How important is it for aspiring actors to hire an acting coach? Find out in this guest post by New York, NY acting teacher Stephanie B...
So let’s assume you are an actor in NYC or LA – running around auditioning like mad, but not really getting too many call-backs. And not really getting cast, either! You think, maybe I should try working with an acting coach like some others do. But what can an acting coach do for me? Why give someone money to do—what? What does an acting coach do to help you? Well, I am one, and here are five acting tips I can help you with in lessons:
1. Your audition material.
An acting coach focuses on YOU, not a class of 15 or a room of 75. A good coach can tell if your audition monologues are right. Are they you? Do they share who you really are? Are they new and fresh (NOT Death of a Salesman, please)? And then once you have new fresh pieces, your coach can help you tailor them to your strengths.
2. Your headshot.
If I had a dollar for every headshot that does not work, I would be rich! Does your headshot even look like you? Do you look younger or older than you are? Do you look the wrong type? For example, maybe you are a leading man with a character actor headshot. Is the lighting or dress wrong? Is it printed poorly? An acting coach does not have to send you for new shots – but a good coach can pick 2-4 shots from your headshot sheet that are keepers.
3. Preparing for auditions.
Aside from the monologues you may do, what else is happening at an audition? When you cold read do you take your time or rush? Do you relax or panic? Do you know five ways in which to be totally unforgettable, so that even you if don’t get this role they will call you again in the future? How do you act in the restroom, hallway, and with the audition monitor? A good coach can walk you through all this and leave you relaxed and excited to make your next audition REALLY work for you.
4. Your resume.
Are you listing the right credits? Are you padding your resume? How is the font and format? Are there misspellings and grammar issues? A walk through your resume with a coach will change the look from panicked and messy to calm and professional – and that is how you want to be seen, because they want to hire professionals!
5. Additional audition “secrets.”
I can let you in on why casting directors really DO want you to be good and want to cast you even though it may seem they don’t. You’ll also learn the secret to having just the right amount of auditioning experience so that your auditions are not repetitive burn-outs (this happens a lot and is a turn off!) – plus secrets to approaching the auditioners, what to say, how to enter, and how to exit. Lots to know!
So, those are only five small acting tips and ways that a coach can help you. One last note: the coach you want is one who has cast things, auditioned, directed – a jack-of-all-trades. That’s what I can offer, with experience in both LA and NYC (two very different markets). Hey, most of the famous actors that you love work with coaches. Isn’t it about time you worked with one, too?
Stephanie B. teaches acting, audition prep, and accent reduction in New York, NY. As the Founder of Nicu’s Spoon Theater Company, she has taught audition classes, techniques, dialect and accent coaching, and acting classes for 14 years in NYC. Learn more about Stephanie here!
Photo by nican45