1. Private Acting Coaching: An Introduction
2. What an Acting Coach Does
3. Private Acting Coach vs Group Acting Class
4. Who Should Work with a Private Coach?
5. Final Thoughts: Working with an Acting Coach
Private Acting Coaching: An Introduction
You’ve decided you want to pursue acting and are ready to take classes. But what about working with an acting coach?
Whether you’re just starting out in your acting career or you’re a seasoned veteran, working with an acting coach can help you take your craft to the next level. But what exactly does an acting coach do? And how do you know if coaching is right for you?
In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly what a private acting coach does, how working with and learning from a private coach differs from taking group acting classes, and when actors should consider hiring a private coach of their own.
What An Acting Coach Does
An acting coach is someone who works with you one-on-one (or sometimes in a small group) to help you improve your acting skills. They work with actors on things like script analysis, character development, and audition prep. They also help actors with things like confidence and stage fright.
An acting coach helps you hone your craft and develop your skills as an actor. A good coach will give you feedback on your acting, help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and give you specific exercises to work on. They’ll also help you prepare for auditions and roles, and give you guidance on the business side of acting.
Ultimately, a good private acting coach adapts to the actor’s needs. At times, they may work with an actor on deepening their understanding of a particular technique, at other times, they may help the actor turn inward, and guide them on the artist’s inner journey toward uninhibited freedom of expression. In my own practice, you’re just as likely to find me working with a student on the specifics of how to develop a character for an audition, or using mindfulness techniques to help them tune in to and better understand their own instrument.
Fundamentally, a good private coach is someone who takes the time and energy to focus on your artistic growth and development as an individual, and strives to adapt to the ever-changing challenges this work demands of us.
Private Acting Coach vs Group Acting Class
Private coaching differs from taking classes in a few key ways. First, classes are generally much larger, so you’re not getting the same one-on-one attention from your instructor. Second, classes typically move at a pretty fast pace, so you might not get the chance to really dive deep into the material and work on the things that are most challenging for you.
Private coaching, on the other hand, is much more personal and focuses on you as an individual. You can work at your own pace and focus on the areas that you need the most help with. You’ll work one-on-one with your coach, which means they can really tailor the coaching to your specific needs. Your coach will also be able to give you customized feedback and guidance that is specific to your needs and goals.
Private coaching can actually be a great complement to taking classes. Acting classes offer plenty of benefits to the actor. Group classes, especially scene study classes, can be an ideal place to practice once you’ve mastered the crucial fundamentals. Ideally, group acting classes offer a safe space for you to experiment, to take risks, and to grow as an actor and artist. They offer an environment not only to learn and grow, but to engage with your fellow actors, to be a part of a broader community. There is a learning that takes place from watching the struggles of your fellow actors, from feeling that you’re not in it alone, and a group class can be a great opportunity to have this experience. Even some of my students, who prefer to do most of their deep learning in our private sessions, still attend group classes, so they can enjoy the best of both worlds.
When working with new students in my private practice, the number one complaint they share that led them to seek out private instruction is feeling that the teachers in their group classes simply didn’t have enough time to give them the individual attention they needed to deeply grasp the concepts and truly take their work to the next level. It’s not uncommon for students in my private sessions to get past challenges that have been holding them back for months if not years in their group classes in just a handful of sessions! All they really needed was some focused one-on-one attention to finally get the instruction and understanding they’d been missing.
Who Should Work with a Private Coach?
The fact is, private coaching isn’t for everyone. It can be expensive, and often requires a greater level of commitment and dedication to the craft then a casual group class. While I work with actors at every stage of their development, I find that most of my private coaching clients fall into two very different categories:
I often work with beginning actors who have never set foot in an acting class, and know very little about acting other than it’s something they would like to pursue. For these actors, who are often serious about learning the fundamentals of our craft, but a bit uneasy about stepping into a group class full of strangers, private coaching can be a great way to get your feet wet, learn and work with the fundamentals, and give yourself a very solid foundation. Often beginning students will work with me until they’ve built up their understanding, and as a result, their courage, then transition into a group class. In my own experience, when these actors who have benefited from personal instruction finally transition into a group acting class, their solid grasp of the fundamentals and their comfort with the work proves to be a great advantage.
The other group of actors who can benefit most from private coaching are those who have already learned the fundamentals; auditioning, working actors with a solid approach to the work, but who have difficulty reaching the heights they’re aiming for in performance. When an experienced actor gets to this stage of their journey, it’s often crucial to have more personalized attention and guidance to help identify the specific obstacles that are holding them back. A dedicated private coach can take the time to fully understand the actor, their process, and where things are going astray, as well as help them develop approaches to contending with it in their work.
Still not sure if coaching is for you? Here are a few things to consider:
- Do you want more personalized attention?
- Do you want to focus on specific goals?
- Do you want to work on your audition technique?
- Do you want to get feedback on your acting?
- Do you want to work on things that you’re struggling with?
Not everyone needs or wants a coach, but if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, or if you’re not getting the results you want from your auditions, then coaching may be for you. A good coach will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and will give you the tools you need to grow as an actor.
Still not sure? Often the best way to decide is to schedule a consultation with a coach. This will give you a chance to meet them and see if the two of you will be a good fit.
Final Thoughts: Working with an Acting Coach
Working with a private acting coach can be an incredibly rewarding experience for actors at any stage of their development, but it’s not for everyone. It requires a significant investment of time and money, and a true dedication to the craft. However, for those actors who are willing to make this commitment, a private coach can be a true game-changer, helping them to quickly overcome obstacles, and take their work to the next level. So, if you’re an actor who is serious about your craft, dedicated to your artistry, and you’re looking for an individualized approach to help you develop and grow as an actor, working with a private coach may be exactly what you need.
Ultimately, whether you would be better suited by private coaching or group classes at this stage of your development is something only you can know, but hopefully understanding how the two differ will help you make a more educated decision in your own development as an actor.
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