In this article, we discuss how acting coaches develop, assist, and equip actors of all levels with all they need to nail their drama school auditions, coaching them through the whole process, from the application process to building confidence to how to end the audition positively.
Getting into drama school is, beyond any doubt, nothing like a walk in the park, especially when you’re aiming for a prestigious drama school. There is so much to consider.
Actual audition aside, there are many other factors, such as monologue preparation, setting a proper flow, and the nerves to top it all off! Here is where acting coaches come in.
So, what exactly are “Acting Coaches?”
The complex world of drama and professional acting can be a brutal place if you have no proper direction, hence why many beginning actors look for the guidance and training of an adept actor and mentor. These trainers are known as acting coaches.
An acting coach helps refine and mould your position and provides you assurance with the best possible way to handle a role. They essentially act as another set of eyes on your performance.
But to begin with, you ought to have an initial practised performance or a routine, not just go in with a blank canvas. Acting coaches are not meant to be represented as acting “teachers”. You’ll find such teachers at drama schools.
Now that we have the basics out of the way...
Here are eight ways how acting coaches help with drama school auditions
1. Aid Actors in Overpowering Mental Blocks
Whenever actors encounter self-distrust or gloomy looping thoughts that leave them mentally drained—the sort that makes them wish they could just bring their thoughts to a close and let everything go—they’re potentially experiencing a mental block.
Mental blocks can be evident. It sometimes feels like the answer is right at the tip of your tongue, but something is stopping you from saying it out loud.
A thoughtful and rational acting coach can share the actor’s stance on the mental block and can help them see the bigger picture more clearly and evaluate different alternatives that can help loosen the tension-filled mind.
Finding the right fit calls for balance. That being the case, acting coaches will encourage you to check yourself for judging blunders. This means they will help find specific areas in your performance that may be a trigger to the blocks in the first place.
Once you find the cause, they will aid in studying your negative thinking habits and replace them with more beneficial and practical ways to think that push your comfort zone but do not step over any boundaries.
2. Ingrain Unshakable Confidence
In theatre, everyone experiences self-doubt, especially when preparing for their first drama school audition, and they are not yet confident in their acting ability. Without having confidence in themselves, actors face dull auditions or, worse, might even start to question their talent for drama.
But there are some tips only acting coaches can give that help move past those embarrassing moments quickly, so your nervousness goes unseen. Utilising their seasoned skills and expertise, acting coaches create a safe space and environment for their pupils to be as equipped as possible.
Some acting coaches organise group sessions where they will bring about exercises that break down your self-consciousness. They will include mock auditions with a panel that will help you get used to everything, and you’ll ultimately find that the things you were insecure about weren’t that flawed after all.
On another note, your confidence is also closely related to how you perceive and handle your mental blocks. So when a coach successfully aids with clearing out the block, you’d feel less anxious and less likely to mess up due to a lack of confidence.
3. Select and Improve Your Monologues
Monologues are one of the highest forms of dramatic presentation. You’ve passed the first round in auditions when you know you nailed your monologues, delivering them with skill, preciseness, and devotion.
Most drama schools ask that you memorise 2 to 3 monologues, with at least one being a Shakespeare or other specific classical piece. In contrast, some drama schools are a little more flexible and ask you to choose and prepare a monologue by yourself. Well, the latter may seem like the easier one out of the two, but it isn’t!
You would probably look for the most emotionally subtle monologues ever written to stand out, hoping they make a good enough impression. However, they seldom do.
Acting coaches discern what speech best fits you. They will help you find the perfect monologue you can not only deliver but add to the existing expressions as if they were your own.
If the drama school you’re auditioning for has already set the monologues, your acting coach will help bring your individuality to the act. They will give you that extra push to catch the panel’s eye and excite them about your performance.
4. Know What to Expect in the audition
It is vital to make good mind maps and notes of the potential school(s) you’ll be auditioning at, like who will be conducting the audition, panellists, location, how to interact with your peers, and so much more.
Acting coaches have enough experience to precisely know what to expect when it comes to drama school auditions. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do research of your own.
Your acting coach will guide you on how to respond to the interviewers’ different scenarios. The panellists may ask you to perform in a designated or random group or may just call you in for a one-on-one audition in a separate room. Your coach’s job is to equip you using every possible strategy to be prepared for anything coming your way.
You might not think of this as something important, but how you dress also says a lot about you in the audition. You can also ask your coach for guidance on appropriate attire that may best suit the role and monologue you’d be auditioning in.
You’ll be able to feel content in knowing that you are better prepared than most.
5. Craft Your Audition Flow
A strong audition (and performance, for that case) has a purpose that drives the enactment forward at its core. It is crucial that the purpose you pick lures you to achieve success. If it doesn’t, it won’t affect or interest the audience and panel watching you.
Your purpose can be closely related to your subconscious construct. That is why there is a need to frame the flow of your audition in such a way that it neither seems over the top nor too simple.
Acting coaches ensure you don’t face difficulties while organising your set and aid in making your flow as authentic and consistent as possible. They always want to make it your strength rather than for it to become something that holds you down.
Your coach will introduce you to exercises to help you see the bigger picture, from rooted breathing to changing your emotion smoothly.
It helps to get an opinion from another person who has worked in the acting field and can give the most efficient and consistent advice. Not only will their tips be helpful for the auditions, but also other aspects of life. Flow is me! (Pun intended)
6. Help Make Smart Choices
Auditioning for drama schools is a gamble, and with higher competition, you surely can’t win without making a bet. You have to show the people in the room that everything you can offer is more thrilling than your competition, which is why the judgments you make must come from the most intriguing parts of your soul, body, and sense.
Acting coaches can help you understand the choices necessary to nail your audition. They encourage focusing on the main objective and the best gauge to secure the risk placed within the audition room, then make bold, thoughtful, and unique selections, whether it is related to the role itself or anything outside acting that will affect your audition.
Suppose you haven’t already narrowed down what schools you’ll be auditioning for. In that case, some acting coaches even lend a hand in deciding which drama schools would best suit your personality and convenience.
Two heads are always more helpful than one. Having another experienced eye cooperate with you on the school’s audition can help you find things about the audition itself and the rules you may ignore if you trained for the audition alone.
7. Get Rid of the Bad Habits and Setting the Right Mind-set
All individuals develop bad habits at some point in their lives that seriously need to be worked on. Actors are no different. Such individuals construct their own glass ceilings to a certain extent, restricting their success and contributions.
Eventually, these bad habits become a driving factor that disrupts the actor’s mind-set. Late renowned actress and acting teacher Stella Adler once said,
“The actor has to develop his body. The actor has to work on his voice. But the most important thing the actor has to work on is his mind.”
The bad habits, in this case, are related to acting itself. These include exaggerated eyebrow acting (yes, that’s a thing, and yes, we looked it up), excessive sighing, being stuck on an intonation, not pronouncing particular words clearly, speaking too fast or slow, etc. These are all issues a professional acting coach can help to correct.
Acting coaches will help you identify and understand the self-sabotaging manners that hold you back and uncover what you must set in place. They will assist in altering your habits and behaviours and help in creating strong and more stimulating mind-sets that support your talent.
Performing at this depth will tie you to what is influential to you about being an actor, letting your authentic potential glow. In the end, you’ll feel much more ready for your audition.
8. Help make valuable connections
Okay, so this final one may not directly help you with your drama school auditions per se. Still, many acting coaches offer benefits to some of their most promising students that they can avail themselves of outside their coaching sessions.
Making connections with casting directors, agents, executives, other actors, and like-minded experts in the field is only one of the many benefits.
Knowing people in the acting industry gives you the advantage about what is transpiring inside. We don’t mean the juicy details, but rather the things you can work to your advantage at school.
Once you’ve hopefully been accepted to your dream drama school, these connections will come in handy as you can explore a much broader career path with drama, learn about the industry, and gain experience in teamwork with extra opportunities.
The connections themselves do not imply talking to the most well-known individual at a party; more significantly, it is about how you steer yourself at one.
Well, there you have it. Eight ways on how acting coaches help with drama school auditions. If you look deeper, you’d see that most of the points discussed above apply to almost all scenarios, in and out of the drama world.
Ultimately, the final goal of an audition coach will be to provide a naturally growing foundation for your skills that will let you go to the audition room as your best genuine self. They want to help you produce the most captivating piece, so you get the best possible opportunity of gaining drama school success.
For some, it may take months to feel confident enough to audition. While for others, it may just take a few weeks. Either way, it is highly doubtful you will get immediately accepted. There are recalls and shortlisting that narrow down the best of the best.
This is why it would be best if you began looking for a suitable acting coach to train and have a competitive edge a few months before you are set to audition. All the very best from us!