10 Ways to Prepare for Online Acting Classes

10 Ways to Prepare for Online Acting Classes

That brat Covid-19 is still throwing a wrench in your plans so you’ve decided to embrace learning more about your craft online.  That is GREAT!  Using this time to your advantage is one of the smartest things you can be doing as an actor right now!

As you prepare to put your best keystroke forward, here are a few tips to ensure that you have a smooth online acting experience.

  1. Determine what you want to focus on.  

There are a TON of offerings out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numerous options.  BEFORE you go looking for opportunities, make a clear list on the skills and abilities you really want to learn.  Think about pre-covid and where you felt stuck and where you know you need to grow your confidence.  Focus on finding classes that suit those specific needs FIRST.  Not sure if the class is right for you?  Contact them and ask!

  1. Select an appropriate educator for your goals.

Just like there are many classes, there are many educators… and not all teachers are created equal.  Do your research on your school/educator before you determine they are a good fit for you.  Having a teacher that both challenges you and helps you to feel safe in your learning environment is KEY.  Look for testimonials or ask to speak to a former student.  This will help you zoom in on which educators are the best fit for you, your current needs and your learning style.

  1. Double check that you can protect that class time.

This may sound silly, but it is surprising how many people forget this step!  When selecting a class, double check your schedule so you are certain the program works for you.  If you are constantly having to miss sessions, leave early or arrive late, you will be missing out on important training that you have ALREADY PAID FOR!  There are so many options available now, there is no need to force a class into your schedule that doesn’t work.  You won’t be able to perform your best if you are constantly stressed about the time.

  1. Find a quiet place with good internet connection to take class.

I know… easier said than done… we’re working on building our career before we can afford our mansions with our spacious self-tape studios!  I get it– and depending on your living situation, you may need to get creative.  Test drive a few spots in your house to see where your wireless internet may be the strongest.  If you don’t have a pop-up background you can use, choose a space that has a simple clear wall so all the focus can be on you.  Give any roommates/family members a proper heads up that you are setting aside time to be in class so you can curb interruptions before they start.

  1. Check sound quality on your device.

Make sure you know how to use the microphone settings on your devices.  A teacher can’t bring you to the next level if they can’t hear you!  Many phones and laptops have great built-in abilities, but if you need a cleaner sound, think about getting an additional mic to plug into your set-up.  Not sure what your sound is like?  Hop on a zoom with a friend, record it, and play it back for yourself.  We’ll talk more about practice sessions later in this list.

  1. Optimize your lighting to look your best.

Consider investing in a ring light to help you achieve a well lit look no matter where you are in your house.  Getting one where you can control color and intensity is especially helpful.  Don’t have a ring light?  No problem.  Use strategically placed lamps to be sure you can be seen clearly without any weird shadows on your face or in the background.

  1. Practice using the platform class takes place on.

This will also help with your sound and lighting tests.  Hop on the learning platform in advance if you can.  Do a practice round with your scene and get used to understanding what it means to be in frame using your device.  Don’t have access to that platform?  Practice on zoom!  If you can record your practice session, I strongly suggest you do that so you can play back your scene and get a sense of any adjustments you need to keep in mind before you get into your classroom setting.  This is particularly important when you are taking class with VIP industry guests.  Even in a learning environment, you always want to come across as prepared and professional.  This business is all about relationships, and you want your new educational relationships to remember you as your best self.

  1. Write down any questions you want answered for the session so you don’t forget.

“Does anyone have any questions?” should seldomly be answered by the sound of crickets.  If you knew it all, you wouldn’t have needed to be in a class to begin with!  Think in advance about questions you hope to get answered in your online session and write them down.  Have them at the ready so you can be sure to squeeze out every bit of learning you can in every experience you invest in.

  1. Review class descriptions and prepare any requested materials.

Classes may require different prep work or homework.  Make sure you 100% understand any work you need to prepare for each session.  If you aren’t sure, ASK.  Proper preparation is KEY when getting the proper training from your learning experiences.  Don’t skip this step or do it halfway.  This isn’t 6th grade social studies homework.  This is your CAREER.

  1. Have a notebook handy.

If you have found a class perfect for your needs and your level, you will be experiencing lightbulbs of learning and little eurekas.  Don’t assume you will remember everything.  Take EXCELLENT notes during every class so you can refer back whenever you need to.  Each class you take should build upon your skillset, so you need to keep everything you learned in your brain so you can continue to climb higher, instead of being stuck in the loop of reviewal.  Keeping notes and regularly reviewing them is a great way to do that!  It’s also a very helpful tip to make sure your training is efficient and effective moving forward.


I hope this list will help you as you prepare to bring your best self to your online sessions this Fall.  Here at Actors Connection, we are always excited to help you make the right decisions for your training.  If you’re not sure about how to choose the best classes and online experiences for your needs right now, click here for a completely free program consultation or email us any time at info@actorsconnection.com.

Check out Our InterAct Webinars available on YouTube to Help You Prepare for Online Zoom Acting Classes.
online acting school

Zooming in on the Pivot to Online Acting

Pivot to Online Acting?

Many actors are drawn to performing because of their love of people and the thrill of an audience.  There is a kinetic creative energy that hovers in a room of artists that can be addictive to those who enjoy the craft.  Being in the same room of a beautiful performance changes you.  It alters the energetic state of full groups of people– eliciting emotions and reactions both expected and unexpected.  These delicate moments are unique, memorable and beautiful.

So How’s That Going on Zoom?

As an in-person school that made the online acting school pivot, we have to admit, we had our concerns about taking these unique in-class experiences and shifting them into the cloud.  Will the energy be the same?  How will the value be perceived?  Will the same amount of learning occur?  Can actors achieve the same amount of success in a virtual classroom?

With great relief, we can honestly say that online learning has worked even better than we have hoped.

To move forward with online acting classes and events, it required everyone (teachers/students staff) to focus on several pillars highly important in both acting and in business:  QUALITY, SPECIFICITY and GENEROSITY.

Communication has to be clear in online settings and that requires QUALITY.  Instructions need to be bulletproof to help those of all backgrounds provide their own at-home tech support to successfully access their sessions with ease and clarity.  Foibles in tech can lead to a lack in confidence for those on the sending AND receiving end of material.

This time gave everyone a crash course in how to optimize their virtual capacities and we saw an unprecedented amount of learning in lighting, sound and video quality among students.  For years we have heard casting director concerns about self-tape standards and I am certain that these months have allowed many actors to upgrade and correct their previous issues without the stress of looming taping deadlines and everyday life.  The ways in which this will serve these performers is limitless.

Clearer quality gives SPECIFICITY a front row seat during this pandemic.  It is vital for clear character to character communication and to successfully tell a story within frame.  There are things that are lost in person but are under a spotlight when you are face to face with a camera lens.

Every reaction is seen.  And every MISSING reaction is seen.  Every accidental facial movement is under a microscope.  Details are naturally encouraged in this environment and that magnifying glass is helping actors go deeper into their stories than ever before.

They are regularly realizing new levels of specificity in their performances from the constant practice.  It is specificity that is the hero of noteworthy performing and this forced focus for both on-camera and stage actors is serving everyone at this time.  Actors Connection has personally witnessed how this has accelerated learning for many students.

Rounding out our list is GENEROSITY.  When things get tough and EVERYONE is feeling the squeeze, there is a human instinct to hoard and protect what you have at all costs.  The entertainment industry decided to handle it differently.  Actors Connection and many of our partners and colleagues have used this time to focus on FREE programming.  With normal deadlines being halted in their tracks, it allowed our whole industry to hold a space of generosity that so many have craved for years.

This time has led to numerous free learning, training and networking opportunities that have never taken place at this level EVER before.  These free programs also allowed us all to get some risk-free practice in online platforms, helping to make our industry’s online pivot to be as comfortable as possible for both staff and students.  We are even happy to report that Actors Connection’s FREE at THREE series even led to several actors finding the right representation and signing contracts– even in the middle of a pandemic!

Red CarpetCovid-19 may have closed downs movie sets and long running theatrical performances, but it NEVER closed down the work of an active actor.  It set the craft on FIRE.  We expect that actors that used this time to practice effective online communication quality, get more specific in their craft approaches, and benefit from the generosity the industry embraced during this time, will soar to more successful experiences as projects open up and more online auditions begin.

When I look back to Spring, I remember the pit in my stomach as everything related to our beloved livelihood shut down.  Sitting here now, I recognize these months as an exercise in resilience and creativity and am grateful for the opportunity to totally focus on the love we have for our actors.

And just wait until you see them now.  They are going to knock your socks off with their new arsenal of abilities… and this next year of theatre and tv is bound to be pretty freakin’ impressive.

Check out our YouTube channel to learn why people love Actors Connection!