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This world needs you. No exaggeration there. This world needs your talent your voice and your stories - more than ever
- Sanford Meisner

Welcome

Welcome to the Meisner Technique Studio.

You have a dream of becoming an actor, yet you’ve been told how difficult this dream is.

Ready? It IS that difficult. In fact, most people in Hollywood call acting the most competitive profession on the planet for a reason. It is extremely competitive. So if you truly want your acting dreams to become a reality, you need to be able to compete at the highest level. And for that to happen, you need world-class training.

The Meisner Technique Studio offers world-class training.

Our sole purpose is to give you a rock-solid foundation so you’ll have the best opportunity to realize your wildest dreams.

Our Promise and Guarantee

We accept people who have never acted in their lives alongside those with extensive training. We provide a nurturing, supportive place for you to learn and grow. When you finish your studies with us, you will have the following in place:

  • A foundation of craft so solid you’ll be able to work at the highest level, opposite anyone, in any medium – film, theater, television
  • You will be able to call yourself an actor, and it will truly mean something because you’ll know how to work and how to fix it when it’s not working. And the best part is you won’t need us.

Faculty

Jim Jarrett

Jim Jarrett (Founder/Director) is one of the most respected and qualified teachers of The Meisner Technique in the world.

He spent four years with the legendary acting teacher – two in Mr. Meisner’s professional private class then two more working exclusively with Sandy, both as an actor and teacher-in-training. After that time, Jim was lucky enough to have two more years working as a teacher with Sandy as his mentor and emerged as Sanford Meisner’s last teaching protégé.

A quarter century later, Sandy’s alumni and teaching colleagues consider Jim to be one the most respected teachers of the Meisner Technique in the world.

Over the years, Jim established schools in Los Angeles, the Island of Hawaii, and Sun Valley, Idaho. He also travels the world annually as a guest teacher at universities, performing art schools, and theater companies throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

In 2005, Jim came home to San Francisco and opened The Meisner Technique Studio. In so doing, he made good on a promise he’d made to Sandy many years before – to establish an acting school dedicated solely to The Meisner Technique.

In 2007, Jim made the best move of his teaching career when he asked his former student, Melissa Thompson Esaia to train to become a teacher. After her apprenticeship, Melissa taught side by side with Jim and soon they became partners in growing The Meisner Technique Studio.

For the next twelve years, Melissa served as Assistant Director of The Meisner Technique Studio. During this time, Melissa’s enormous talent as a teacher and school administrator helped build The Meisner Technique Studio into the premiere acting training in the Bay Area.

In August of 2019, Melissa left The Meisner Technique Studio.  Soon after, Jim created the Meisner Teaching Mentorship with the goal to continue to expand and grow The Meisner Technique Studio by training former students to become teachers as well.

In a feature article celebrating Jim’s return to the Bay Area with Theatre Bay Area Magazine, Jim was asked about his vision and motivation for creating the best acting training in San Francisco.

“Ever since Sandy passed, there has been a proliferation of people teaching the Meisner Technique. Most are students of former students who may have studied with Sandy for a brief period of time. In fact, the Neighborhood Playhouse – the very place that pushed Sandy out in 1987 – started a program where anyone can enroll in a six week course and then receive a “teaching certificate” declaring you’re now qualified to teach the Meisner Technique.

Crazy. But true.

But there truly are only a handful of people who were personally trained by Sanford Meisner to teach “his way.” 

Being a part of this select group is an honor I do not take lightly. And for Sandy, having his teachings carried on accurately, as purely and authentically as possible, was extremely important to him.”

“Every time the rent’s due there’s a thousand actors who run around and call themselves acting teachers, and I can’t tell you how many claimed to have studied with me and just because you did study with me doesn’t mean you’re qualified to teach! If someone tells you they teach The Meisner Technique ask them if they have my blessing then watch their reaction. Trust your gut, you’ll know.”

The Late, Great Sanford Meisner

A message from Jim:

“I opened The Meisner Technique Studio in San Francisco to pass along Sandy’s teaching brilliance, as well as the standards, integrity, and respect for the craft of acting he instilled into every single one of his students by presenting Sandy’s teachings exactly how he wanted them presented.

My goal is to have our students emerge as the finest, best trained actors in the Meisner Technique – not just in the Bay Area, but in the world.”

How We Do It

Sanford Meisner created a technique that has produced a more prodigious “Who’s Who” of alumni than all other top teachers combined

We present Sandy’s teachings exactly how he wanted them presented. This is not an acting class, workshop, intensive, or improv class. This is world-class training for those who are ready to dive into the deep end of their dream, for those who want to take their dream to an entirely new level, and for those who do not want to waste time and money.

How We’re Different

The Meisner Technique Studio is much more than a place to take acting classes.

We have built an artistic family and community dedicated to helping our actors, writers, directors, and filmmakers grow in every way possible – from our film festivals, VIP Guest Lecture Series, Hawaii Retreats, Industry Showcases, and so much more. Learn more about our special events here.

If you’d like more than an acting class and finding an artistic home is important to you, please schedule your interview.

 

Hawaii Intensive Retreats

“Every hour of every day planes are landing at LAX from all over the world full of people beginning their dream of becoming an actor in Hollywood. And while those planes are landing, just as many are taking off, packed full of people who’ve been crushed by that very same dream… and that’s because most actors, most artists are not very good at ‘the business of their dream.’ In fact, there is nothing more common than really talented, out-of-work actors. I’m dedicated to helping anyone who cares, change that.” – Jim Jarrett

The Actors Intensive Retreat in Hawaii is an incredible opportunity for current students or alumni of The Meisner Technique Studio to spend ten days in Hawaii advancing “The Business of Your Dream.” However, the most valuable component of the experience deals with what Jim believes is THE most important ingredient to being a successful actor/artist – the mental and emotional aspect of being a dreamer.

Once these seeds are planted, the “Intensive Retreat” shifts to the nuts and bolts of the audition process – from cold readings to callbacks: how to book the job.

Students on the Meisner Technique Studio Actors Intensive Retreat in Hawaii

Jim has spent twenty years evolving the curriculum, so the key phrase is “intensive retreat” because every day is filled with empowering personal and professional teachings from sunrise to sunset. The first five days are spent addressing the emotional, mental aspect of being an actor with a dream. That’s because to truly go after this as a career, you must be the healthiest version of yourself you’ve ever been. This means you must have a foundation that is rock solid in order to go after what has been called the most competitive profession on the planet.

Additionally, this opportunity is so extraordinary because the Island of Hawaii is our classroom for ten days. This is where Jim Jarrett lived for four years. Through his Ohana (extended family), he has amazing access to many remarkable properties, beaches, sacred swimming holes and waterfalls, and most importantly, beautiful friends and family who all share their aloha with our groups. All of this makes for a truly unforgettable experience.

Industry Showcases

One of our faculty’s great highlights is the opportunity to showcase our graduates’ talent to the Bay Area’s top industry professionals. Over the years, guests have included the leading casting directors, agents, writers, directors, and producers in San Francisco Bay Area. Jim produces and directs the entire showcase, with one-on-one attention given to every performer.

Specialty Classes

In addition to the formal training, we are proud to offer a myriad of specialty classes to expand our students’ marketability and talents. These classes have included: Film Acting, Audition and Cold Reading, Scene Analysis, Character Analysis, and Stand-Up Comedy.

Sanford Meisner Film Festival

Students on the Red Carpet at the Sanford Meisner Film Festival

The Sanford Meisner Film Festival is one of our top events of the year. This festival is open to all members of the Meisner Technique Studio family, past and present. So, this is an incredible opportunity to showcase the outstanding work of both up and coming and established filmmakers.

The Sanford Meisner Film Festival runs for two days. During that time, we host a red carpet VIP reception, a Keynote Address, and screenings of the year’s films. Notably, Keynote Speakers have included Academy Award-Winning producers, directors, and writers. In addition, we have hosted actors from Emmy and SAG-winning shows.

24 Hour Film Festival

This is one of our most popular events for a myriad of reasons – mostly because it’s a ton of fun! It is also one of our most important events because it empowers our students to stop talking about making a movie and actually go make it!

The premise: At 6:00pm on Friday evening each team is given a list of required elements that their film must include – specific lines, props, characters, etc. Then they have just 24 hours to write, shoot, and edit a film AND every film must include all required elements. At 6:00pm the next day, the films are due, and we throw a full viewing party, complete with an award ceremony for all of the, often sleepless, participants.

VIP Lecture Series

We are thrilled to provide the VIP Lecture Series for our students to learn from top industry professionals. Here are just a few from recent years:


Photograph of Garret Dillahunt at his VIP Lecture Series
GARRET DILLAHUNT

Star of Deadwood, The Mindy Project, No Country For Old Men, & Fear the Walking Dead. By the way, he was amazing!


Photograph of Jim Parrack and Jim Jarrett on the set of MEISNER
JIM PARRACK

Star of True Blood, Fury, Suicide Squad


Photograph of Tracy Pellegrino, Mark Pellegrino, Melissa Thompson Esaia, and Jim Jarrett
MARK & TRACY PELLEGRINO

MARK: Star of LOST, The Big Lebowski, Supernatural

TRACY: Director of The Last Train, Strangers in a Strange Land, Something Else


Photograph of Barrie Osborne and Jim Jarrett with Barrie's Oscar
BARRIE OSBORNE & JON LABRIE

Barrie: Academy Award Winning Producer of The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, The Great Gatsby

Jon: Chief Technical Officer for Weta Digital


Photograph of Jim Jarrett, Quinn Redeker, and Melissa Thompson Esaia
QUINN REDEKER

The co-writer of The Deer Hunter – the film that forever changed Jim Jarrett’s life. It was a wonderful evening when Quinn flew in as the guest of honor for Jim’s 25-year anniversary party.


Photograph of Jim Jarrett, Erik Palladino, and Melissa Thompson Esaia
ERIK PALLADINO

Star of ER, NCIS: Los Angles, Suits


Photograph of Jim Jarrett and Jason Scott Lee
JASON SCOTT LEE

Star of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, The Jungle Book (1994), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, Mulan (2020)


Photo of Melissa Thompson Esaia, Nancy Hayes, and Jim Jarrett
NANCY HAYES

One of the most respected casting directors in the Bay Area for decades, Nancy Hayes of Nancy Hayes Casting


Photograph of Jim Jarrett, Kathy Murphy, Melissa Thompson Esaia, and James Ford Murphy
JAMES FORD MURPHY

Former Head of Animation at Pixar Studios. Writer/Director/Composer of Pixar’s LAVA

Studio Productions

We love when our students take initiative to create opportunities, so we do everything we can to support and encourage their work by providing rehearsal and performance space free of charge. This is an amazing opportunity for our graduates to advance and grow into their teachings in front of a live audience.