To be a working actor and get called back for that dream part you need to know certain fundamental acting skills down cold. You need to acquire the skills and confidence expected by today’s top casting directors. But what skills do you need to know and what approach do you need to take? This can be one of the most complicated and frustrating processes an actor can try to figure out on his own. There are as many acting philosophies and techniques as there are actors but not all of them get the result you want – that call back and those 4 magic words “You got the part!”, That’s why many actors choose an acting coach and an acting school that know how to help you achieve success.
How can you choose the best acting coach to help you with this important process? Follow these tips to avoid the frustration and losses you could experience if you don’t choose the right acting coach for you.
Choosing an Acting Coach: Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Part 1
When Choosing an Acting Coach, Here Are My Top 10 Questions to Ask Them!
1. Has the coach worked with Academy Award winning producers, directors and writers? And have they worked with prominent actors?
Many schools/coaches have limited experience with top-level directors, writers and producers. The experience of working with Academy Award winning producers, directors and writers gives the coach a greater depth of experience and understanding of what top level industry people are looking for in actors which enables the coach to convey this experience and knowledge to its students.
2. How much time is spent in the classes on watching rather than working?
With most acting classes, you are lucky if you get a chance to get up and work every 3rd class. If you are not working at least 75% of the time in every class, you are wasting your time and money and lengthening the process of becoming a working actor. Watching is not doing. The most efficient way to learn acting and improve your skills is to act under guided, experienced supervision in every class. How much can you retain by watching others act in several classes before you get a chance to put into practice what was covered in previous classes? Answer: Not much.
An actor loves to act! Make sure you find a place that allows you to do just that. If you’re not getting up and working every class, you might want to consider private coaching.
3. Are acting critiques/feedback done in an authoritarian “this is what is wrong with your acting” format, from the coach as the authority to the student, or do they take the form of an interactive dialogue from coach to student?
It is often hard to hear criticism of one’s acting and even harder when it comes from a recognized authority figure such as the coach. Most criticism makes the student feel less
about his abilities, which in turn wrecks his confidence and jams him in his head – all of which is destructive to the actor’s creative process.
There are very few schools and coaches who can create an interactive dialogue between coach and student where the actor feels invigorated and inspired to try new things. This type of dialogue engages you as an actor and allows you to imagine more possibilities available to you in your work. This approach builds your confidence and helps you to move faster in achieving your goals. If you don’t see this in a coach or school, run fast!
4. Are the classes more than once a week?
If you are not able to work in scenes more than once a week you are wasting your time. Acting takes doing and the more you are on your feet the faster you will learn and improve which leads to getting the part. Beware of any schools that only offer once a week classes.
5. Will the big name coach always lead the class or will it be led by substitute coaches with only brief interaction, guidance and personal attention from the big name coach?
Many schools promote the big name coach, but in reality, the student ends up being taught by a different teacher while the big name coach is out working with a star. More often than not, the majority of students never study with that big name teacher.
Next week I’ll talk about the remaining 5 questions of the top 10 questions you should ask when choosing an acting coach. My intention is to help you to find the best place for you to flourish as an actor! Stay tuned.
By Lynette McNeill
© 2016 Lynette McNeill Studios