Frequently Asked Questions about our Online Classes
We began offering mostly online classes as of 2020. This newer format has prompted questions from both new and returning students that we've attempted to answer below. If there's a question that is not addressed, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What online platform do you use?
A: We use the Zoom platform for our online classes.
Q: Does the Zoom platform cost me anything?
A: No. You just download the most recent free version. The link to the download page is here.
Q: Is Zoom difficult to figure out?
A: No, it's really easy! We send you a link before the first class, which is usually the link you'll use for the entire session. The instructor will help you during class but we suggest you have a practice meeting with a friend beforehand.
A couple of points: Everyone in class has their own thumbnail and the class thumbnails are surrounded by a black border. In the upper right of the black border you will see either "Speaker View" or "Gallery View." (The class photo below is Gallery View, where you can see all the faces.) This can be an important troubleshooter in class if you are reading with a scene partner and are unable to see them.
If you hover your mouse over your own thumbnail, you will see three dots in the upper right hand corner which gives you options in class, including renaming yourself. We sometimes use that feature during improv exercises when we're using character names other than our own.
We share PDF documents in class with the Zoom Chat feature. The photo below shows the Chat feature on the right side of the screen, with PDF's uploaded for class (down at the bottom it says "Everyone" in the blue button. To the right is a File icon. Double click on that icon to access a document from your computer.)
Q: What else do I need for the class?
A: You need a laptop, a strong wi-fi connection and a private place in your household that is relatively quiet where you will be uninterrupted. You will also need light on your face - a desk lamp usually is sufficient. If you're taking a daytime class, sitting next to a window in natural light works. If you have headphones or earphones, sometimes that improves the sound on both ends. Your computer screen should be close to head height so that you are not looking down into the camera. Books placed under the computer help to raise the camera’s eye level. You can also purchase an adjustable laptop stand that can raise or lower your laptop height.
Q: What if I don't have a laptop?
A: You can use an iPhone or iPad for class however sometimes we upload scripts during class in Zoom chat and you will not have that capability. In that case we may have to email you scripts either before or during class, if possible.
Q: What else do I need to know?
A: Since we sometimes get on our feet, it might be helpful to have two levels for your laptop (that's where the laptop stand comes in handy). The pictures below show that's also easily accomplished with having two different sizes of boxes handy.
CLASS FORMAT - NEW AND RETURNING ADULT SCENE STUDY
Q: How do online classes compare to in-studio classes?
A: Besides the obvious - you're not in the same room with your fellow students - online classes provide many of the same benefits as the studio classes with the added advantage of focusing on self-tape auditions. We still do meditation, relaxation and sensory exercises, improv exercises, monologue and scene work. The scene work either replicates a self-tape audition for a casting director with a reader or you're assigned a scene partner. At times you will have the option to record your work in class to chart your progress. NOTE: class recordings are not considered demo reel quality.
Q: How can online classes help my self-tape audition skills?
A: When you are in a Zoom class, your thumbnail enlarged on the screen is similar to the framing of a self-tape, so you can clearly identify what does and doesn't work for a successful audition. Because we use actual shooting scripts from film and TV shows, classes are very similar to on-camera audition workshops. And as we mentioned above, at times you may record and save your work, similar to an on-camera audition workshop.
Q: How are the Act ALIVE classes different online?
A: Since the majority of the Act ALIVE curriculum are exercises, this class has made a very successful online transition. Even exercises requiring a partner work well online - you are working off your partner onscreen instead of in person.
Q: What can't you do in an online class?
A: Any scenes requiring action or choreography do not translate well online, however in the case a script calls for physical action, students learn modifications needed for self-tape auditions. Improv exercises that require physical interaction are also not done in an online class, however there are dozens of improv games that work great in this format - especially the exercises that emphasize listening and reacting in the moment.
Q: Will there be an online Scene O Rama?
A: No, the online class format does not include Scene O Rama. However with our online format, we are able to have guest casting directors and agents from anywhere in the US. We would announce that before enrollment and the class tuition may be slightly higher to accommodate the guest.
CLASS FORMAT - KIDS AND TEENS
Q: What is the class format for Kids and Teens?
A: The class format for Kids and Teens is very similar to an in-person studio class. We'll still be doing warm-ups, improv exercises, monologues and scene work. The added advantage is we'll be working on scripts from TV shows and comparing to the actual footage!
Q: What's another advantage to the online format as opposed to in-studio?
A: Mom and Dad - you're not chauffeuring on a Saturday morning!
Q: When will classes transition back in person?
A: We are starting to offer in-person workshops. We had a successful Act ALIVE in-person workshop in Manhattan in the fall of 2021. For more details on future in-person workshops, email Andi!
Q: What are some other perks of the online classes as opposed to in person?
A: You can be anywhere in the US - and even the world - and take our classes. There's no commute! You have ample individual attention with the focus on self-tape auditions, which are becoming more commonplace in our current environment and even in the post-Covid world. And you have the option of taping your scenes in class to track your progress.
Q: Will you still offer online classes, even when classes return to in-person?
A: We are strongly leaning towards "yes" as we've discovered many benefits with these online classes!
"I loved the online class! It provided great one-on-one feedback and the chance to work on self-tape auditioning skills was very helpful and enlightening. I highly recommend taking the virtual class!" - Edward Lehmann