Why Actors Need a Coach
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”.
Q: When did Michael Jordan stop using a coach?
A: When he retired.
Whether an individual is an aspiring neophyte in the acting world or seasoned veteran in Hollywood, there is one thing that is always present: a coach. Acting, like dancing or playing a musical instrument requires constant training and coaching in order to achieve and maintain a high level of competency. Sometimes people have the impression that if an actor is a professional he/she has developed the necessary level of skill and mastery, obviating the need for a coach. The truth is that coaching is a requirement for professionals as well as amateurs throughout their careers. It’s just that the specific needs and challenges vary based on the level of skill and experience. Learn more about Acting Coach Nancy Berwid!
Since the term P-R-O-F-E-S-S-I-O-N-A-L is generally associated with competency in a given field, an acronym of the word itself can help define some of the main roles a coach plays throughout an actor’s career:
Polish – Your coach helps you stay polished in the roles that fit your specific look and character type. It’s the stuff that is right down your alley and that Casting Directors can easily see you doing.
Reinforcement – Your coach continually reinforces the fundamentals upon which your work is based. It’s the system, method, or way of working. It’s easy to slip away from the fundamentals if there is no grounding force.
Objectives – Your coach is aware of your objectives and what you are trying to achieve and won’t let you forget them when you sometimes lose your way.
Focus – Your coach holds you accountable for the work you do and don’t do. When there is no structure in an actor’s routine he/she can lose focus on what’s most important – becoming the best actor you can become.
Essence – Your coach knows what makes you special, your unique qualities, and helps nurture that essence.
Support – When you have bad days in class or suffer the pains of an audition gone wrong, your coach reminds you of what you are capable of and encourages you to move forward.
Shape – Your coach is the equivalent of a personal trainer who helps you get fit and stay in shape. If you are not in shape, you can’t play the game.
Invested – Your coach knows you as an individual and shares in your victories and defeats. A coach is on your side and is committed to your success as well.
Open – Your coach is open and honest, quite possibly the most valuable part of having a coach. It does the actor no good to go to class and be told how good they are week after week. It’s neither helpful, nor conducive to growth. Rather it leads to atrophy, laziness, notions of self grandeur, and ultimately great embarrassment. When you are not on your game, you need good information so that you can correct the problems as quickly as possible. Someone has to let you know when you have a blind spot.
Normalcy – Your coach helps you understand the stages of growth and development, giving you a contextual backdrop for what you are experiencing. In this way the actor can move forward confidently with the knowledge that they aren’t going through something abnormal or strange…it’s just part of the process.
Audition – Your coach helps you prepare for auditions, often providing that little bit of information or extra confidence that can make all the difference.
Limits – Understanding when you are not ready to audition, or which roles may be too far of a stretch to attempt at a certain stage in your development are very important things to know. Going out to audition before you are ready is a good way to burn up the town and set back your career. Moreover, your coach helps you push your limits in an appropriate way so that you can successfully stretch and grow as an actor.
Check out our YouTube Channel with feedback from our Students.
Nancy Berwid‘s First Take Acting Program provides a holistic approach to acting. (Los Angeles acting coach, San Francisco acting coach) Along with a Method that students can use to hone their craft, Nancy provides a keen eye for logic, a sensitivity to human behavior as well as the human heart.
If you are interested in becoming a a working actor, sign up for acting classes at First Take today!