In light of current times, meetings and classes that were previously held in person are now taking place online. Fortunately, online acting classes can be as productive online as they are in person. At Cynthia Bain’s Young Actor Studio, we are committed to helping our students even if they can’t currently come into the studio. If you have signed up for an online acting class, there are a few things that you need to do before the class begins. Read on for 7 things to do to prepare for an online acting class.
Check Internet Connection
The first thing to do is check your internet connection and make sure it is working. This is crucial because without the connection, you will miss the class. Also, experiment with different devices. Sometimes certain devices work better than others. Test out your laptop, desktop, iPad, or phone and figure out which one will work best. Sometimes having a lot of devices connected to the internet at once can slow down the connection. When you start your online class, make sure that your family members are not on their devices so that your connection can be as quick as possible.
Make Sure Camera Is Working
The next step is to make sure your camera is working. Most devices have built-in cameras but the quality of the image varies. Test out the camera on each of your devices to see which one works the best. You want to make sure that the image of you is not blurry, out of focus, or too dark/bright. Experiment with sitting in different areas of your home. Sitting in front of a window is not a good idea because the backlight will make you too dark for people to see. Find a spot that is well lit so that everyone can see you. Adjust the backlighting on your own screen so that you will easily be able to see everyone else.
Test the Sound
Another important thing to check before starting the class is the sound on your computer. Make sure that it is working and ready to go. If you are going to use headphones, make sure those are out and in working condition. Nothing is worse than attending a virtual class or meeting and seeing people’s lips moving but not being able to hear them. In addition, test that your microphone is working so that everyone will be able to hear you.
Top off Device Battery
This tip is very important! Make sure your device is fully charged before the class starts. It is recommended to plugin your device overnight so that it is fully charged for your class the next day. While you take the class, make sure your device charger is nearby. That way if your device is about to die, you can quickly plug it in. The goal is to get your device plugged in before it dies, otherwise you will miss part of the class while your device turns back on.
Grab a Notebook
Once your technology is good to go, grab a notebook so you will have somewhere to take notes. It is a good idea to write down important things that you learn. Sometimes after a class, it can be difficult to remember all those interesting little tidbits you learned along the way. By keeping good notes, you will have something to quickly review after class. Some students find it easier to take notes virtually. If that is the case, figure out where you will take notes, whether it is a digital sticky note or a Microsoft Word document. Also check out the App store for some good programs you can get for taking notes electronically. Evernote is a great option for taking notes and keeping them organized.
While taking notes electronically is efficient, research shows that handwritten notes might be more effective. According to a study published in Psychological Science “It may be that longhand note takers engage in more processing than laptop note takers, thus selecting more important information to include in their notes, which enables them to study this content more efficiently.” Pick which method works for you, but give hand written note-taking a try and see if you retain more information!
The next step in preparing for your online acting class is to eliminate potential distractions. Find a quiet place to sit, away from family members and pets. Put your phone to the side so that you aren’t tempted to be texting or on social media. It is important to maintain the same level of focus that you would during an in-person class. Once the class begins, actively engage by answering and asking questions. The more engaged you are in the class, the more you will get out of it.
Come up With Questions
Last but not least, create a list of questions that you plan to ask during the class. Thinking about what you want to learn and what you are curious about before the class starts is a good way to prepare. Do some prior research online or draw from personal experiences to create your questions. Once the class begins, some of your questions may be answered and you might come up with new ones as well. This is OK! The idea of pre-creating questions is to get you engaged and excited to learn prior to the start of the class.
Online acting classes are a great way to learn technique from the comfort and safety of your own home. While it is a different style of learning, these classes can be just as effective and productive as meeting in person. The key is to be properly prepared ahead of time so that you can get the most out of the class. In addition to making sure all of your technology works, don’t forget to eliminate distractions, write some questions down, and be ready to take notes. For more information about online acting classes, contact Cynthia Bain's Young Actor Studio today.