Joe Walters

Joe Walters
What session are you currently in?:
How did you hear about The Meisner Technique Studio and why did you reach out to study with us?:

I decided that although I may not be able to make the committment to doing a show or audition perhaps I could at lease take an acting class. I had come across the Meisner Technique in my 30’s having taken a couple of classes. So I looked on the internet for classes offering the Meisner Technique which is how I found the Studio.

Describe your greatest fear(s) about either going after this and/or studying at The Meisner Technique Studio.:

I had many fears. I was concerned I was too old. That it was too late. That I was opening up a very tender and protected part of me that I closed off many years ago when I reluctantly gave up acting and went to school. I was afraid that perhaps this was a serious decision to go back that maybe I was bored and looking for stimulation. I was afraid that I would go through such changes as to disrupt my marriage and family.

Describe your feelings as you walked into then out of your very first day of class at The Meisner Technique Studio.:

When I walked into class I was quite nervous. I sat in the back row. As I looked around I saw people many years younger than myself. I didn’t know what I was getting into but was open to whatever was coming. By the time I left I felt a bit overwhelmed. I had no judgement about the first class at all. I didn’t think one way or another whether this was for me or not. I was just committed to it at that point. I still wasn’t sure what this all meant for me; that is, both the class and the whole decision of opening this locked door again.

I do remember distinctly my interview however. I walked into the office a bit early and was told to have a seat for a bit. Then Jim came to meet me and we walked into the studio. As soon as I walked in, I knew I was home again. And I remember telling JIm that I left theater in my late 20’s to go to school. I then pointed to the stage and said, “but this is who I am.”

Describe the greatest gifts/benefits this training has so far brought to you personally and professionally.:

Oh man! Where do I start? When I was 19 I always knew that the art of acting was to live truthfully. In my training I was taught this concept, but they never showed you how to get there. This training has shown me how to get there. It has given me the tools and I have learned the skills to really be present on stage, alive, aware, living truthfully within the imagined circumstances. I experienced this out of pure dumb luck in my early 20’s and KNEW that YES this is what acting should be. But I could never understand how to get there. This training shows you step-by-step how to do it.

But in addition to that it shows you how to be healthly about yourself, your work and your passions. It teaches you to allow the critic and the ego to be present but not to be in control. That there is a healthier approach beyond “am I good.” I learned that being good is a result of being authentic. Being authentic is what its about and I learned through this training how to do that.

Personally, I am so happy that I took this plunge. I have always considered myself an actor even after I left the business to pursue another career and always wondered how something that I was so passionate about could just dissipate. I figured one day some how I’ll find my way back. My experience at the Studio has been an awesome experience. I get to work with my amazing classmates. I have seen excellent quality acting. It really has been quite a journey.

Jim said in my interview that this training will teach you to be an actor and have it mean something. I wasn’t sure what he meant then but having done a good deal of the training I know what he meant now.

Sanford Meisner was _________::

Truly a genius. He figured out a way to teach very sensitive and creative people to be their authentic selves within imagined circumstances in a public space.

Is there anything else you’d like to say or share?:

I think the thing that I learned the most is that its really not about me. That was what I think hurt me the most as a younger person. I got sidetracked by all the noise. I think over the past 2 and half decades I have learned to be an artist. Just to do it because I must, for its own sake, that although the result of my work is not in my hands, the work is. That is what I try to focus on. This has been a very liberating insight for me because if I focus on the work and really work hard it just is what it is. I don’t have to be so concerned with being good.

The other thing I’d like to share is that I feel that I have a unique perspective having trained in a conservatory. I liken it to the idea that I had the car but no engine. This training has given me the engine.

What is the one area that you as as a student need to improve upon?:

For me I want to be able to go deeper, get fuller, try to bring to life the complexities and contradiction of human behavior.

Describe the most valuable thing(s) you’ve learned at The Meisner Technique Studio about going after your acting dreams.:

For me I don’t really have a dream as in something I want to achieve. I think I’ve already done it by being a student at the Studio. To be able to have this second chance really is a blessing and I am very grateful for it. After the training we’ll see what comes up. I hope to just work. I also realize that ultimately the ability to work is not in someone else’s hands. It is in my hands.

Describe the main obstacles(s) in your work.:

Ego is a big one. Comparison to others is another. Balancing this kind of work within a life that I have created which is very different from an artistic one is a challenge. I have many responsiblities and obligations but so far I have managed to give the work at the studio the attention it deserves.

The best advice I can give a beginning student at the Meisner Technique Studio is_________::

1.) You must earn the right to put your foot on the stage
2.) Be prepared to work very hard
3.) Commit yourself to the work at hand
4.) Don’t worry about being good or the results of your work, as long as you have put in the work
5.)Realize that you cannot compare yourself to others. We are all unique. Look up to those that inspire you and use them as a guiding light.
6.) Have fun. If this training is for you, you will find that this is a special time in your life that you will remember always.

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