The question of online education has been a valid one for many industries, especially for actors. And with the recent pandemic, it has become even more prominent. Of course, other professionals can do quite well with studying and working online. If you are an online paper writer, you do not need to be physically present in a classroom. But what about acting?
There are pros and cons to online acting courses that one needs to consider before settling for a program.
One of the main benefits of any online education is that it is accessible to many students. There is no need to move somewhere and pay the rent. One can do it in the comfort of their home and still get taught by industry experts. But here are some more benefits to consider.
One of the ways to improve as an actor is to acquire knowledge. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be academic. Acting involves constant work on one’s skills, whether you read a book, watch a YouTube tutorial, or follow a digital course.
Ultimately, it is about getting a better understanding of performance fundamentals. Knowing the craft well allows for breaking rules or finding new ways of expression. In this regard, digital learning can be as good as the traditional one, especially when it comes to theory.
Improving Video Audition Skills
Those who are working on films or TV shows are used to performing in front of a camera. A lot of their acting happens in a close-up, from the neck up. So there is a smaller learning curve for them. Zoom or Skype can be much easier for those professionals than for theatrical performers.
And it helps to get to know how to perform on video better, and be ready to do video auditions with more confidence and knowledge of how to act. One will know exactly where to look and how to translate emotion from the screen.
Another advantage is that on such courses one gets feedback on their acting. It comes from teachers and peers involved. Of course, in traditional education, you get that, too. But in comparison to learning on your own with books or tutorials, it is a benefit.
For some, practicing at home is more comfortable. It is a safe place where it is easier to try out something new and experiment with your skills. There is less stress and anxiety that comes with performing to a live audience. This may be beneficial for beginners or those who haven’t discovered their full potential yet.
New Ways of Connecting
When working on a piece together online, one has to find new ways to connect. There is much less physical chemistry, which is a disadvantage that one can turn into a benefit. It is a challenge that allows exploring new ways of finding that connection and performing.
It wouldn’t be fair to only mention good things about online programs. Of course, there are considerable drawbacks that one needs to take into account.
Lack of Movement
In comparison to studio practice, there is a lack of work with space, movement, and blocking. It is much harder to learn how to take up space and move around. Also, there is no way to connect physically to other actors. And those are very viable skills for an actor, especially working in theatre or live performances.
One of the main benefits of the traditional program is communication with others, networking, and learning from them. And this is something that is much harder to achieve with digital courses. Of course, people can set up chats and connect this way. But it is still not the same.
When performing a scene with other actors, one has to manufacture emotion. It is, of course, easier for method actors, but others can find it difficult. However, it can be a perfect opportunity to acquire a new skill.
It is Easier to Get Distracted
In a studio, when a couple performs their scene, others watch them and can learn or provide feedback. With Zoom classes there is also an opportunity to see others work but it is much easier to get distracted. After all, you become just a dark screen on mute.
One might go make a cup of tea, get distracted by a pet, or just lose focus. It is important to have very strong internal motivation and discipline to be truly involved.
So is it worth it? Yes, but the viability depends on a particular course and expectations. It is a decent training and new experience that helps to practice and find new ways of expression and work. At the same time, it cannot be a full replacement for traditional studio training.
Online acting courses are a great option to learn something new or keep working on yourself. Yet, it is important to find a good program that is not overcharging students. Overall, it is like going to the gym and doing exercises at home with an online coach. It is good, but you have less equipment and space, and some things can be only trained offline.