I have just resumed classes in person in my studio. We’ve been on Zoom for a year and a half. I now teach both Zoom and in person and thought it was a good opportunity to review my experiences of both.
Thoughts on Zoom and In-Person Courses
In person lessons
The in-person classes were very exciting. It’s great to see everyone getting back into physical contact. But what happens above all is the total use of the body. We can see the whole body and the actors express themselves more emotionally in and with their bodies. There is a lot of freedom in that, a lot of almost dance in the movements and the language. This definitely brings the body more into the work. There is freedom and joy and no restrictions. Just like the old familiar days. Plus, it seems like it’s appreciated more in the job now and the choices aren’t just taken for granted. Physical actions are more specific, deliberate, and revealing. I notice that the actors are more aware and take advantage of how to use movement in their characters, where in the past they may not have been so specific and taken for granted.
Looking at the experience of the actors on Zoom, there is also a great deal of excitement there. There is an intensity in the subtle moments, the eyes and the expressions. Working on Zoom is like working on a camera.
I will say that the actors I worked with on Zoom have booked more work. The constant work in front of the camera and essentially a close to medium shot helps actors feel more comfortable in front of the camera, trust each other and be less embarrassed. In addition, their auto-cassettes are more relaxed, fresh and spontaneous. However, I have to stay, I did not expect it. The actors are freer, softer and have more confidence in their simplicity. I am pleasantly surprised to see the increase in bookings.
Another great aspect of Zoom is that I can record them, then play them back, and stop at specific times to rate them, other than having to think about it for the actor to remember. Whether it’s a scene, audition piece, improvisation, or other drill that I use to open up and stretch an actor, it’s great to be able to stop the action and show them the exact time.
In summary, I see that the in-person and Zoom classes have their advantages. I am committed to using both as I move forward, regardless of what happens with Covid, because I can see great benefits that complement each other.
For those of you who haven’t experienced an exciting and challenging Zoom course, I suggest you try others. I think there is a great opportunity for growth and I have the experience of seeing actors book more, especially in their zoom and self-recording auditions. I think this new way is here for good.
The times are changing. The benefits of Zoom courses are here to stay as they offer great growth opportunities. I think actors should do both when possible.
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In case you missed it, catch up on acting (parts 1, 2, and 3) posts.