Selecting an acting coach is a very important decision for an aspiring actor who wants to make it in the film industry. The acting coach you choose will go a long way in affecting your career. The person you team up with might end up being more than a teacher, friend, and professional connection.
It is paramount you have background knowledge in acting before deciding you need an acting coach to further your dreams. The coach who you decide to take you on acting lessons must be someone you admire their skills, respect and know you can learn a lot from. You don't want to choose an acting coach and the next thing running through your mind is - I can do better than them. Choose someone you can say " I learned so much from...'' when you are up collecting your first Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
Connecting with your coach on an emotional level is key. It is also important you understand they have the skills and experience to prepare you for auditions, improve your resume and guide through your career and journey to stardom. At times, you and your coach will sit and discuss your expectations, dreams, fears and so on. At the end of the day, any success you receive will feel like a success to your acting coach who is teaching or taught you how to act.
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Additionally, your acting coach will become a supportive influence towards your life in Nollywood or the entertainment industry, all the way down to your dressing and how you present yourself out there. As such, choosing the right individual to coach you is very important to avoid switching between coaches at all times. If your instincts do not go with the individual or probably there is no chemistry then the person is most likely not the right coach for you.
Remember that you will spend a lot of time with your acting coach working on your strengths and weaknesses. Exercises you will most likely do together are: reading monologues, working on your confidence, analyzing scripts, understanding how to read, practising camera scenes, developing the art of expression, learning how to showcase emotion and working on speech and accents.
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How To Decide And Pick Your Acting Coach
What To Consider When Choosing A Coach
Finding someone who is gifted and can inspire you should be the first thing to consider when choosing an acting coach. Of course, there are other things to look out for like; how much their acting classes cost, can you learn how to act through them, their personality, what technique they use to train (classical acting, the Chekhov acting technique, method acting, Meisner acting technique, practical aesthetics acting technique, the Stanislavski philosophy, etc), where they work, actors they have trained in the past, where and who they have worked for, have they starred in a movie or acted one, their qualification and so on.
An acting coach can help your career beyond acting tips. You can look for a person who is involved in stage performances, commercials, casting, voice-overs, commercials and more. The acting professional doesn't necessarily have to be someone who has had an AMAA nomination, graduated from PEFTI or any of the top drama schools to train you. Your preferred choice should be someone who can impact knowledge, are passionate and have the skills to teach you about your desired field in the industry.
Here are a few tips on what to do and what not to do when looking for your acting coach.
Research On Coaches.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of research. Thankfully, the internet makes research easier for people nowadays. One way to be sure you are on the way to making the right choice is to do your homework on two or more coaches. Meanwhile, you must be positive and confident as this will go a long way in making the relationship with your coach, work.
Start your research by going on the internet to search for the available acting coaches near you or asking friends or reading other previous students' reviews and testimonials. As earlier stated, big cities like Lagos, Enugu, Jos, Asaba, and Calabar are usually where the successful coaches and agents in the industry are situated. However, that doesn't mean you wouldn't still find the right coach in an area near you.
Plan Your Audition And Prepare Your Questions Well
Impressing your coach can be a way of launching your career. The coach needs to see the drive, passion and viable skills before they can, of course, put their trust in you. You also need to plan your side of the audition by having some questions ready to ask the coach. This will help your decision making on whether or not they are right for you.
Attend More Than One Audition During the Process
It is strongly recommended you attend more than one audition even if you have made up your mind on a particular coach. Be open-minded and flexible during your selection period. Have you ever set your sights on a dress and then when you've gone to see them in the flesh, read the small print and/or explore your other options, realized that they weren't the right choice for you? So always keep your options open.
Don't Base Your Decision On Price
When you find the right acting coach, you will know. This is somewhat hard to explain but you will instantly understand and connect with the perfect coach for fulfilling your dreams.
In the course of hunting for the right acting coach, you might come across a person who seems perfect but out of your planned budget. It is advised not to rule them out immediately if you are serious about your career and can't seem to see success outside hiring this individual. Try to explore options like asking if there is an available instalment payment plan, see if a relative can sponsor your training or probably apply for a loan depending on your financial background.
Don't Pick Popularity Over Attraction
Make sure you choose an acting coach that you feel can offer you acting lessons in a special way that can be related on a personal level. Understandably, certain coaches have more experiences or some sort of success that fascinates you. Whatever the case may be, make sure to choose wisely and not because of a big breakthrough they had with an actor.
Don't Choose A Teacher Without Meeting With Them
Don't agree to any terms/or conditions with a tutor without meeting them and truly deciding if they are your kind of person. Meeting someone in person is way different from communications over the telephone or via email. So, therefore, the coach might not be what you expected upon actually meeting them - it might not necessarily be in a bad way, it could be in a good way. This is why a face to face meeting or a video call is so important before choosing an acting coach that suits your desired expectations. According to Nollymania, there are skills needed to get into the Nigerian entertainment industry.
It should be noted that although you might click instantaneously with an acting coach, it does not necessarily mean they are perfect for you. A person you meet might be very friendly and approachable but base your decision solely on that. Some of the most talented tutors are sometimes strict and a no-nonsense kind of person at times.
A face to face meeting will allow you to see and know what to expect from their acting classes. You will be unable to see an honest representation of the coach without meeting them and the coach also wouldn't be able to know how you look, express and understand you as an aspiring actor.
The younger actors might decide to have a close relative with them during the meet up with the prospective acting coach because they may want to be a part of the decision especially if they have contributed to acting school and acting dreams and to also ensure they are choosing the right coach. You are advised to pick a spot you are comfortable in but if you are in a city you don't reside in like Lagos, Enugu, Jos, Asaba, and Calabar, be sure to check out and choose a place you feel very at ease before the meet update. Some websites can tell you about cool spots in each city.
What Qualifications Is A Drama Teacher Expected to Have?
There are no specific guidelines or experience requirements which is why it is hard for aspiring actors to know what to look out for in an acting coach. Most tutees will certainly want a coach with some sort of experience in Nollywood or the media industry or someone who has attended a drama school or taken some acting classes or acted professionally, trained a successful actor, been on an auditioning or recruiting panel or has a connection in the entertainment industry and so on.
Think of a coach like a trainer who pumps you up right before you go into the ring and gives you the tools and confidence to really knock out your opponent.
There are several reasons why some people choose the path of an acting coach. It should be noted that some coaches continue to act alongside training other aspiring actors. This shows that some individuals are both an acting coach and an actor or someone who already has a career (director, scriptwriter, voice-over, etc) in the film industry. Some coaches choose their career path for flexibility, management of their time or the desire to have a steady and reliable source of income.
Here is a quick summary of the Dos and Don'ts of selecting an acting coach for beginner acting lessons.
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