Vulnerability, Rejection & Acting Coaches…Oh My!

Vulnerability & Rejection.  These 2 words represent running themes that you, as an actor, experience regularly throughout your acting career.

acting coach

Here's the million dollar question….

How can you be expected to be vulnerable so you can give your best audition or performance, when you are also dealing with rejection and judgment?  This is the conundrum we will tackle in this VLOG.

In your acting career, there are several areas where you have to deal with rejection/judgment and vulnerability at the same exact moment in time.

An audition is a perfect example of this.  In order to truly give a robust, rich, kick-ass audition, you MUST MUST MUST allow yourself to be vulnerable as an actor.

The Formula For A Great Audition Or Performance

The more vulnerable you are, the more creative truth you can access.
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The more creative truth you can access, the better your audition or performance is.

The better your audition or performance is, the better your chances at avoiding rejection.

Make sense?

What Happens Before?

However, before you even get into the audition room so you have the chance to BE VULNERABLE and give a kick-ass audition, there is one place you need to do it first.

One place that will absolutely lay the foundation for your success as an actor.

One place that you MUST MUST MUST feel absolutely safe and confident that you can be you…all of YOU

One place that you can be the most vulnerable YOU, so that you can create like a master.

What is that place?

Acting class.

The Vulnernability-Rejection-Acting Coaches Conundrum

But here's the rub
, if you have not chosen your acting coach or acting teacher wisely, this sacred place can turn into a place where instead of thriving, you're trying to survive.  And you can't build your creative acting skills on a foundation of survival tactics… At least not if you want a long and successful acting career.

So how do you choose an acting coach or acting teacher who can make you grow and flourish as an actor instead of whither and die on the vine?

I thought you'd never ask.  ;-)


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Now you know exactly what to focus on and what to avoid when looking for the best acting coach.

Your turn! Do you have a great method for choosing acting coach? How did you choose yours?  Please share it in the comments below :-)

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Amy Jo Berman - Acting Coach
Amy Jo Berman's Tips On Acting & Auditioning Blog
Email: Asst@AmyJoBerman.com

“I show actors how to be better, book more jobs and live The Red Carpet life!”

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23 Responses

  1. New Dayve says:

    I found Wendy Davis’ Acting Game Pro to be the best/most informative class I’ve ever taken in terms of being given a step-by-step method to break down/prepare a scene for an audition (or a shoot, for that matter.) Not an acting class w/ a capital “A” per se, but really good nuts & bolts technical training.

  2. Howard Fine makes me feel both safe and challenged. Its all based on Uta Hagen’s steps for creating a character, and something that allows me to feel vulnerable in every scene and class in a really logical human way. Howard Fine is definitely my go to guy here in LA

  3. Paul Mauriello says:

    I’m partial to Victor Cruz when he does classes. Heidi Marshall also.

  4. monie lee Perez says:

    Even more encouragement and advice. Right now, I am studying with Paul Tinder and Vaughn Taylor. They are such a fun fit for me. Honest, silly, and very encouraging. Thank you AJB for sharing your expertise.

  5. Lisa Sherman Brave says:

    I love my Acting teacher, Andi Matheny. She is just the right combination of challenge and safety to help you reach your vulnerability, and her insight is tremendous when working on scenes. She is able to express what you might know or feel but can’t put into word or action, and her expression helps you reach for places you didn’t think of before.

  6. When it comes to finding an acting teacher.. I talk to other actors and also go by my intuition when I talk to a perspective teacher. I decide whether it is right for me or not. Also whether the acting coach can help me or hinder me. Once I get to LA Anthony Meindl is my choice plus a couple of others I came across. Depends but Anthony to start.

  7. Angela White says:

    Great advice Amy !! Having a Great Teacher in a class where one can feel safe, comfortable to be vulnerable and be challenged to improve is always good. I’ve learned and practiced a few techniques over the years from Harold Guskin to Meisner to Stanislavsky. Each coach seems to have their own method, but I like to combine different aspects from each and use them when needed. Thanks again Amy !!

  8. Ava Brock says:

    Robb Maus and Marco DiGeorge with Truthful Acting Studios in Orlando, FL are the acting teachers who have made me the artist I am today. And not only a better actor but a better person. I am currently in Part III in the Meisner Master Program and continue to love every moment I am in class. I have learned it is extremely important to be safe in my vulnerability and from that vulnerability the exhilaration of creativity. Chris Greene is also a master of Working on Camera Technique and pointing out the key things for actors to know and remember when acting on camera. They are the best mentors I have ever had.

  9. Lucas Jackson says:

    Lenard Petit, Kevin Kittle and Barbara Marchant were my favorite acting teachers. All gave me a different gift both acting wise and about myself as a person.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Such a great message Amy. Most teachers will let you audit their class for free or hold open class intros at studios like The Network or One On One. That is what I did for several months until I found Matthew Corozine, the founder of MCS here in NYC. He is a Meisner teacher who also blends in elements of other techniques at times. He speaks to me on such a deep level that I thought he was psychic at times. We respect each other and I am never as vulnerable as I am within the four walls of his studio. I also deeply value the sense of community which he has fostered in his studio. If you are not completely satisfied & challenged- keep looking!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Such a great message! Most acting studios or coaches will let you audit a class for free. Some even hold open classes at places like The Network or One On One – that is what I did for several months. I am now a loyal student of Matthew Corozine, the founder of MCS in NYC. He is a Meisner based teacher, but also blends in techniques from other methods. He spoke to my heart and had this psychic feel for who I am as a person. I am never most vulnerable as in his studio.

  12. Erica Maureen Wilens says:

    I live in Chicago and recently worked with Susan Payne at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (Roosevelt University). She directed a very dramatic opera I was in that required all four characters to be completely vulnerable in order to avoid that cheesy, melodramatic-overacting that is often associated with opera. Susan created a wonderfully safe place in which we were comfortable enough to connect to our characters and bring real raw emotions to the stage. In the early rehearsal stages we often couldn’t even sing because we were crying our eyes out, but that made the experience so much better. By performance time, we were able to still get in touch with our vulnerability while still keeping it together enough to sing well. The greatest part was even though we’d just spent an hour crying, we would leave rehearsals feeling fantastic! I thanked Susan for this experience because without her, I have no idea how we would have managed to perform this show.

  13. jesr says:

    I enjoyed the tip and I can witness to this first hand,,, currently in a play production there have been moments for me like this.. so I try to remember I am of value and I am at this time and place for a reason.. and I give what I have .. and it is getting better…. I had an acting class once with Jordan Beswick and it was so far my best experience because he challenged me all the time and opened me up to so much.. he told us there are 3 things we have to be able to do on call.. really cry hard, yell or scream as hard as we can, and and laugh uncontrollably hard…. and to see how much trouble some people had with that was amazing.. and letting go of all the rules and walls either society or parents have indoctrinated us with for years… freeing us.. it was a good class..

  14. Renato Vettore says:

    I have say that my favourite acting coach was Gale Zoe Garnett. from Toronto, back in the mid 90’s. The reason I choose her, is because she was the one who inspired me and told me I could be a great character actor. More recently I had been studying with another coach, who seemed to work well for me, until I had, what I interpreted as unprofessional, disrespectful behavior to me as well as some of my co-actors. I have say I sincerely enjoyed the class, but could not continue due to coach/student relationship. I now find myself looking out of my city for the type of coaching that works for me. Our workshops stressed that “community” is one of the most important things that is needed within an “acting community”, which means basically supporting & helping each other as actors, and making sure that when an actor takes a “Detour” that someone in the acting community is there to bring them back to the love of acting. Unfortunately I did not experience this so called “community” and had to take my own measures to insure I moved forward. Amy I think your video is very important and I thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Its too easy to make a mistake in this very important decision an actor must make..

  15. IAM says:

    Christiane Hirt…best teacher ever!

  16. Jiji Hise says:

    This is actually very good advice. I once took an acting workshop with a local actress that I had heard some many people saying that she was one of the best acting coaches in town. However, I just did not feel comfortable with her as a teacher. Something about her style just didn’t feel right to me. So I never took any of her classes again. That doesn’t mean that she isn’t right for other actors, she just wasn’t right for me. On the other hand, there is an Actress, named LeeAnn Powers, whom I have been taking classes from off and on for the last 5 or more years. Anytime she is in town offering a class, I jump on the opportunity to work with her some more. I even call her, pretty much every time I have an audition, and just after an audition to tell her how it went. However, she actually does work a lot herself. So she doesn’t always have time to schedule workshops and classes. Also, when she does have classes and workshops, they are super affordable, and I recommend her to everyone of my acting friends.

  17. Solomon Dudley says:

    I study with Gray Studios in LA!!

  18. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    This is sooo true! My coach in Hawai’i was Wayne Ward, retired actor, & he made everyone feel safe in the emotional scenes but pushed us to dig just a wee bit deeper to “kick it up a notch”.
    My other fave “coach” is you! I haven’t had a chance to work with you personally yet but all the info & insights I’ve gained from your webinars, vlogs & other postings has really deepened my knowledge & commitment to my career.

  19. Wilfried Capet says:

    I love Sanford Meisner. He said something that I think it’s beautiful – “Go out there and do all kind of things, all kind of plays weither they’re right for you or not right for you because eventually Time and You will catch up with each other ” .I am currently watching tons of videos of him – I have bought different acting books as well like Stella Adler, Lee strasberg and Stanislaski. Nice!!! :)

    • Talya Price says:

      I have studied Meisner and I love his technique and his approach to acting. It works well with me. There is a place in London called The Actors Temple. I am in love with this school and I am trying very hard to get the funds to attend this school, because I know that is where I need to be if I want to become the actor that I want to be. I just hope that when I do get the fund (if I get the funds) that it wont be too late for me.

      • Amy Matthews says:

        I’m currently on the two year course at The Actor’s Temple. I cannot recommend this training enough! Having been to E15 Acting school some time ago, the difference in training are mountains apart. The Meisner technique is a step by step guide and I’m tappping in to deep emotions I never knew I had. I always stuggled to find real emotion when I was acting but this definitly works for me! I hope to see you in rep one day :) Amy

  20. Danny Wiseman says:

    I just can’t say enough about this advice! Finding a safe place to be vulnerable has ABSOLUTELY opened my creativity and my palate of possibilities! I work with Sean Folster at Craft Gym Actors Workshop (on fb as craftgymnyc) and LOVE IT. Sean’s approach is that all the great approaches are valid – to be used as a craftsman uses different tools for different jobs. No pressure to follow one path, no breaking you down to start over — just an honest workshop to allow everyone (at his own pace) to learn the techniques that work for himself.

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