The following activity is a great exercise for teachers looking for ways to help kids practice and showcase their acting skills remotely.
Additionally, virtual auditioning (or self-taping) has become more and more popular, and this is a great introduction into how that process works.
To help facilitate the activity, Beat by Beat is offering 15 FREE monologues from its popular book Contemporary Monologues for Young Actors. These monologues are intended for actors age 7-14.
(If you’d like to download all 54 monologues, you can purchase the entire book here.)
Here’s an overview:
Email your students, providing them with the PDF of the monologues. Instruct them to choose the one they like the best. You can provide them with this direct link to the PDF: https://bit.ly/33pC5QJ
Ask the students to video record their monologue, and upload it to YouTube as “unlisted”. This will make sure only those with the link will be able to view it and it won’t come up in search results.
Have the students email you the unlisted link to their video. You can create a unlisted playlist from your YouTube account featuring all the actors’ videos.
Considering emailing out the link to this playlist, giving every student the opportunity to see their fellow classmates perform.
If you have more time (and technical skills!), you could give video notes on each performance and do several rounds of playlists, culminating in a final “virtual performance”. This would essentially create a virtual acting class in which your students are able to contribute and observe notes on performances.
Encourage the students to consider these ways to achieve the best quality video for their submission:
VIDEO: An iPhone or Android phone will do wonderfully.
LIGHTING: Find a place where there is an abundance of natural light in front of you if possible. Natural light coming from a window illuminating the actor’s face/body is best. You do not want there to be any bright windows or lights behind you – this will create shadows. If you do not have access to a window, consider arranging floor lamps, desk lamps or other lighting in front of you illuminating your face. You can even use other phones with their flash on to provide extra light in a pinch.
CLUTTER: Remove all clutter from the place you’ll be recording. This doesn’t mean the room or space can’t have character or personality, but it should feel neat and non-distracting.
SPACING: Ideally you don’t want to be right up against a wall, as it can make the viewer feel uncomfortable. Consider standing at least 12 inches or more from a wall.
AUDIO: Standing on a carpet or rug is best as it will make the room sound less echo-y. Close the doors and windows (and turn off any heating or air conditioning) to make the room as quiet as possible so the only thing that can be heard is your voice. Standing further from a wall will also help to reduce echo reflections.
FRAMING: The video should be shot horizontally. You should be in the center of the frame with the bottom of the frame at the bottom of your chest and the top of the frame slightly above the top of your head.
SITTING OR STANDING: Ideally, the camera should remain stationary in one position throughout the scene otherwise you risk distracting your viewer. Don’t let the person behind the camera try any artsy or fancy camera movements.
If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them below, thanks!