meisner technique, acting is erratically different every time (PlayGrounds Channel n.p.). Things change from time to time, and there is no monotony of how things are done. There are different approaches to parts every time which may prove difficult to the normal person. Moreover, I have a problem with making imaginary relationships seem like real ones. Meisner technique encourages emotionality which may naturally lack in me when acting in intimate scenes. I believe how we react to people emotionally often depends on how long we have known each other. Thus doing this in a fictitious manner may prove hard. There is a level of fakeness that cannot be hidden when you are given a partner you have no rapport with (PlayGrounds Channel n.p.). This is contrary to Meisner which is supposed to evoke laughter, love, or real emotion.



Works Cited

Hodge, Alison, ed. Twentieth-century actor training. Psychology Press, 2000.,

PlayGrounds Channel. “What Is the Meisner Technique? Free Class with Anthony Montes, Part I.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 June 2017,