How To Go Virtual For Actors

Making the switch from live audience shows and screenings to a completely virtual world might be challenging for beginners, but with a little creativity and patience, the show can carry on. Keep in mind that the internet is an arena for experimentation: while live shows possess certain limitations, the possibilities and innovations for virtual performances are endless. 


What are some strategies to cope with the changes?

Consider recording shows and releasing them online. For best results, use one camera to record video from the best seat in the house. For standard HD, a resolution of 720p is recommended, but for better quality, aim for a resolution of 1080p or higher. Record horizontally rather than vertically and use a separate camera to record audio from somewhere safe on-stage. When filming, try to use a clapboard or another loud-sounding instrument to make it easy to synchronize the audio and video later. 


Don’t feel obligated to record the whole play at once. Rather, record scenes individually for best results. This gives you the freedom to get every scene perfect, and when you're done, these scenes can be stitched together using easily accessible video editing software like iMovie or OpenShot. 


Sell tickets for online shows on Eventbrite. Consider adding closed captions to make these recordings more accessible for deaf or hearing impaired audiences. To promote safety on set, organize scenes for filming based on common actors rather than chronology to minimize contamination.


Don’t be afraid to change course. Full recorded performances are not the only services you can offer online. The virtual world gives fans the opportunity to connect with the play in a more intimate way, and actors, writers, and designers can share their process with virtual audiences. 


Participate in Q&A’s using livestreaming technology like Youtube or Instagram Live.  Let the cast and crew take questions from audience members around the globe. 


If your actors are part of a union, reach out to see if you’re permitted to share recorded versions of shows. While some unions may have pre-COVID guidelines against this, unions like the Actors Equity Association have already OK’ed this practice.


What services can be helpful?

Logistically, moving to a virtual world can be daunting. For an easier transition, follow Lousia Deasey’s 7 steps to move your work online


Livestreaming platforms like Vimeo and Dacast allow you to add paywalls to your videos or streams. This is a great way to monetize performances. If you’re not interested in paywalls, Youtube and Instagram are great for livestreaming Q&A’s, talks, and monologues. For more information on how to livestream for your business, check out Howlround’s article on how to produce a livestream event


For Vimeo’s on-demand service, which allows you to sell single shows, click here:

For Vimeo’s subscription service, which allows you to sell monthly subscriptions to your videos, click here:

For Dacast’s online platform service, click here:

For tips on how to livestream with Youtube, click here: 

For tips on livestreaming with Instagram, click here:

For tips on creating a new instagram account for your business, or tips on how to switch a personal account to a business account, click here: