How To Start Acting Baby Steps and Acting Coaches

If your birthday comes any time after September 7th 1927 (the date of the creation of the electronic TV), chances are you have been surrounded by media in your home your whole life, whether you’ve noticed it or not. Kinetoscope cinema came even further before, with the first cinematic demonstration taking place in 1893, and with it came a whole new plethora of careers - one of which happened to be screen acting.

It’s no secret that breaking into the screen acting industry is notoriously difficult. Knowing this, people still will try and weasel their way into screen acting for so many reasons, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds whether it be from the enjoyment of cinema, a passion for story telling, or as an escape. Why, you ask? Aside from the cool costumes and the overly-glamorised and romanticised appeal of the acting industry and Hollywood, it’s the one-of-a-kind opportunity to embody characters, and a desire to connect with audiences through the use of story-telling skills. It’s something very few careers can offer. To be able to connect with different audiences, and to be able to elicit emotional responses from them whilst bringing their favourite characters to life is unique.

Great! You have the motivation! What now? Well, you can start by seeking training. Before the age of Zoom, this used to be so much more difficult to find, having to travel miles unless you live in a city. Now, it’s as simple as finding a good company to train with, and attending their online acting classes. Otherwise, if you want 1-1 screen acting lessons, and you’re lucky enough to live in London, or Manchester, or even Leeds, or another big city, you can usually find a quality screen acting coach near you, or just travel to one. Some agencies offer classes, and may use those classes to scout new talent.

Personally, when looking for a good acting coach, I mainly consider their ability to provide constructive feedback. Some of my acting friends prefer to focus on their coaches’ understanding of various acting techniques, and their dedication to helping them improve as an actor whilst applying and exploring different screen acting methods. Some people even use their acting coach as a way to network, or an ‘in’ to the acting industry, so their experience or reputation in the acting industry is a requirement for them. Above everything, it’s important to find someone with whom you feel comfortable and who can tailor their approach to your individual needs and goals.

In case you would prefer to take a look at some acting practitioners (whether it be screen acting or theatre work) and do your homework before finding an acting coach, we at Aire St Studio have gathered a few options for you. First, there’s Uta Hagen. I personally can vouch for Hagen, since me and my own screen acting coach touched on it. If Uta Hagen’s name rings a bell, it’s probably due to her notable practical approach to acting and her influential book ‘Respect for Acting’, and the fact that many famous actors use her teachings, such as Jessica Lange. She actively encourages the use of ‘substitution’ in acting, in which she encourages actors to use personal experiences and memories to connect with their characters’ emotions and motivations. Other acting and theatre practioneers include Stella Adler, Ivana Chubbuck, and Michael Chekhov.

Once you’ve found your coach and/or your practitioners of choice (we know the cost of acting coaches is through the roof, believe me), just before you begin your sessions with an acting coach, take some time to reflect on your goals as an actor. Are you looking to improve your audition technique, develop a specific character type, or enhance your overall performance skills? Communicate these goals clearly to your coach so they can tailor their instruction to meet your needs. This means you can get your moneys worth, or your bang for your buck, or whatever the kids are saying these days. Establishing a clear and communicative approach to your acting coach is vital to building a strong, trustable relationship. 

Don’t fret if you can’t get the hang of it with immediate effect. Leonardo DiCaprio was not born with a perfected Titanic-worthy monologue straight out of his mother’s womb. Becoming a skilled actor takes time, patience, and perseverance. Don’t expect overnight success, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks or challenges along the way. Trust in the process, stay committed to your goals, and continue working diligently with your acting coach to steadily improve your craft. Like any skill, acting requires consistent practice and dedication. Work closely with your acting coach to develop a personalized practice regimen that suits your schedule and goals. Whether it’s rehearsing monologues, practicing improvisation exercises, or analyzing scenes, regular practice is key to mastering your craft. Don’t forget to practice your craft and act consistently. Just like any job or uni course, the more you practice and revise, the better you’ll be. 

To bring this to a close (for now), thank you for reading your way through this. If you don’t mind us at Aire St Studio being rather cheeky, actor headshots are a vital addition to that good ol’ Spotlight, or, Backstage, or Mandy Actors website, and we at Aire St Studio are known to do acting headshots well. It is quite literally the first thing casting directors look at before you even get to put those freshly-coached-and-revised acting skills to use. We’ve wrote plenty about that already though if you’d like to check it out! In the meantime, reach out to Mark, our headshot photographer, for acting headshots, or studio hire! 

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