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BWW Blog: 8 Tips for a Successful Virtual Acting Class

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A big shout out to Joe Osherhoff at the University of Iowa for  teaching some of these tips and to everyone in Acting One for being awesome.

BWW Blog: 8 Tips for a Successful Virtual Acting Class

Dear future theatre students,

There was once a time where theatre students across the country had to learn their craft off a computer screen due to a virus called Covid-19. It was as challenging as it sounds because my classmates, myself, and my professor had always acted in person. To help make Acting One successful, I applied certain disciplines. If, for some reason post Covid-19, acting classes become virtual again, I hope you stumble upon this article and find it useful. A big shout out to Joe Osherhoff at the University of Iowa for teaching some of these tips and to everyone in Acting One for being awesome.

1) Hide Your Self-View: This is one of the first tips Joe told us. It's tempting to critique your acting while you act by leaving your self-view on, but then you're no longer acting, you're critiquing. Turning off your self-view lets you just act. There's time for critiquing later.

2) Clear your Acting Space: Especially if I'm running late for Zoom acting class, I begin working with my scene partner and realize my biology notes are still out and my water is too close to my computer. I then spend the rest of the scene concentrating on my water bottle instead of my scene partner. Take an extra minute if necessary, to clean up. It makes class more successful

3) Find a Corner: The way my dorm is organized means my desk is in a literal corner, but this can be more figurative. Find a space where you feel comfortable and it's hard for you to get distracted is the real piece of advice, but that subtitle felt a little lengthy.

4) Get Comfortable: My acting class is 2 hours long. An extra pillow on my desk chair goes a long way.

5) Practice: This applies to all acting classes, both virtual and in person because it really does help. Now, you don't need to leave your room to do it.

6) Flip your phone over: I'm guilty of answering Snapchats and looking on Instagram during acting class (sorry Joe); everybody is at this point. Flipping my phone over does not ensure it won't distract me, but it does help. I give myself bonus points if I leave it on the other side of my dorm room.

7) Talk to your classmates: The conversation at the beginning of a normal acting class that helps break the ice between you and your peers is gone, which means developing the acting class community is much harder. Thankful, technology makes it easier to talk and be safe. My acting class has a GroupMe.

8) Embrace the Crazy: Let's face the reality. You're acting over zoom. It's a bit ridiculous. If I had a dollar for the number of times, I've cracked up laughing during our warmup round of repetition, I'd probably be able to pay for the rest of my college tuition. So, embrace and accept this crazy in the beginning of class so you can live in the virtual acting classroom for two hours, ready to learn.


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