If you're a solid actor, why would you hire a coach?
by N J Howell
Suggested Creative Resources:
Free Online Acting Class
How to Cry on Cue
Why do you need an acting coach for self-taped auditions?
You've trained. You know your craft. You have a technique that works for you as a creative performer. and yet ... you are not getting the bookings that you want.
I was in this category for many, many years. I didn't understand why I kept turning in solid performances, reading after reading, but seldom got cast. Granted, part of the reason was that I didn't have good studio quality lighting. If you don't have that, order it asap. Another reason may have had to do with nothing more than age. Isabella Rosalini was interviewed about the dearth of acting roles for women 45-60. Well, it's interesting to me that my leanest years were those years and that things have picked up considerably since my 60th birthday. However, I don't think it's just an age thing.
It all turned around for me, and in quite rapid fashion, when I stumbled into a friendship with someone who taught acting and was quite awesome at coaching for interviews. When I started enlisting the help of my friend, I was rather amazed at the outcome. I started booking everything I read for with her. I'm not exaggerating. Out of 6 projects this coach helped me with, I booked five. The sixth, I think, I didn't book because it was actually for a very overweight person who smoked and I didn't fit any of that criteria.
So, why does a good, solid actor with a technique that works for them need an acting coach for readings?
I can only speak for myself and, in so doing, have to introduce a structure of information known as Human Design. I have learned a lot about myself by studying this esoteric information and one of the things I learned is that, as a 6/3 Generator with Sacral Authority and a phs environment of wet kitchens, I needed feedback, questions, involvement and interaction in readings. I couldn't do it on my own, by myself. Having someone to suggest ideas, bounce ideas off of and get feedback from proved absolutely vital for me as an actor.
That info aside, I think one of the main advantages of having an acting coach for readings is that it does give you another well of inspiration. It's not just you trying to figure out interesting ways to do the role in front of you. You have another brain at work, maybe with different ideas you would never have thought of on your own.
Do you need an acting coach? Only you can answer that question but I'd ask you one more question... are you booking what you want to book now? If not, why not try a coach for your next reading and see how that goes? I can whole-heartedly recommend Erin Dangler. I always get terrific feedback and some very interesting choices from Erin. She doesn't take over the reading but inserts awesome alternative viewpoints and potential choices that I would often miss. If you contact Erin, will you please tell her that Neva Howell said hello? Thanks! Whether you choose to work with the awesome Erin or some other coach, I do recommend that you work with a coach. Your career might just turn around overnight if you do.