Online Improv Preparation

If you are unfamiliar with the group video chat software “Zoom”, please watch this introductory video, install Zoom, and then connect to this private test meeting to try out Zoom’s connection to your camera. Until you get used to Zoom, try joining your online meetings 10 minutes early, to allow time to resolve any technical problems.

If possible, install Zoom on a laptop or a desktop computer with a web camera. Using the Zoom phone (or tablet) app (Android or iPhone) is an option, but it’s not ideal:

  • It’s best to have both hands free while improvising, so you’d need to prop your phone (or use a phone stand) to have both hands free, and get a decent camera angle.
  • It’s often best to use Zoom’s “Gallery View” when improvising, and Gallery View works best on larger screens, especially when there are many students.
  • Running the Zoom app uses a lot of power; phones with undercharged or weak batteries will turn off mid class.

As your circumstances allow:

  • If available, use headphones with a microphone, or wireless earbuds.
  • Find a place that has a strong wireless connection (using an Ethernet cable is even better), where you’ll feel comfortable laughing and having fun.
  • Try putting sturdy items (e.g. large books) under your laptop or phone to elevate it, so the camera can highlight your eyes. If you can set things up so you can stand while improvising, that will help to keep you energized.
  • Nice but a lower priority: Position your device so that you are facing a window, or have a light in front of you, so your camera can highlight your face.

Before joining the class:

  • Turn off your phone and computer notifications, so you aren’t distracted from connecting with your classmates.
  • Consider using the restroom.
  • Have a glass of water within reach, so you don’t need to leave if you get thirsty.
  • If you use a virtual background, choose one that is understated and not distracting.

During class:

  • If you have a noisy background, please mute your microphone when you are not speaking or in an improv scene.
  • Have fun!