The high you are feeling after having the epiphany that this industry can be simple – and that should be your sole focus – is great. Keep those warm fuzzies flowing! Now we’re going to take action on the simplicity we defined.
There are lots of places to find a trusted source, but based
on what I’ve seen talent find when venturing out on their own, I should point
you towards a few obvious options.
An Acting Coach. The coach is someone who expects to be compensated for their time, but who also takes an earnest interest in who his/her students may be. If you haven’t had any experience, sign up for a beginner’s class to get some basic knowledge of character development, script review, and on-camera lingo. (Models need this, too, so don’t tune out because you see the word acting!).
After you know the basics, however, your coach should be challenging you. A good coach will make you sift through the emotional life you’ve buried deep; s/he will frustrate you; s/he will encourage you; s/he will applaud you; s/he will crush you. A good coach will be your best friend and worst enemy all at the same time and somehow keep you coming back. It’s the part of the talent that craves feedback usually not received in casting and even rarely on sets. It’s the excitement of the willies in your stomach when you realize it’s not Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance – it’s all up to YOU!
How do you find a good coach? Great question! Credentials are nice, but they only go so far. A great actor doesn’t always make a good coach. The ideal coach has a plan set out. You may or may not care for the plan, but the important factor is that there is a level of preparation and rhythm to their coaching style. Another sign is the coach’s willingness to learn about you as an individual. Each talent has strengths and weaknesses. Your coach can’t immediately know these, so give them time to work out a complementary relationship before you make judgments. A good coach should feel like a parent/child relationship, but without the dysfunction of a typical family. It’s your job to learn from him/her; not to control the relationship. Great coaches will be willing to chat with you briefly to hear what you want to work on and what your background has been.
What should you be cautious of? Pricing is always worth considering. Services are charged based on time and quality; you will have to be the judge. You might be able to sit in on a class for a nominal fee – ask! The worst they can do is say no. Be wary of schools that sell packages. The coaches may be fine, but the overall investment may not make sense. Ask other talent you meet and the professional team around you (agents, casting directors, crew members, etc.) for leads and then do the research yourself. A perfect fit for one talent may not be the best fit for another, so find someone you know can bring out your best and your worst . . . and get working!