Acting Coach | A Safe Place To Grow
Actors can benefit a great deal from an acting coach, as long as they are open to the process. Receiving more individualized attention from an acting teacher or private acting coach can be a rigorous process that strips away many of an actor’s preconceived notions of their skills. Even more challenging, the job of an acting coach is to get to the the very bottom of the actor as a person, look into and listen for their deepest notions of who they are as a human being and begin to draw this out to use in the development of a character.
An actor’s innermost thoughts and feelings can be difficult to expose to a larger class of actors. A good acting coach and acting instructor should create a safe space and know how to create a sense of trust so deep that the actor can risk the vulnerability needed to become a better actor. Serving as psychologist, part parent and coach, the definition of the word coach-to instruct or to train-is too limiting. When we think of coach or teacher we imagine a person talking, imparting knowledge, when in fact a good acting coach first will be an excellent “receiver.” They will be able to quickly assess body language, pick up cues in conversation, make accurate predictions about what an actor truly feels about many things.
A great acting coach will get a growing sense of who an actor is, determine set goals for how the actor can improve and then formulate a method for getting them there. They are masters of manipulation, pushing, guiding, breaking down and building up a student by twists and turns in a way that may sometimes seem brutal. This is one field where manipulation is not only accepted it is encouraged as long as the manipulation guides the actor to deeper more complex performances. An acting coach ultimately should be working constantly, every step of the way, to help the actor develop their unique voice and a successful method for getting to a deeper sense of a character more quickly.
The first sign that a coach is good is their ability to listen and assess. They must begin by listening to what an actor says about their goals, and look for clues about what the actor feels about their own ability. The next step is to assess the skills the student has and be completely honest about what it would take to achieve those goals. The coach may agree or disagree with the student’s self assessment but, their obligation is to be honest about that opinion. Then they should be willing and able to formulate a plan moving forward.
When the work begins, they must establish a bond with the student. Acting students, however, must also be careful not to simply choose someone they “like,” but, rather someone willing to push them into potentially uncomfortable places emotionally, while still feeling safe. A good acting coach and instructor should also be able to offer very specific methods, such as the Meisner technique, to build up an actor’s areas of weakness. An actor is very much like an athlete, needing to practice and continually grow throughout their entire career. Any actor who thinks they have “arrived” and no longer needs to learn something new is on a path to irrelevance. If they are not growing, they will not be able to successfully portray a character with any real sense of authenticity.
Finally, a necessary quality for any coach is an ability to encourage. An acting coach must be one part cheerleader, establishing for their client a belief that the hard work will pay off. That the work being done has an ultimate goal and that working together, they will get there. As they continue to move the goal posts, change up the expectations, set the bar higher, they should also be communicating in subtle ways that you will get there.
To learn more about how the studio can help you land your next part, call the studio and speak with Alberto. (917) 606-0982. A private acting coach can help you prepare for your next role or audition.