Because navigating the world of professional acting can be difficult, many aspiring actors seek the advice and training of an experienced actor and mentor known as an acting coach. This person may work as a freelance teacher or advisor or offer group and individual training classes out of a professional studio. Many well-known film, television, and stage actors have benefited from a talented coach’s advice and acting techniques.
Almost all acting coaches began their careers as aspiring actors, receiving training at the same schools as their future students. Working with some of the world’s most prestigious professional acting companies, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company or the Julliard School of the Arts, provided additional training and experience to many of the best. Before becoming an advisor to others, he or she has generally mastered many of the technical and emotional elements of the craft of acting.
This person can serve as the eyes and ears of a critical audience or casting director for an actor. The coach may ask the student to perform an audition piece for him or her, and the coach will pay close attention to all aspects of the performance. If an actor’s body language or energy level does not match the dialogue, he or she may demonstrate a better way to move around the stage. A student actor may not be able to clearly pronounce certain words, or he or she may speak too quickly or slowly. All of these are technical issues that a qualified coach can assist in resolving.
A production company might hire an acting coach to train non-professional actors or to work on specific acting challenges like foreign accents or physical disabilities. Even a seasoned actor may find himself or herself struggling with a complex character’s motivations or unable to reach the director’s desired level of emotion. For professional actors who need advice from someone who understands the demands of acting, a coach can often serve as a motivator or counselor.
An established acting coach can earn a substantial annual salary because the job requires a significant amount of background training and experience. To be closer to their current and potential clients, many professional coaches establish studios in New York City or Los Angeles. People in this position often work in relative obscurity, preferring to support their most promising students’ professional lives. However, in order to maintain their acting skills and learn more about each style of acting, these individuals frequently accept smaller roles in film, television, or stage productions.