Guide to an Online Acting Education

by Jennifer Croley
Guide to an Online Acting Education

A movie star. A TV legend. A Broadway VIP. Whatever your drama dreams, pursuing an acting education can help you hone your skills and further your career. Can pursuing your acting education online help put you on the path to success? Yes, but with some major limitations.

How Online Acting Programs Work

Online acting students will access most of their course information through the Internet and submit work online. Some classes may also include web-based discussions for interaction between students and instructors. Online acting students may also be required to submit video of themselves performing.

That all sounds pretty typical, so what about the limitations? Primarily, with online acting classes, the amount and level of collaboration and feedback you can achieve through the Internet is limited. As you would expect, hands-on collaboration is a very important component of acting education, and is something that is very difficult to achieve over the web.

Online education has reached new heights over the past few years, but it cannot recreate a real classroom experience in which an acting student can perform in front of an instructor and peers and get immediate feedback.

Jennifer Chapman, Communications Director for the American Alliance for Theater and Education, points out that because of this limitation online acting education is best used as part of a larger education in acting. "Online education has its place," says Chapman. "The Internet is a very useful tool and is a great way to disseminate information. However, hands-on collaboration is extremely important in this field, so online education is best used as a piece of one's whole education."

Online Acting Schools

The second major limitation of online acting education is the number of programs available. Currently, only one school, the Academy of Art University, offers an online degree program with actual acting components. This school offers associate, bachelor, and master degrees in Motion Pictures and Television with an available concentration in acting.

Even if you are not seeking a degree and just want to take an individual acting class or get some feedback on your ability, your online choices are still limited. Just a few acting schools offer online classes with varying levels of interaction and feedback. Some examples include the following:

Program Costs

The cost of online acting classes varies significantly. If you are just looking for inexpensive pointers, there are some free online workshops. Of course, if you are looking for actual classes that include feedback about your acting ability, there will be a fee. The Hollywood Actor's Studio offers online lessons for $75.00 per session. The lessons include a phone consultation and plan of action, work assignments, evaluation of taped work, and coaching via phone or e-mail.

Employment

There's no doubt about it. Showbiz is a tough business, but it's not impossible to get work as an actor. Online acting students will face many of the same challenges students from traditional acting programs will. There is a lot of competition for a limited amount of jobs, so you have to be committed and persistent.

Online students may be somewhat at a disadvantage when compared to students in traditional acting education programs because they won't be in a classroom networking with students and teachers. However, online students can still network with their peers and instructors through the Internet and can supplement their online education through performance and education opportunities in their area.

Summary

There are some online acting education opportunities, but they are limited in scope and number. Students should carefully assess their needs and explore the options that are offered by online acting schools or training programs to ensure that they will receive the type of training that will enhance their acting career.

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