opinion-Coaching & Value for Money #3

After a recent group workshop I knew that I wanted another class, but this time:

  1. I wanted it to be focused toward intermediate or advanced students only.
  2. It needed a limited number of students. My first was too large and I didn’t spend as much mic time as I would have liked. That course started with 18 students the first day. The second day, we lost 6 and it was down to 12, but that was still a lot.
  3. I wanted a specific genre, in this case, Commercial. I wanted to focus one one type of material.
  4. I wanted a coach with a different expertise and focus. My first coach was great! Her main focus was in animation and audio books. Time for a shift.

I found a 4 day workshop, once  week for a month, with a hugely experienced VO actor who been solidly working in the business for over 20 years. She was also an experienced coach and had been doing that for years as well.

This course cost $289. Remember, the topic of these posts is Value for Money.

So day 1, I arrive 20 minutes early. It’s in a very established educational & networking studio for professional actors. I am the 1st one there. 10 minutes later, another student arrives, and we wait. The other 7 students and the teacher arrive anywhere from 2 minutes before the class time, to 45 minutes LATE, after the start time.

Aside from the student 45 minutes late, more than half of our class arrived after the appointed start time.

Value for Money. BE ON TIME No, be EARLY.

  • One thing about living in NYC specifically, is our public transportation. Everyone uses it. It’s a daily responsibility to take into account the fact that trains get delayed CONSTANTLY.
  • Everyone I know takes that into account before they leave the house. Your boss does not care if you’re late due to a train delay. You’re just late, period. That’s what employers, classes, and studios care about.
  • Always leave home with time to account for missed trains, slow trains, traffic jams, gas fill ups, etc. Studio time costs money. People’s time costs money. We all have things to do, places to be, etc.
  • Don’t shorten the amount of work time you get to have, and others get as well, by being late.
  • Show respect for others by being on time and ready work, and showing them that by doing so, you respect them, their time, and their opportunity to work, and all the other things they have to do in the day.

Is this turning into a rant? Sorry; not my intent. I will say this:

50% of success is just showing up

  1. On time
  2. Prepared
  3. Ready to work

Moving on. There were nine students. We were each assigned one piece of copy to read during the class. So, about 3 different reads per person.

We all did our thing, had feedback from the coach as well as some from our peers, did a 2nd or 3rd take, and we were done. 5 minutes, usually, or less on the mic.

With only a couple exceptions, everyone in class had some experience. Some had been working for a while, some sporadically, some never, but had an idea.

The woman who was 45 minutes late( We’ll call her Eve) knew the coach, had perhaps attended another workshop, but didn’t return for the rest of the month.

Remember in the last post, I mentioned not “hitting above your weight”?

Eve had a reading disability. Her eye-brain-mouth coordination substituted words from other sections of the copy, and sometimes changed whole segments of the text to try to fix those substitutions. The copy made no sense at all.

I sat there wondering if she was aware of it, but when she finished, the coach didn’t mention it nor did she. She did 2 more reads, again with feedback from the coach, but not addressing the issue. A  fellow student brought it up in a very supportive, helpful and empathetic way, and Eve took the note well, but it was apparent she was discouraged and embarrassed. She finished the first class, but never returned.

This is an example of Value for Money. Eve signed up for an intermediate/advanced class. She had a good voice, but through no fault of her own, she had challenges. A 1on1 coaching would have been able to help address that. And certainly working with a speech professional. She spent $289, missed almost half of the 1st class because she didn’t give herself (and the trains) enough time, and her performance shook her enough that she didn’t attend any further classes. It was super, super sad.

This thread is a lot richer in examples than I originally intended. I didn’t even intend to write about Eve. She is a great example though, of how important it can be to show up on time, know your strengths and weaknesses, and know what you want from the class, students, and teacher, and to spend your money and your time wisely.

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