So let's say that you're a typical actor living in Los Angeles (or almost anywhere for that matter). You've probably got an apartment that comes with a few roommates to save on costs. You've probably got a smallish, gas efficient-ish car with 120k plus miles on it. You may have a cat or dog. You probably are taking an acting class, are looking for or have an agent or manager who wants you to get new headshots. You have your car trunk full of different clothing just in case you get an audition. I've not even mentioned your costs for insurance, food, and all the other bills you have to pay... And you HAVE to pay for all of this somehow.
You probably have a day job to take care of these things, and money is tight because the kind of job you can get needs to be flexible so you can leave for auditions and eventually become a full-time working actor.
How can you land a top-notch dialect coach when your funds are this stretched?
This is a question that I get asked almost more than any other. The good news is that because your friendly neighborhood dialect coach exists to help actors book more work, we tend to have lots of options to make it easier for actors who want more work to train with us! No matter what, a dialect coach who has the heart of a teacher will want to help you out, and will probably have lots of ways to be flexible. Here are a few things to look out for...
1) Find an Acting Studio that has a Resident Dialect Coach.
A good acting studio will have resources to point their actors towards, but the best studios will have a dialect coach in-house who can do dialect classes, dialect work scene study, and coach the actors there one-on-one. These offerings will often cost a similar amount to your acting classes, but you will probably save anywhere from 50-80% over private lessons. Two recommendations I have are Elysium Conservatory Theatre (www.fearlessartists.com/training) and the Andrew Wood Acting Studio (www.andrewwoodla.com). You may find ways to get discounts by getting a group of friends to sign up with you, or by offering to assist the coach in setup for classes... get creative!!!
2) Find a Dialect Coach Who Offers Online Coaching.
In this day and age of technological marvels, there is often less of a need for expensive in-person coaching. That is not to say that there are not times when in-person coaching is best, but we can alleviate a lot of time and cost for our clients by coaching online via offerings like Skype, Zoom, and other similar tools. If your time is money, how much of it can you save by simplifying the scheduling process as well as by taking away the need to sit in traffic (especially in LA) to get to your dialect coach?
Some dialect coaches (like the one writing this) will often offer lower pricing for online coaching, and for the purchase of multiple sessions in a package! Also (again!) think about getting a group of friends to take lessons with a coach together. Most coaches will agree to take less per person and you can still be coached online with up to 6 or more of your friends!
3) Find a Dialect Coach Who Offers a Sliding Scale for Pricing.
Every Dialect Coach prices his or her services differently and the prices often vary wildly. If you do your research correctly, you can find a Dialect Coach who has a method to make it easier for what I call blue collar actors to get the kind of training they need to be successful at the highest levels in the industry.
If you'd like to hear more, contact me, and let me tell you about how I can help!!
4) Find a Dialect Coach Who Really Cares About Your Success!
Aside from the other items in this post, this is perhaps the most important thing to focus on. In life, the value something brings often outweighs its price. Your Dialect Coach should be no different.
One of the things I pride myself on as a Dialect Coach (and I tell every client I have this same thing) is that I will be one of the only people in this business who cares as much about your success as you do! My job as a Dialect Coach is to help you book more work and move up in the industry. If I only cared about throwing some information your way or only helping to get you "kind of" ready for that next audition, I would be doing all of us a disservice.
Bottom line: Be sure to put in the same level of work in getting to know your Dialect Coach as you do your acting teachers or agents and managers. They will be a valuable asset to your career, and if they are good, they'll really care about your success and growth. I love investing in actors who want to invest in themselves!!!
Anyway... Those are my thoughts!