An acting coach serves many roles, above all that of a mentor, teacher and sometimes your very worst nightmare-in a good way. The best kind of acting teacher or acting coach is someone who takes the time to discover your goals and plan the journey with you. They will carefully assess where you are, be honest about your skill level and then outline a list of practical steps that you will take together to achieve your goals.
Of course, your goals need to be realistic and you must demonstrate to them your willingness to work hard. An excellent private acting coach is bound to have a full roster of students. They don’t need someone who dreams of being a “name” without recognizing the amount of work that it will take. They are looking for actors who have talent, who know they will have to work incredibly hard and who are committed to the process, not the end result. There are plenty of actors out there who show up, having done their homework. No matter how talented, a lazy actor isn’t worth it. Actors who have spent years studying and practicing the Meisner technique understand how important process is because the Meisner technique is all about the process. They will have very specific exercises in mind to help address specific problems.
When searching for an acting instructor, look for qualifications that are balanced. They should have experience, especially in the area you aspire to work in, combined with formal teaching experience. Full blown success as an actor is not necessarily a requirement. Many great actors understand the nuances of what goes into great performances, and they have a sixth sense about other actor’s work, even if they not have “made it” in a big way in the business. They can spot bad habits, they have creative ideas for improvement and practical methods for helping you incorporate those ideas into your work.
There are no hard and fast rules but there are certainly common guidelines that can be applied to the search for an acting coach. For one thing, respect for you and your work and where you currently are in your skill set is paramount. Acting is a fragile enough field. The last thing you need is an acting teacher that feels it is necessary to “bully” you. On the other hand direct, honest sometimes very painful criticism and the ability to push you hard are also essential.
A private acting coach should also be clear in their directions, and be willing to support you and be patient even in times of confusion. Chances are you are seeking help because of specific struggles you are facing in your skill set, or what you think is a lack of progress in your study, They should be open to difficult questions, and patient with the weaknesses you bring to the sessions. While their experience is invaluable make sure that they bring up only what is relevant to your journey. You are not paying someone to re-live their best moments in front of you.
There is something special about identifying the ways in which you need to improve and being given specific tools can you can apply to get to the next level. In the end, good acting is all about building good habits and keeping the process moving forward. The right coach understands this and will be dedicated to helping you build these good habits and keep your momentum going. Much like a personal trainer at the gym, an acting coach will help identify the practice sets you need to do to strengthen your weak spots. They will be your guide to creating new habits and help you keep you growing as an actor. Good actors cannot rely simply on luck, talent or their gifts but mainly on their work habits. This is what the right acting coach will keep you focused on.
Find a Private Acting Coach for Your Next Audition
The Maggie Flanigan Studio offers private acting coaching to help you prepare for your next audition. To learn more about free acting classes and how the studio can help you land your next part, call the studio and speak with Katie. (917) 794-3878.