"Melissa is hands down the best acting coach I have ever worked with, and I have worked with some amazing teachers throughout my life. She doesn't just talk the talk, Melissa walks the walk. She is an inspiring artist in her personal life and a social activist, as well. Melissa is strict & dedicated, she will push you to be your greatest, while also remaining compassionate & kind. She makes all her students feel safe to be free & make mistakes, while setting a high bar. If you want to be a professional, run to Melissa. Also though, this is good training for any job in life- I felt more free & authentic in school & my job. I trained with her years ago, and I will still go to her if I need coaching for an audition, etc. Can't wait to take some more classes with her soon!"
"I studied with Melissa Thompson Esaia for two incredible and life changing years. I had always wanted to be a writer and actor and was uncertain of myself and my dream. I still remember the first days of class when Melissa would say, "When you are all in your careers..." and I would think―oh my gosh I HOPE I can have a career. Can I do this? After I studied with Melissa I gained confidence in myself and my dream.
Melissa is a warrior. She is my absolute role model. She is sincere, genuine, strong, kind, empathetic and talented. I could listen to her read a phone book and she would make it entertaining. Melissa goes above and beyond what a teacher is and I truly feel so incredibly blessed that I was able to study the Meisner Technique with her. She cares for her students individually and gives each student what they need. Her teaching style creates a beautiful class environment, one that helps you learn and grow and support your artistic family. Melissa reminds you that working on your craft is important and is an honorable pursuit. Studying with Melissa was a sacred time of my life and I will cherish it forever.
I was fortunate enough to go on an actor's intensive retreat with her as well. She was able to guide and support the mental well-being about going after big dreams. It was a life-changing experience. Melissa is an absolute angel and I feel privileged to be one of her students. Thank you so much for your impact on my life Melissa! You are an incredible human!!"
"Through the years of honing your craft as an actor/ artist you meet many different teachers and mentors along the way. Ones whose lessons or methods inspire you, ones you befriend, or ones that deeply impact you. Melissa was all three of those for me.
My time as Melissa's student was around three years and in that time we became close not only personally but artistically. What I noticed over time was, this was not a one time thing, nor special just to me. She tended to have that impact on every student that came through our studio. She's special like that.
Over the years I've seen her grow more and more into the sayings 'do, don't say' or 'practice what you preach.' It is rare to come across an acting teacher that teaches you more than just acting. She taught me the gift of liberation from myself and others, the gift of speaking up for what you believe in, and the gift of following your gut.
If only she was in LA so I could keep her all too myself;) But to those of you that are in the vicinity to work with her, I would not pass up the chance for anything. Melissa, is magic."
"Melissa has been one of if not the greatest teacher in my life, I spent about 2.5 years training in The Meisner Technique with her. If you're tired of jumping from workshop to workshop and want to take this to a level you didn't know you were capable of then I promise you, she's the teacher for you. I was 18 when I started, just dropped out of city college and wanted one thing, REAL training. A yelp review just doesn't do it justice, the things this woman has done for me, you will not find another teacher who cares as much about your dream as you do."
"Not only did she teach me to be a good actor, but Melissa taught me how to be fearless, humble, and always be professional. She helped me grow in a way that nurtured my dream and my inner artist. She has a wide variety of knowledge on how to navigate through the business of acting and auditioning, and is an incredible counselor on how to always make the right decisions for you. genuinely one of the best teachers I have ever had, and in those moments in life when I look back on mentors and teachers that helped shape my life, Melissa will always be at the top of the list."
"The acting teacher you always knew you needed! With full confidence I can say that Melissa is and always will be an integral part of my growth as an actor. She is my mentor, my friend, my sister, my confidant, and the person I turn to when I need help. I remember waiting anxiously in her classroom on my first day of school. I had never taken an acting class before, though I had been tempted many, many times. I was too nervous to dive in, so I wanted to get my feet wet first. I took a summer acting class with Melissa, an abridged part one of a Meisner technique acting series. As I sat quietly in my seat (thinking about getting up and running away), in walked one of the most ethereal, brightest spirits I had ever seen. Melissa, wearing a floral patterned shirt to match her natural and abundant energy, burst through the doors and began teaching acting. She has been my teacher ever since. From the first day I met her, I knew she was a force to be reckoned with. She was everything I wanted to be: smart, confident, natural, and kind. These are the qualities that make up a great actor and Melissa has them to spare. Study with Melissa and you will reap the benefits of learning from someone who knows that acting isn't just about memorizing lines or hitting your marks. Melissa has taught me that acting is about being human, and there's no better human to learn from than her."
"Melissa is the best teacher I've ever had. She is so encouraging, insightful, and challenges you to do your best work. She really helped excel me in my acting career and as a person. I can't say enough good things about her as a teacher and, would highly recommend her and her school to anyone who wants to take their acting career to the next level."
"Melissa is an absolutely amazing teacher and human being on many many levels. Her love and dedication to the craft of acting is beyond words. In the two years that I spent with her I learned a great deal about acting, and myself on many spiritual levels. I learned how to be fully committed in the most competitive industry in the world which is acting, while also being kind to myself. If you're new to acting or have many years of experience under your belt Melissa will without a doubt in my mind elevate you to a level of excellence. She is kind in her teachings but also extremely direct so you know exactly what you did well and what you need to work on. After studying with Melissa I knew exactly how to build my career as an actor, and the type of hard work that it was going to take. Since finishing my training with Melissa I have gotten my first agent, and have begun to implement all of the wonderful things that she had taught me so I can continue climbing the later which is my career. If you have the opportunity to study with Melissa you are beyond blessed and I'm extremely happy that you get the opportunity to experience her greatness. She is kind, compassionate, direct, assertive, loving, peaceful, and so much more."
"You can't find a more human, empathetic, strong, brilliant and grounded mentor out there. Acting is such a delicate process and it is crucial to have a proper teacher guiding you through your own vulnerability; it takes a special type of person to properly teach acting, Melissa was that person for me and I am forever grateful for what she taught me and the way she taught me. She is extremely strict but couples that with deep care so it only helps the student respect the time it takes to act. I couldn't recommend her any higher, I wish I lived in California to take some classes.
If you're a terrified little dreamer just dying to get started like I was, or if you're a seasoned actor with films/tv under your belt, Melissa will only elevate what you bring into her; a perfect place for anyone just working on their dream."
"I've studied under Melissa in a group setting and also privately and I can say without a doubt that she is one of the best you will find. One of the great advantages to working with her is that she truly cares about your development as an artist, and while she will push you and challenge you, she will do it in a way that feeds your soul and encourages you to push yourself, but in a healthy way. I am a better human being and person in addition to being a stronger actor working with her. I am an actor because of her, I feel comfortable saying that, and I now have the confidence to go out on all the auditions I am getting (major network television and SAG feature films). I booked a supporting role in a feature film produced by a major producer in Hollywood and the notes the director gave me after rehearsal on day 1 of the shoot would have scared most actors, but I was able to take them in stride because I studied under her and had the confidence to be able to use certain techniques to navigate the scene! I am now SAG eligible, and have representation with stellar agencies in the Bay Area and Southwest markets, as well as having several management companies reach out to me from Los Angeles, this is all thanks to the confidence that Melissa gave me in my ability to bring truth to my acting, but also how to market myself on the business side!"
"I studied under Melissa for two years. In that time, Melissa challenged me, empowered me, and pushed me to be the absolute best I could be. She inspired me to work harder than I ever thought possible, and did so in an empathetic and caring way. I consider it a privilege to have been her student."
"Just my nickels worth of free advice. Melissa is the real deal when it comes to acting as well as teaching. What truly sets her apart is her care and respect not only for her students, but, for the craft. In these crazy times we live in, Melissa is a breath of fresh air and a gift to every actor who works with her. If you are looking to raise your acting game, this is the place."