Hollywood #1 Acting studio with a special master class at Nu Boyana.
Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop took place for the third time in Sofia, on December 4th and 5th.
There were a lot of familiar faces among the students and some new ones eager to be part of this unique experience. A mixture of actors, singers and creatives formed a diverse community drawn by one goal – to learn more about acting. A real treat was the presence of Anthony Meindl himself – the creator of the AMAW Studios. This was his first visit to Bulgaria.
The first impression of Anthony says it all. He simply warns you by saying: “I’m a hugger” and embraces you warmly. His positive energy is contagious, his gestures are big as his personality and his laughter fills the room often enough. Having fun is essential to his teachings. And the only thing he expects in return from the participants is to be completely honest. This is the core of his approach to acting but also being as his ideas and philosophy apply to the craft of acting as much as to living your life.
The mentor started by asking a simple question: “What is your challenge?”
Then, the revelations started to slowly pour out and the process was somewhat therapeutic. Anthony is there a 100 percent every minute, giving each one the time and push they need.
“Holding back is the most common problem of an actor. You NEED to open up ”.
And the magic starts happening. It was quite touching seeing every person having their own breakthrough, taking a step further in expressing their emotions. Anthony looks like a conducter, gesturing wildly, trying to bring out the best performance from each talent.
“The more human you are, the more we will respond to you.”, he says. For Anthony vulnerability and empathy are key to living and acting to one’s full potential.
“I teach the opposite of an acting class. Allow yourself to feel – that is enough. This is the problem of acting – we are taught to say a certain line in a certain way. But life is full of contradictions. Stop judging yourself. Creating is the opposite of reason.”
It was a breath of fresh air to the classicaly trained bulgarian actors. “He makes it so simple, so much easier to connect to your role. I’ve had enough of old school teaching and methods. This is something I can really understand.”, said one of the participants Daniela Yordanova.
The language did not appear to be a barrier in the learning and acting process. Some adressed their accents as a weak point but Anthony believes roles are becoming universal and talent breaks through.
“There’s the X factor of course. There are a lot people who are stars and come from all corners of the Earth who still have an accent. Look at Antonio Banderas or Sofia Vergara. I think that is starting to change more and more. They will cast anybody who is the best.”
When he’s not travelling around the world, visiting his studios, he writes scripts and books. His last one is called “BOOK THE F#CKING JOB”.
“I’m really excited about it. It’s basically questions actors have asked me over the years about acting. My approach to the work has more to do with philosophy and understanding and overall our own lives then it does with “what is my Beat”. I do talk about all the technical things but also what it is to be open and in our hearts. I hope it inspires people. Acting is a metaphor for life.”
One of main ideas he tries to bring across to each actor is that everyone is unique. Not comparing oneself to others and just being yourself is vital to reaching one’s full potential. According to him, the movie industry is big and versatile enough for everyone as long as you tell stories that matter.
“There is a place for everyone. As I’ve gotten older I really want to do things that matter. That is why having real connections with people is IT for me. I think artists have always been at the forefront of social change so I think with what is going on in the world, we need artists to stand up for it. To tell those stories.”
The two days went fast enough and the end was bittersweet as the majority were brought to tears by a simple exercise the teacher gave them. They each expressed the wish to continue their journey of learning. “I can only imagine how far I can go, if these workshops happened more often”, concluded another participant Kostadin Sultov.
We hope the next acting workshop is just around the corner and Anthony’s passionate commitment and insightful practical approach to the craft of acting has opened the door to a new generation of Bulgarian artists. As Anthony says it best himself:
“Your desire for something has to be greater than your fear.”
Guest author: Sophia Vassleva