Need to find paid work to make your dream of joining a theatre company reality? Are you passionate about sharing your knowledge? Look into becoming an acting coach, one of the most rewarding part-time’ jobs for actors. Not to mention private acting lessons mean flexible hours and free time to rehearse for that big audition. Nurturing talent will make you feel useful and add professionalism to your acting resume. Regular tutoring will also get your thinking about your own dramatic craft.
Bear in mind you will have to commit and put in the effort as private tuition is more expensive than a collective class which means students are likely to have higher standards.
Many great acting coaches draw from decades of industry experience and their own acting training, others go as far as getting an education on teaching aspiring thespians. Certification for acting training is found all over the UK. The prestigious London-based drama school Royal Central School of Speech and Drama offers a world recognised three-year BA (Hons) course in Drama and Applied Theatre education.
Not sure whether enrolling in drama school is an investment you are willing to make? Find a practicing acting coach through your network and ask them how they began tutoring. Ask them about their approach, whether it is wise to focus on a specific technique or just entrance examinations for drama schools? Some instructors will be very happy to share their expertise and provide insightful advice.
Now that we have qualifications and drama school diplomas out of the way, let’s explore what makes a good acting coach. As you might expect there is no right or wrong way and it is difficult to accurately draw a list of dos and don’ts. Every student requires a bespoke acting program, some seek coaching to harness an auditioning monologue while others are looking to sharpen a particular skill required for film or theater acting. That said the most challenging things to teach are human-related qualities like vulnerability, making peace with your inner critic & becoming a truthful performer.
Encouragement and constructive criticism are the tools of a successful acting coach. (Source : Unsplash).
One common factor to every successful learning experience is instilling a supportive atmosphere and a safe environment. Acting coaches are trained to detect weaknesses and details that need smoothing out.
Obviously, your instruction won’t rest on flattering an aspiring actor’s ego but feedback is best perceived when delivered constructively. Acting like you have all the answers and that tough love is the only way to go will have your students running out of the door. To make sure your students look forward to your workshop, always work on balancing a critical mind with positive communication.
Coaching is sometimes just about reconnecting the apprentice to the imaginary. Guidance through reading a piece differently can really turn an actor’s play around. In contrary, some students may come to you with a specific request. Some will even select you based on a particular achievement in your acting career.
To every craft it’s tools. Theatre acting coaches can choose to specialise in vocal or gestural training while acting for film and television is likely to require guidance on cold reading, screen techniques, and understanding camera movement.
Many coaches make their bread and butter from prospective students wishing to integrate prestigious drama schools with intensive masterclasses teaching examination techniques and classical training.
Others focus on actors with prior training and offer character development oriented workshops where they will be more methodical about acting. Do tailor your offer to your strengths and ask yourself some critical questions. Do you have a more philosophical take or do you focus on technical aspects? Also, think about what kind of student you wish to teach, do you interact better with younger actors or do you prefer confirmed performers?
An acting instructor can also touch upon peripheral aspects which extend to non-acting professionals such as public speaking, voice and gestural management and presentation skills. This may also be an avenue of opportunity worth exploring.
Look at what sort of acting jobs you have had and how you can translate that experience into good coaching tips for your students.
Acting coaches get better visibility on trustworthy websites. (Source: Unsplash).
If you are familiar with the dramatic arts or have previous actor training you have probably heard or even have a strong grasp on some of these approaches often mentioned in acting for film and theatrics. If not we have concocted a quick overview:
The Sanford Meisner acting technique advocated honesty and truthfulness on stage despite acting out an imaginary world. Prior to becoming a sought-after acting teacher in the US, he founded The Group which became a huge influence in American theatre.
Konstantin Stanislavski and his eponymous method focused on improving a naturalistic style of performance through self-analysis and reflection. His approach included a detailed system of script analysis and rehearsals. He saw the acting studio as a creative lab for new forms of theatre. Part of the curriculum of major drama schools, this technique is particularly useful for character interpretations.
For more information, we encourage you to read his book, the acting bible for many to this day “An Actor’s Work” (1938).
The Russian dramaturgist inspired many subsequent drama programs. In 1930s American Lee Strasberg developed a democratized version of the Stanislavski approach and baptized it The Method, also known as the Actor’s Studio. Script reading and analysis are essential components to nurture an in-depth study of the character’s motivations and behavior.
Actors play the part on and offset or stage to heighten authenticity, drawing from past trauma and real-life induced emotions for an “inside-out” performance. Method acting became sadly notorious alongside the passing of actor Heath Ledger who allegedly followed this style of acting training.
Stella Adler made Stanislavski’s technique her own with a greater emphasis on the imagination. You can read about her teachings in her critically acclaimed book “The Art of Acting” prefaced by a faithful student, none other than Marlon Brando. Russian master Anton Chekhov developed his drama technique based on a psychophysical process, this method of acting with full awareness found followers like Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholson.
Finally, the Practical Aesthetics training program mixes both Stanislavski and Meisner processes focusing on pure in the moment action. Here actors and actresses act out the scene at hand, focusing on this stage of the storyline.
What about improvisation? Teaching an actor to act without a script is like teaching someone how to walk. Improvisational acting is so inherently part of the job that you either have it or you don’t. While directors and playwrights dread too much of it, many actors rely on it to fully release and deliver a truthful rendition.
Got your acting coach certification, ready to launch into helping your apprentices knock their next audition out of the park but are you having trouble finding work? Get in touch with your inner geek and kickstart your online presence. You can buy a domain name at little cost and create a one-page website from a template, upload a short bio, showreels, and testimonials – all of this under an hour!
An acting coach can help deconstruct a challenging piece. (Source: Unsplash).
If this sounds too daunting you can kill two birds with one stone and sign up with Superprof. Join a network of 2,7 million tutors across 19 countries, you’ll be in good company! A platform for teachers looking to pass on their passion knowledge, Superprof believes that curiosity is an essential ingredient for learning.
Not only does the platform attract students with a real appetite for learning and a desire to develop a skill, tutor profiles are validated and approved. No need to post your advertisement at the corner shop, this network of teachers will do all the go in between work. Its securing terms and conditions mean students sign up with greater confidence than with a regular acting coach with no reviews. Payment is not an issue as everything is done through the platform, this means no running after student fees. Now that’s a weight off your shoulders so you can focus on making your acting classes five-star experiences!
Another good way to earn some money between auditions is to take on work as a movie extra.
Reputation is critical in this kind of occupation so make sure your students get the most out of your services and leave satisfied. Word of mouth or a five-star Google review can do wonders for your business. To further improve visibility think about social media, create a Facebook page and encourage students to post a review and even their work following a session with you. Engaging content and testimonials are your best advertising.
Coaching acting privately is a people job with each class is like a rehearsal informing the next. The challenging human-related qualities of teaching beginner thespians will put your own craft into perspective. This experience might go so far as transforming your acting career. When asked what the best part of the job most acting coaches will talk about the moment a student has a breakthrough. For when an actor has a revelation that means his craft is moving onto another level. It is probably one of the most rewarding and inspiring moments in an acting coach’s career.
If you have been looking for an opportunity to share your skills and knowledge with those needing that little extra help to succeed, now’s the time!