“Coaching” your own child for auditions…is there a way to help prepare without ruining their chances?

Dear Parents,

Today, I had a parent who was discussing getting coaching
for their child, and they didn’t know about my “preparing
your child for coaching” messages…so here’s a reminder…

This message is so important to ALL PARENTS so if you know
of parents in the business who don’t get our messages,
find a way to get them to read this.

Parents who “overcoach” their kids hurt all parents in the
industry.

It makes Casting suspect that parents are in this for the
wrong reasons, so if you can somehow help educate others
about how parents can help their child succeed, then
we have made a little difference!

Here’s the message: If you have suggestions for this message,
then send to actorsite.support@gmail.com

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The parent as “ACTING COACH”!
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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…and 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 your child for coaching…

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 undirectable.

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.

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 SLOWER.

MESSAGE CONTINUED BELOW…

20, 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 the practice with a
parent where they want to do their “silly” voices or do it odd
and weird ways.

GREAT! 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” everytime, I would encourage that parent to
find a different career for that child…that child is
not directable 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”.

And 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” rythm 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 DIRECTABLE!

What is OVERCOACHING? Overcoaching 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 “overcoached”, 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.

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…but 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 directable.

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.
Otherwise, just be a “practice partner” and let a coach do the work!

All the best,

Jack Turnbull
Actorsite.com