Online Acting Classes: How Do They Work?

Acting is not often taught online, as it typically involves in-person training on how to give a realistic, impactful performance. Video and audio technologies, however, have made some online acting classes available to those interested in learning the craft remotely.

In online acting classes, students can improve their skills in the field, but they must make sure they have the technology necessary for successful completion of coursework. Other online study options are available in related subjects like film and theater.

How Online Acting Classes Work

Traditional acting classes involve pedagogical instruction in acting techniques and hands-on acting practice and are typically taught in acting studios. Online acting courses are different and rely on a combination of technologies, including audio and video tools, interactive discussion boards and written exercises.

Students analyze acting techniques by viewing videos provided by the instructor and engage in critical analysis through written assignments and online discussion. Some programs may require students to record themselves and submit video or audio recordings to their instructors.


Online acting classes can be found through four-year universities and colleges in addition to private businesses and theaters that offer virtual training videos in acting techniques. Acting classes generally cover the following areas:

  • Acting basics
  • Vocal and speech techniques
  • Techniques for acting auditions and cold readings
  • Improvisation

Technology Requirements

Online schools may require students to purchase certain hardware and software in order to facilitate online studies. For instance, they may need video and audio recording equipment to film themselves and submit their work to their instructors. They may also need to download specific media software, such as QuickTime.

In general, online students must also have a computer that has several basic features, such as the following:

  • An up-to-date operating system
  • High-speed internet access
  • Minimum RAM requirements
  • Office software, such as word processing programs
  • Web camera
  • Headset with microphone
  • CD/DVD drive

Online Theater and Film Courses

Courses emphasizing theater or film technique and the history of drama may be easier to find in distance-learning formats. Students who are open to both online and on-campus learning could choose to take acting classes on-campus. They can then complete other drama and acting-related classes online. Common topics of online theater and film courses include the following:

  • Theater history
  • Drama basics
  • Play and screenwriting
  • Scene and costume design
  • Cinematography
  • Film production and editing

Other Online Acting Course Options

Non-credit, distance-learning acting classes are available through the OpenCourseWare learning format. Students taking OpenCourseWare classes are self-directed learners who follow a syllabus and complete assignments but do not receive credit for the course. Therefore, they must work entirely on their own and do not receive feedback or grades from instructors. Such courses may include written copies of lectures that cover basic acting techniques and strategies. Students can complete various activities and assignments, such as:

  • Reading and watching plays
  • Writing critiques
  • Designing posters for plays

Although it is difficult to study acting through online courses, there are programs available that utilize today's technology to make it possible. Film and theater classes are also available in credit and non-credit formats.

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