During this time of social distancing, everyone has faced uncharted territory in both their personal lives and work. Virtual is the new normal. We are all humbled and connected in this universal need to protect our health and each other by staying inside—hence “getting out” has become “going online” for everyone, including actors.
Adaptability and flexibility may not be everyone’s strong suit, but if an online connection isn’t utilized right now it limits the majority of what people can do. We actors must adapt to this new frontier of working online, whether we’ve used it before or have only just discovered its need since the onset of COVID-19. There are those who say they will wait until things go back to “normal” when they can do things in person. But for many areas of our industry, that timeline is unknown and when it comes, will going online for certain aspects of our career be any less necessary?
Actors, writers, and directors must embrace this online world. We can use it to connect emotionally, train, self-tape, and prepare for and even work on a new series like the creator of “Orange Is the New Black” Jenji Kohan is doing with the new quarantine anthology. We must be open to using this technology and learning to be skilled in it as films record online and splice scenes together of people in different locations, casting and chemistry reads take place virtually, and we connect to the world through our art online.
At our studio, we’ve found the silver lining in this situation. Online acting further highlights the immediate and apparent need for authentic, intimate, and subtle performances. We believe all acting be it stage, film, or television should always possess these qualities. The online format helps in achieving that goal by making it even more necessary and forcing you to be aware of it so much that it will become second nature even beyond the online setting. We have also found a greater need for creativity and invention, sparking some exciting artistic breakthroughs.
Our teachers have trained for years to become instructors in the Meisner technique, which is very specific. By moving online, it’s allowed us to continue working within that method in a very structured manner as well.
Staying connected emotionally and staying creative is key for anyone, but for actors it is essential. Being adaptable and flexible is essential in life to continue to grow. Changing things and shaking them up is something that keeps us all young. Embracing an online world is both an opportunity and a necessity. We say stay adaptable, stay flexible, and open up your world online!