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How to Select Your Best Teacher

or waste time and money

by: Carolyne Barry

The teachers you choose to train with will be a major influence in the development of your craft and thus will have a strong impact on your career. But so many actors choose teachers for the wrong reasons: either they select one who is less expensive, offering some kind of deal, located close to where they live, recommended by unqualified sources, they know actors in the class or ONLY because the teacher is or has been a casting director. These are not good reasons for such an important decision. Don’t be one of those reckless actors who wastes money and time going in the wrong direction. Be in control of your career and those you are assembling for your team.

To make your best choice(s), I suggest this plan:

  1. Research
  2. Audit
  3. Ask Questions
  4. Consider your Chemistry with the Teacher

Audit at least three candidates then make your selection of the teacher who can help make you the best you can be and the one you can see yourself staying with till you get everything you need- before moving on. For commercial classes it can be a few months and for acting it can be several years. CHOOSE WISELY.

DO YOU KNOW YOUR TYPE?
I believe one of the big mistakes many actors make is not being clear on their type (or as often referred to as a brand). Most believe that they “are actors and can play many roles”. In a majority of theatre productions, you can because of the distance between the actor and audience. But on-camera, which is more intimate, who you really are and what your look represents is obvious and there is usually no hiding behind character make-up and wardrobe.

Although it can be vital to your success, for booking commercials as well as theatrical work (especially when first starting a career), most don’t give determining their type the time needed to figure it out. When you know your type/brand: you can shoot headshots that better serve you, intelligently describe yourself to your representation, and submit yourself for roles that you have a better chance at getting. Knowing your type can be very important, but how do you determine what it is? It is not easy for most. You may need help from others because it is difficult to be objective about ourselves. Most actors tend to label themselves as more or less than how they choose to see themselves. That is why it is important to investigate.

During your investigation, you must honestly look at your:

  • Age
  • Physical Appearance
  • Personality Type
  • Essence

You might need assistance in labeling your type, so I suggest you put together a concise questionnaire using those four factors. Then question teachers, friends and some strangers. Strangers can often be more objective. Be sure them know that you need honesty. And you must accept what they say (with no comments from you) so they can be truthful.

It will probably take more than what I prescribe here but this is a good beginning. What you learn about yourself during this investigation into typing should be of great benefit to you personally and to your career. Have fun learning how others perceive you.

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