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

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Times change, so do walls

My transition to a feature film writer-director-producer has changed my coaching practice immensely - I don't have time to coach any longer.

There are precious few people I'm coaching now. They've been working with me a very long time and their schedules still permit me to see them.

Folks coming to my house for many years have enjoyed my Wall of Fame - headshots of dozens of actors with whom I've worked have hung in my hallway.

They've recently been taken down, and the entire hallway's been painted a fine white, which really brightens up the place.

The reason I coached actors for camera work started out as something I was asked to do and I also needed camera-trained actors to appear in my films. I loved watching so many people grow and blossom as people and as performers.

Over the years I've worked with hundreds of people - being coached is a much different experience than being in a class. Much more challenging, harder work and there is the need to be professional, to be a self-starter, to come in prepared and ready to work - or figure out how to create a system of preparation that would if not guarantee success, at least positively work toward it.

I got the idea from Rob Reiner and other directors who started out as acting coaches because it gives us the opportunity to help actors achieve their performing and career goals. It also helps us sharpen our directing chops with every conceivable type of actor at every conceivable level of training, experience and career aspirations.

It takes so much dedication, work and savvy to keep at it, many decide they'd rather not put themselves in the race.

What I discovered that has cost more of them a career than anything: the lack of understanding who they honestly are and what they honestly want, and the lack of a plan. A genuine plan based on reality. I recommend every artist create a business plan, or their chances of becoming professional lessen greatly.

Of course in order to create the business plan they must understant who they are, what they want and what is needed to succeed, one step at a time -- most importantly, on their own terms. If you want to know what makes you stand out - it's the real you. That's what we want. That's what we need.

Not another cardboard cutout of an actor.

You can detect the outstanding performers every time. They have a clear sense of themselves.

So many changes are taking place in my life, my environment is reflecting that process. Streamlining, fluffing and primping, enabling me to do everything I can in the best way possible. It's energizing and comforting.

Since I'm doing it in increments, it's not shocking or weird. It feels just right. Yep. Just right.

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