Mike Vaughn Communications Coaching

Mike Vaughn Communications Coaching

5.0 (4)
38 years in business

About this pro

I have been in the entertainment/communications business for over forty years. I have a very welcoming, relaxing, and playful yet serious way of collaborating with, and supporting my students.

My over twenty years of working with middle, high school and college students have helped keep my approach easy-going, and clear in my instructions.

I desire to help the student build their confidence in an authentic way: through understanding and command of language, message, and character.

I really enjoy teaching; it is my vocation and passion. I love being with students as they discover, take risks, set goals, and make breakthroughs in their work. I find the creative process to be thrilling, and deeply rewarding. I love stories, and drama. I find it to be very exciting when students become allies of their characters, and make the playwright’s language, “their own”.  

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Berkeley, CA 94705
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4 Reviews


  • Gabriel Angelo

    Mike is a remarkable human being. As a teacher, he takes teaching to a new level of adventure and achievement. Definitely an inspiration for my own goals in live.

  • Nate Steckel

    He's very nice, encouraging, and helpful. He really makes the workspace a positive and welcoming place to be.

  • Nigel Zap

    Mike has been so supportive and encouraging with me. He helps me to understand media, and put my ideas into action.

  • Sam Bradley

    I've worked with Mike for 3 years, and he is a great mentor and helped me learn alot


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I have a formal teaching background, and a collaborative style. I listen to the student, and find out what their specific goals are. In working with actors, I work with them on breaking down the text, and finding the right approach to exploring the intention and reasoning of the characters. We do this by exploring the use of language, subtext, rhythm, and action of the script. I also help with voice/speech and style of communications. 

In working with students on solo work/auditions, we focus on the connection actors have to their character, body, and voice/speech. And, also work on the professional attitude and techniques for auditions. In working in scenes, I work with actors to develop grounded authentic connections with one another. Also, I help actors keep focused on their own character’s intentions, and in this, find the signals in the text to work on conflict, and connections.

I also help presenters and speakers with their communication goals. I assist in the breakdown and approach of the presentation/speech. I coach with style, voice/speech, and body language.


I bring a good sense of humor and play with all of my lessons. I have an improv/Theater Games background. This helps in keeping the actor relaxed, flexible, and playful- even in serious assignments.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I have a M.A in Education from U.C Berkeley, and in this I trained as a secondary (grades 7-Adult) English teacher. I taught middle and high school for over seven years.


I have a B.A in Theater/Broadcasting from Columbia College Chicago.


I trained with P.C.P.A (Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts) for two years. This was a focus on acting, singing, dancing, combat, and voice/speech.


I was an apprentice with The Berkeley Shakespeare Festival  (now called the California Shakespeare Theater) for two seasons. I focused on acting in Shakespeare’s plays, text analysis, voice/speech, movement & combat.

I have also trained with: A.C.T (American Conservatory Theater), S.F Mime Troupe, U.C.L.A Extension, Jean Shelton, and  Stella Adler Conservatory.


Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

$60. for 90 minutes. 

We work through the text, doing a “close read” often, to make sure we understand the author’s use of language, intent, and action.


We put the piece on its feet and develop connections to the meanings, intentions, relationships, actions, beat changes, and physical nature of character and space.

We work on the actor/actors develop strong authentic connections to the character and each other via the text. We also will break it up, and play some improv games, or do an improvisation exercise based on the characters. This helps loosen up the actor, and find more naturalistic approaches to the character and the monologue or scene. 

Traditionally, monologue coaching is two to three sessions. Scene coaching is three. Presentations and speech coaching can vary from one to three sessions.    

How did you get started teaching?

I started teaching/coaching drama and communications in 1984. A fellow actor, who was teaching middle school, asked me to visit her class and speak about my experiences as a professional actor. I was 18 at the time. I ended up making many visits to her class. I lead her students in improv games, coached monologues, and helped the students with reading and understanding plays.


I was also very active in helping young scouts in my scout troop in their speeches and presentations.


While in my early twenties (30 years ago), I was asked to join the staff of a popular youth theater. In addition to teaching acting, improv, and voice, I served as the Associate Dean for a few years, and supervised the hiring and lesson plans of new teachers.

Over the years I have coached and taught acting, and or communications in some form or another. 

What types of students have you worked with?

I have had more than 1,500 students. I’ve taught all kinds of students, from all walks of life.

Most of my students have been middle school, high school, college (both undergrads & graduate students), and adults.

As a public school teacher, I have worked with students with a variety of learning styles, including students with learning differences, English Language Learners. 

For the past five years I have been the Social Skills Coordinator/interpersonal communications teacher with a college program, which focuses on supporting students with learning differences, including ASD.


Describe a recent event you are fond of.

For the past six years I have served as the Director of Education at a local television station. My students range from age 13-60. My students work on writing, producing, directing, and editing short form narrative and news programs.

Most recently, they have produced some short films and worked on news programs that required collaboration, creativity, youth leadership, and time management.  The short comedy film they made over the summer was a huge success. And, the news programs the have been working on for the past year have a focus on social justice and youth empowerment.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

I would advise the student to give some serious thought of the goals they have as a communicator. Are they looking for a coach to help them with a general audition? Are they auditioning for a specific play? Are they auditioning for an acting school/conservatory? How can the student clearly express their objectives to the teacher? 

In these questions, the student should ask: 1) What are my natural gifts and talents, and how can I get the right coach to help me bring these out? 2) What are my challenges as an actor/presenter, and how can I articulate these to the teacher when I interview them? 3) Ask, “Will you dictate to me, or be collaborative?” Some teachers are rather direct, and have a heavy hand, some are far more relaxed, and nurturing.


What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Ah.... check the anser above, that may answer this question. 

If anything, the student should understand what their goals are in this context. 

Lessons offered

Acting Classes Film Acting Classes Film Schools Filmmaking Classes Theater Acting Classes Speaking Coaches Audition Prep Lessons