Film Acting was taught by Richard Waterhouse during Brown University’s 2019 Wintersession.
This was the third time professor Waterhouse taught Film Acting and the first time the course was offered during Wintersession. Approximately 18 students participated in the course during the month of January. The course offers students a chance to hone their acting skills in front of the camera. Working closely with the crew from CIS Media Service production team, Waterhouse and his students functioned as directors and assistant directors on set. The Wintersession format offered students the chance to be in class 5-6 days a week instead of the typical 1-2 during the fall and spring semesters. This condensed schedule proved an invaluable way to give students insight into the real-life workings of a professional film set.
Professor Waterhouse’s testimonial can be watched on Brown YouTube at: https://youtu.be/RPluv41_GGo
Student testimonials are also available on Brown YouTube: https://youtu.be/IsEa66Fu-Pk
After the students rehearsed their scenes as a class each morning, the crew from CIS Media Services arrived in the afternoon to film the scheduled scenes. To simulate a professional film set, the crew provided camera, lights, a boom pole and a microphone for recording video and audio. The media production crew took care of on-set logistics and equipment operations, which allowed professor Waterhouse to focus on teaching and mentoring his students on directing each scene, choosing camera angles, adjusting lighting, and rearranging the set. Additionally, for the students in the audience, the crew connected the camera to a television monitor, so that classmates could view the playback live and see how various acting choices worked on camera. In addition to the support provided by the production team during class time, a large part of the course also involved students reviewing the footage of themselves acting in the days that followed their assigned scenes. To accommodate fast turn-around content review, media production setup a portable lecture capture cart in the theater, which recorded and directly uploaded each scene to the course Canvas site. Finally, at the conclusion of the course, media production cut and edited each scene and then facilitated the pickup and transfer of recorded media to students, so that they had the content to add to their acting reels.
Student and faculty feedback were unanimous. The course format and the availability of the content to review and critique was a huge benefit to the teaching and learning process. Technology, in means of lecture capture cart directly connected to a high quality production value set and to the Canvas course site, was integral to the intense daily Wintersession experience.
“If you want to take a class in film acting, this is a pretty close approximation to how it’s going to be. With that boom hanging over you and those lights and a camera on, suddenly things change…the energy shifts as soon as a camera comes into the room…From the very first year and my first [meeting] with Media Services, it has been a great experience.”
Richard Waterhouse Adjunct Lecturer, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Brown University