Great Coaches Don’t Speak Much

Saturday 7th September 2013

Last week I was filming my first role in a full length feature film at Ealing Studios. I knew the set would be very different from the sets on the low budget short films I had appeared in, and so I was a bit apprehensive. Whenever you do anything new it is normal to have a few butterflies, even if you are a confidence coach.

The set was very different, as I expected. So many people, all talking at the same time, and only interested in their own job. Actors just get in the way of their wonderful lighting, cables, and cameras. And not just one Director either, but 4 Assistant Directors as well, all with their own views as to how the actor should play their part. Information overload, especially for a rookie like me.

Film roles are generally not rehearsed, other than a quick run through on the day, so there is a lot for an actor to think about. Hitting your marks, remembering your lines, being aware of what the other actors are doing, and the small matter of being totally natural and relaxed in front of the cameras.

That is more than enough information to process for anybody, without the directors adding more detail. And so they don’t. They know you can act. This comes from the many hours of preparation and training. They only want to get the best performance from you on the day, and so just whisper one simple point for you to think about before the red light comes on. Perhaps about posture, timing of a line, or a tiny eye movement. Guess what? It works.

It works for anything. Try it with one of your projects. Identify a single issue to focus on during your interview, presentation, golf round, or football match. It helps to clear the mind. Even better, write this down on a slip of paper and put it in your pocket (never let it fade away..). You don’t even need to read it. Just knowing it is there, consciously and unconsciously, is more than enough.

Let me know how you get on. Oh, I almost forgot, the food on the set was brilliant!