Awesome Acting Club - Coach Jack Turnbull
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Audition Coaching: Use it to BOOK those roles!

14 May 2013 9:13 AM | Coach Jack Turnbull (Administrator)
Coaching Boosts Your Bookings!
Some Coaching Tips From Jack Turnbull!
Casting Direcor Carol Goldwasser
Over 100 Young Actorsiters have booked series regular roles in the past few years! 

I'm so proud of every one. In fact, as I write these messages, I'm reminded of who I need to shout out to!

This message is about COACHING, though, so we'll stick to the subject!

WHEN DOES A YOUNG ACTOR NEED COACHING?

There are two specific reasons to work on private coaching for young actors. First, to prepare for a specific audition, and second to work on specific skills.
Coaching is not enough by itself, since an actor must "react" to other actors, and a coach is not another actor.
Since it's basketball season, I'll use an example of how the various coaches on a team work with the position players on specific skills, BUT, for that player to actually practice  those skills, they have to play a practice game, and that is what an acting class is like---a practice game. A scrimmage.

So a coach can not only help an actor prepare for an audition, but also tweak specific skills so that young actor can practice those skills in a class prior to auditioning. NICE!

There are some young actors who only receive private coaching and never get into classes to practice those skills. As we have seen so often in the past, they then don't have the reaction skills needed to build a big career. That's why they sit on the sidelines while the kids who LOVE their FAST TRACK PRO classes book the roles. Acting is a muscle, you have to work it out, and it's more fun in an exciting class.

So coaching supplements the classes.  
How to prepare for Audition Coaching...
Do you think parents should coach their own child? 

Well, yes and no...since you are in HOLLYWOOD and the stakes are so high for every audition...and auditions are difficult to come by--- and callbacks are even more difficult to come by--- and bookings are even MORE difficult... If you are reading this, then you NEED to make sure your child gets coaching for substantial roles.

Here's some info on how to prepare... 

Yes, I am recommending coaching with a qualified coach.

 If your child fails to prepare, then they are preparing to fail! 

How to prepare for coaching:

First,  I want to encourage parents to be a "practice partner" with their child, who can help them go over their scenes MANY TIMES, since repetition makes the material familiar. 

When doing that process, I caution parents to make sure the child is CONSTANTLY CHANGING their practice, so they don't settle into a "groove" which makes them un-direct-able.

 Parents can read the sides, breakdown and script, but unless a parent has been coaching for MANY YEARS, the parent should stick to being a "practice partner" rather than trying to coach the emotional aspects of the audition material. The coach is experienced at finding the right "tone" to the material.

As I have stated for years, and now ALL GOOD COACHES AGREE, I encourage parents to have their kids do the scene DIFFERENTLY each time, practicing it LOUDER, SOFTER--even whispering, HIGHER---in the higher range of their voice, LOWER---in the lower range of their voice, FASTER---even TOO FAST, SLOWER--- even ridiculously slow and with different emphasis each time. HIGHER, LOWER, LOUDER, SOFTER, FASTER and with different emphasis to try different things. This is a practice technique and better prepares the actor for audition performance.

30 to 50 (or more) times repeating the scene...is not a lot, in fact, it's just a warm up... Many times kids have an "attitude" when they practice with a parent where they want to do their "silly" voices or do it odd and weird ways.

GREAT! ENCOURAGE THAT!  This way they can MAKE THE DIALOGUE THEIR OWN! By trying it different ways, they OWN the dialogue!

 It's part of the learning process. In fact, if a child practices a scene 30 or more times and does it the "SAME" every time, I would encourage that parent to find a different career for that child...that child is not direct-able and isn't going to "OWN" the material at ANY time in the future. 

No casting director can give them a direction if they are so "locked in" that they are inflexible. So parents, encourage your child to do all of their cartoon voices, animal voices, other weird voices, etc., when working on the material, so they can "MAKE IT THEIR OWN". 

If you follow these practice techniques prior to going to your coach, your child will have sufficiently repeated the material-- I recommend 30 to 50 times(or more), without settling into a "set" rhythm or pattern -- your child is ready for coaching. 

At that point, the coach can give suggestions and make EMOTIONAL adjustments to the performance so they are properly tweaked to go into the audition. 

The Casting Director then can give them additional tweaking for the callback...it's called BEING DIRECT-ABLE! 

What is OVER-COACHING? Over-coaching is when a child is told there is a "RIGHT" way to perform the material and they work on being "RIGHT" rather than owning the material and being natural and effortless!

 If you hear that your child was "over-coached", then that means your child CANNOT TAKE DIRECTION! 

Any coach who teaches your child a "RIGHT" way to do the scene is a bad coach! Any parent who does the same is JUST PLAIN WRONG. 

A child should practice being flexible with the material...NOT BEING RIGID! 

Some kids want to know a "right" way to perform a scene. 

If you have that kind of child, then get EXTRA coaching so the child knows THREE different "right" ways to do the scene.  Any good coach can sense this and give the child three different ways to do the scene.

They can then pick A, B or C when they are redirected...simple! So parents, to properly help your child, MAKE SURE YOU NEVER TEACH THEM TO DO IT "YOUR" WAY.

Give them some choices! 

And ALWAYS work with coaches that teach kids what is going on in a scene, rather than doing "line readings" and telling them to "SAY IT LIKE THIS". 

PARENTS AS COACHES: Some of our most successful kids out there are coached by their parents... That's not a surprise...many times the "coaches kid" becomes the star of FOOTBALL or BASKETBALL, or BASEBALL...why not acting?

 I've been talking with some of the Parents who do a KILLER JOB of coaching their kids and from that I've learned that parents who do a good job NEVER let their child find a "RIGHT" way to perform the scene, and ALWAYS encourage their child to have "CHOICES" so they are direct-able. 

For best results, though, unless you are an accomplished actor in your own right, or have directed theater or film, use a qualified coach from an industry referral, rather than trying to coach your child yourself.

Your child will thank you with much bigger success!

 To RECAP: 
1. Repetition makes the material familiar! 
2. Young actors should try different approaches to the material! 
3. Working OUT LOUD is the ONLY way to "own" the material.
4. Always get coaching for larger roles.
5. A good coach explains the emotional aspects of a scene. 
6. A good coach always gives a young actor choices. 
7. Parents can coach their own child if they are a qualified coach.

 All the best, 
Jack Turnbull 
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