Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"natural presence"

Something one has to live with as a coach is just about everyone else getting credit for our work.

No doubt about it -- those skaters are out there on the ice skating, not the coach. The pitcher is out there on the pitcher's mound throwing the ball, not the coach. The actor is out there auditioning and performing, not the coach.

Recently, however, someone gave credit for someone's "natural presence" that was actually born and raised right here in my studio. Lots of that happens here. That's the point of having a coach and why people pay me their hard-earned money; why people dedicate themselves and work so hard.

Granted there are the few who actually do have that core natural presence when they walk in, but in many cases, it needs to be fluffed and puffed and directed or re-directed to make it kick ass a mile away.

Occasionally, however, it's nice to have the "natural ambiance, presence, performance, etc.," work recognized as being born, bred and nurtured by a coach who spends hours helping folks tap into their talent, into their confidence to release the many colors in their aura so it can be broadcast for miles away.

One actress, who is doing fantastically now, came to me when she could barely speak at all, and when she did she whispered. She was so extraordinarily quiet, reserved and constricted.

Today? Um, you'd never believe the girl was *ever* remotely shy, quiet or uncommunicative. We tapped into her soul, her talent, her confidence! She has continued to work, allowing all her inner and outer beauty shine and mushroom!

Something else coaches live with: when it comes time for our coachees to accept awards, 99 times out of 100, the thank-you's go to just about everyone else except the coach. The production assistants, family dog, ex-spouses, kindergarten play supervisors, hand puppets and craft services (food servers) are more apt to get mentioned.

At first I was shocked .. I was there - from helping to create the character, the character's voice, the character's accent and movement to the character's last breath on the set.

But the thank-you's went to everyone from Charles Dickens's nephew to the focus puller (someone who turns the camera lens to keep things in focus).

Does the director of photography feel the same way? I've often wondered. She or he is the reason the character looked the winning way s/he did, but .. no mention.

The make-up artist responsible for those buck teeth that simply "made" that character? No mention.

I've actually known actors who don't want to admit they even work with a coach!

Or actors who have done well and never even said "thank you, CP!"

But you know what? The truly great actors do! Listen to Halle Berry, Helen Hunt, Renee Zelwegger or Charlize Theron! They talk about their coaches and thank them!

I think I'll pass out a questionnaire to all my actors: When you win all those fantastic acting awards because of my coaching do you plan on thanking me? Like in public?

OK, I *could.* But when it comes time up there on the podium ... they'll just forget ..

I think it's just one of those secrets that remains between God (Great Spirit, Great Mystery, Allah, whoever), coachees and us coaches. :-)


To be fair, there are those wonderful, wonderful people with whom I work and have worked who thank me and talk about me all the time in interviews and auditions. There's one particular actress who is doing so well - I'm so proud of her; she mentions me to everyone she encounters in the industry, crediting me with her success.

When I'm asked about her? I only say it's her artistry, devotion and hard work that are putting her in that rarified air where she is getting so many opportunities.

And that's the truth, too.

What a winning, mutually admiring team.

I guess, thanked or not, I *love* my work!

But wow, does it feel good to hear, "Thanks, CP! Couldn't do it without ya!" ;-)


  • At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Agnes said…

    Colleen? Colleen who? um nope never met her, never heard of her LMAO!!! I recognized so many things in this blog ;) planning to put it up on my personal space if you don't mind :) U rock Cp!!!! xo, ag :)

  • At 11:11 PM, Blogger cp said…

    Mind? Mind? Are you kidding? Go for it! Thanks!


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