Someone has offered you a chance to make your dreams come true. And they are telling you that with a lot of hard work and dedication and persistence, you can be the actor you have always dreamed of being. And they're not just promising you the moon and the stars, or some swampland in the middle of Florida. They are being up front and direct and letting you know that you have a hard road ahead of you to travel to get to where you want to be. And they are assuring you that YOU can do it and that they will help you get there.

Doesn't sound like a bad proposition, now does it? But have you taken the time to see if they can really do what they say they can do? Like with anything else you decide to invest in, you need to take the time to research, research, research! There are numerous acting coaches popping up all over Louisiana these days. Some have actually been around for quite some time (meaning more than a couple of years) and some have just opened up shop. And just because someone has been around a long(er) time does not necessarily mean that they are better than the new acting coaches, nor vice versa! If you are serious about learning the craft of acting, you should research as many of these coaches as you possibly can to find the right one for you. See if any of them allow you to audit a class so that you can see how they work and what they teach before you hand over your hard earned money (not to mention your dreams) to them. And if nothing else, talk to them about their process of teaching as well as their process of acting.

It is a glorious feeling when you are finally making headway down the road to your dreams and it's amazing to finally find someone who believes in your dreams enough to help you get there. Just beware. You need to make sure that you are getting what you really need in order to become the finely tuned instrument that successful actors need to be.

If you are studying or want to study acting, it is because there is something you feel you should learn in order to become an actor. The same goes for any and all professions and crafts; if someone else can learn how to do it, you can, too. And once you've decided that you want to learn how to act, you need to start from the beginning like everyone else in every other profession does. You need a tool box. You need techniques that will help you "create believable behavior in imaginary circumstances," as acting coach Aaron Speiser so eloquently describes acting, BEFORE you go on to do scene work. Below are a few techniques. See if you recognize any of them. If you don't, then you are missing some of the tools in your tool box.

Fourth Wall

Sense Memory

Emotional Memory

Substitution

Endowment

Now, different schools of acting may give these five basic techniques different labels, so if you know what these are but refer to them by a different name, you are in good shape. If you don't know what these things are, you should find a coach who can teach these techniques to you.

They say once you know the rules, you can then go about breaking them. Well, here is where we can break the rules. Once a veteran actor has learned these techniques and knows how to apply them, oftentimes, he or she does not need to rely upon them anymore. Creating a fourth wall becomes second nature to them so they do not have to take the time to purposefully extend their imaginary world. They automatically do it. The same goes for endowment and some of the other techniques. The techniques are there to assist you and your imagination for when your imagination is either not ready or unable to go on autopilot.

In addition to finding out what a particular coach has to offer, you need to know what he or she has done, have they worked recently, do they understand what is required of actors in the film industry OR in theater these days, where they have trained, what working actors have studied with them, and what type of methodology they are teaching (and whether or not it is a fusion of various methodologies).

One last thought on acting: Acting is a physical and mental skill like any other physical and mental skill. Acting, like driving a car, requires that you learn the basic techniques and keep practicing until it feels like second nature. When you first started driving, do you remember how difficult it was to check all the mirrors, gauge your speed, pay attention to the cars around you AND figure out all the street signs, simply to get from one place to another? That is exactly how acting is. There are quite a few techniques that assist you in getting from the beginning of a scene to the end of a scene. And once you take complete ownership of all these techniques, you can forget about worrying about them. It’s like driving a car - you perform all those tasks without giving it a second thought. And with enough practice, that is how acting will be.