Drama Kids - The Power of Voice

The Power of the Voice

Drama Kids - The Power of Voice

 

Radio, podcasts, audiobooks. You might not think of these things as acting but they are!

Any voice you hear where you cannot see the person speaking is a voice-over. According to Studiobinder.com, “Voice over is a production technique where a voice is recorded for off-screen use.”

The most recognizable form of a voice-over is radio. Radio dramas were incredibly popular as a form of entertainment. Radio drama (or audio drama, audio play, radio play, radio theatre) is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance, broadcast on the radio. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music, and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story.

Then voice-over started to slowly make its way to movies with narration over the physical action of the characters. And soon, voice-over made its way into animation. Disney’s animated short, Steamboat Willie, was among the first to use voice over in animation.

Today, we use voice-over in movie trailers, podcasts, e-learning, video games, instructions in theme parks, audiobooks, and so much more.

 

So How is Voice Over a Form of Acting?

According to Sovas.org, The art of voice acting in voice over starts with a script. The voice actor’s job is to faithfully interpret the script and render a vocal performance, usually under the visionary guidance of a director. If the voice-over performance is not genuine, authentic, and organic (all skills that are used in acting), then the voice-over sounds like a sales pitch and people do not like having things sold to them. It can be very easy to sound like you are reading a script when the audience cannot physically see you.

If we use video games or audiobooks as an example, listeners want to be fully immersed in the story and relate to the characters just as if they are watching a movie. If the voice artist is not using acting skills to create emotions, relationships, and authenticity, then the immersion is broken.

While you do not need acting training to start a career or even a hobby in voice-over, the skills you can be taught, especially how to project, articulate, and emphasize, can ensure that you are taking care of your vocal health and giving a unique and genuine performance.

 

Drama Kids classes offer children and teens the opportunity to build and explore the power of voice. To get more information on classes near you, please contact us!

Speaking Out Against Cyberbullying

 

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and along with individuals around the nation, Drama Kids unite to present a powerful message that bullying should never be a part of childhood.

According to a study done by Comparitech, almost 60 percent of parents with children aged 14 to 18 reported them being bullied with nearly 83 percent of parents saying the bullying happened at school, and 32 percent saying it happened on the bus.

However, due to the pandemic, children increasingly find themselves on the internet taking classes, participating in after school activities, and engaging in social interactions. This increased online time can lead to an increase in cyberbullying.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyber Bullying itself is a very broad term but includes any form of repeated abuse to a person directed through technology from another person.

According to “Cyberbullying: What Is Cyberbullying and How to Stop It”, an article on CallerSmart.com, The difference between traditional bullying, which takes place in person, and cyberbullying, is that the latter must involve the use of technology. Additionally, to be defined as cyberbullying, the interaction between two or more people must contain the following elements:

  • The action must be willful. The behavior has to be intentional, not accidental.
  • The incident must have occurred more than once. Bullying reflects a repeated pattern of behavior.
  • The victim must perceive that harm was inflicted.

Where can Cyberbullying Happen?

Social media sites are where cyberbullying is the most prevalent. Websites like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, though some sites pose a higher risk than others. Comparitech shows that parents perceive Facebook to have the highest risk of  cyberbullying incidents but in reality, studies have shown that Instagram is where a higher number of cyberbullying incidents take place. This is due to the increased number of teen users on instagram while parental presence is greater on Facebook.

According to Comparitech, Children aged 6 to 10 spent an average of 50 minutes a day on social media, while those aged 19 and older spent an average of 72.7 minutes online. Over a year, kids aged 6 to 10 spend an average of over 18,000 minutes on social media.

These numbers might seem alarming and cast a bad light on social media but social media is not inherently bad. It connects children and teens to their friends and enables socialization. Simply limiting the amount of time kids spend on it each day can broaden their horizons to other activities and decrease their risk of being bullied.

 

What can Parents Do?

There are many resources available to assist parents in identifying, addressing, and stopping cyberbullying.

Make sure your child knows the signs of cyberbullying.

Teaching your children appropriate ways to respond to bullying is extremely important.

You can help them improve their social skills and learn the importance of their words. When children can stick up for themselves verbally and be assertive, it can drastically improve the situation. These commanding words and sentences include things like:

“I want a turn now.”

“I don’t like this.”

“No.”

“Stop.”

“Cut it out.”

Stay aware of any changes in your child’s behaviour. Children usually do not share with their parents when they are being bullied but their attitude and behavior might change.

Suggest enrollment in safe activities or hobbies that keep children and teens away from social media.

Encourage “offline time” away from devices connected to the internet. Use this time to spend together eating family dinner or engaging in a new hobby.

Communicate the importance of a “digital reputation”. Share with them that anything put online, stays online and to only post things you want others to see.

Other ways to help your child can be modeling positivity, instilling a healthy self-esteem, emphasizing friendship skills, and teaching them positive self-talk and how to learn from mistakes. You can also role-play various bullying scenarios so your child will be ready and prepared to handle them if it were to happen.

 

Drama Kids International is proud to offer ACT UP! to Stop Bullying, a series of anti-bullying workshops that is designed with 3rd through 5th grade students in mind. If you are interested in learning more about this drama program and how it can be brought to your school, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

What in the World is Improv?

 

You might have heard your Drama Kid say that they did some improv in their class but what exactly is improv?

Improvisation, or improv, is a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters, and dialogue of a game, scene, or story are made up in the moment. Often improvisers will take a suggestion from the audience, or draw on some other source of inspiration to get started.

Improv is incredibly unique in that if you see a performance, that’s it… there will never be another scene or show exactly like it ever done again. Improv is different every time.

There are two different forms of improv, long form and short form. The short form consists of scenes that only take a few minutes, stand on their own, or that are connected by an overarching thematic motif, but not connected to each other. Improv “games” are largely all short form and usually lead to very comical interactions. Whereas, long form improv includes the actors staying in character to create a more detailed scene that can end up being made into a short play. This form tends to take on a more serious tone but can include comedic elements.

A very popular version of long form improv is the Murder Mystery. Actors have a general idea of where the plot is headed and even who the murderer is but must come up with most of the show in the moment.

The most important aspect of both long and short improv is the concept of “Yes, and…”. An actor must never say no to a suggestion made by another actor. If there is a suggestion of aliens who live underwater, the actor must say “Yes, and” and continue to add more details to the scene.

In fact, there are many rules to improv theatre according to PanTheatre.com:

The first ten improv rules are:

  1. Say “yes, and!”
  2. Add new information.
  3. Don’t block.
  4. Avoid asking questions- unless you’re also adding information.
  5. Play in the present and use the moment.
  6. Establish the location.
  7. Be specific and provide colorful details.
  8. Change, Change, Change!
  9. For serious and emotional scenes, focus on characters and relationships.
  10. For humorous scenes, take choices to the nth degree or focus on actions/objects.

In Drama Kids, we don’t delve too far into all of those rules. We use improvisation to create silly characters and have fun but behind the scenes, it does so much more! Improvisational theatre encourages critical and creative thinking while allowing students to trust their instincts so they don’t second guess themselves.

Try some improv at home with your family. Give this game a shot then play some more from SecondCity.com:

Yes, And…

Pick an object, any object!  The first player points out something about it, and the next player has to say “yes, and…” [insert something else about the object here]. If you can’t think of an add-on, you’re out! Choose a new object and begin again!

Example: The object? A shoe.

Player One: “A shoe is supportive.”
Player Two: “Yes, and stinky if Dad is wearing it.”
Player Three: “Yes, and you’re grounded.”
(Dad would be out for not staying on topic.)

Theatre’s Impact on Mental Health: How Theatre Can Help Without You Knowing

Drama classes can help with mental health

 

 

 

Your child’s mental wellbeing is extremely important. More so in this time of constant change though with the introduction of online classes for this new year, it can be tough to get the help your child might need. Luckily, you can support your growing thinker through more than just schools and psychologist’s offices. According to WayAhead.org.au, a study was done by The Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) to see if their drama program impacted the mental health of their participants over the past few decades.

They found of the more than 1,200 people who participated in the survey, 89% reported participating in the drama program had a positive impact on their self-confidence and 94% of respondents said it had a positive impact on their overall sense of wellbeing. 52% of people – slightly more than half of all respondents – indicated that ATYP had a positive or very positive impact on their anxiety levels.

These results could be because, in a digital age, theatre provides an environment to personally engage with others and can be a practical way to address serious issues that society is facing such as bullying, friendship, family relationships, etc. According to the report, “One person noted that as a young boy, he suffered from bullying and severe anxiety. ‘ATYP helped bring me out of my shell and nurtured my passion for performing.’”

Theatre can also promote self-confidence and self-expression. Fraser Corfield, the Artistic Director of ATYP states, “We talk about the importance of self-expression and telling your own story and “finding your tribe”, which is a term that youth theatres use over and over, …” and a “tribe” is exactly what children who participate in the performing arts can find. In theatre, you are encouraged to be 100% your authentic self so the friendships and bonds you make are usually incredibly strong and long-lasting.

The most beautiful thing about this connection between mental health and theatre is, “these benefits occur without any conversation around mental health. So there’s part of me that goes ‘we need to keep that because I think the death knell of theatre, and theatre for young people, is that we keep using theatre to try and teach young people about something’,” according to Fraser. The benefits come solely from the students having fun transforming into new characters, creating scenes with friends, or just getting to be silly by moving around the room in creative ways.

Drama Classes - Developing Confidence

On Camera Acting

Drama Classes - Developing Confidence

 

 

TRUST

Trust your instincts. Trust that you know what to do and that whatever your gut instinct or first reaction is is “right”! You are interesting, funny, engaging, smart enough without having to force anything. The camera is like a magnifying glass that is able to catch everything the actor does so less is often more. Trust that you have everything you need without overdoing it.

 

FAITH

Faith is a crucial component in confidence. Without faith, despair sets in. When that happens, it’s only a matter of time until we give up mentally and in our hearts, and that is fatal to any dream. Faith has us digger deeper, work harder. The gratification is not instant in on-camera work because you are not in the same room with the audience. You must have faith that your hard work will pay off in the end.

 

 

SELF-AWARENESS

Camera work provides a unique opportunity for you to see the work that you are doing immediately. You perform then watch it back. You have an instant example of what can be changed or improved. It can then help you remain objective. Seeing yourself on camera is scary but once you can accept how you look or sound with love and move on to critiquing your performance, then there is nothing that can stop you.

 

ACTIVE LISTENING

When you are involved in a real conversation you are already actively listening; your attention is on the other the person, not on yourself; and their focus is on you, not themselves. Full attention is given to the other person and what they are saying. Active listening is crucial to on-camera acting. The camera can pick up, through the actor’s eyes, if they are zoned out or thinking about other things.

 

 

FAIL BOLDLY

Make the choices that you are scared of. Experiment. Play. Push yourself to the edge and occasionally fall off that edge. It is our individuality that makes us unique, and those unique ideas will be what will help you realize who you truly are! Since you have the luxury of playing back your performance, dare to be bold, and see what is working and what doesn’t.

 

PRACTICE

This is a new skill and with new skills come the feeling as if you will never get better at it. Practice holding on to the faith and trust that you have cultivated. Don’t fight the negative thoughts that will inevitably creep in, and don’t be upset when you lose the moment. Remember, this is just a practice. But when you’ve lost it (and once again, it’s okay if you do), re-center yourself and begin again. This time, you might hold on a little longer. Next time, maybe longer still. Work on staying in trust and faith a little more each time, so soon you’ll find yourself there more and more often in your daily life and calling it up at will. The goal is progress, not perfection.

 

Online Theatre Resources

Online Theatre Resources

 

Theatre does not live only in the classroom. As the great William Shakespeare wrote in his play, As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage”. So we want to give you some resources to help you transform your world into your very own theatrical stage!

 

ONLINE CLASSES

Lincoln Center at Home

Hold tight to your connection with the arts with The Lincoln Center. They are offering daily classes for kids, teens, and families as well as videos of performances to enjoy with the whole family. Learn more about Lincoln Center at Home here.

CalendarKiddo

This amazing resource curates a number of different activities for kids and families. In a neat and easy to use calendar, you can see what events are available each day to keep theater alive in your home. They offer a range of dance, music, and theater classes. See more about CalendarKiddo here.

New Victory Arts Break

What a wonderful thing to take a break each day and play around in the world of art. Join New Victory Theatre Company in a little break from your work or school day and learn a new skill! They offer ideas for parents to incorporate performing arts into online learning. Each week they focus on different art forms including acrobatics, tap dancing, set and costume design, and more guided by New Victory Teaching Artists. Get involved with New Victory Arts Break today!

STORYTIME

#SaveWithStories

Hop on over to Instagram to hear some of your favorite celebrities read beautiful stories. The account @SaveWithStories was created to enhance children’s learning and provide stories to kids during the pandemic. Cuddle with your little one and enjoy stories like “3 Little Monkies” read by Benedict Cumberbatch and more.

Storyline

Reading aloud to children has been shown to improve reading, writing and communication skills, logical thinking and concentration, and general academic aptitude, as well as inspire a lifelong love of reading. With this in mind, Storyline was created! Storyline Online is available 24 hours a day for children, parents, caregivers, and educators worldwide. Join celebrities like Chris Pine for wonderful stories and amazing illustrations then print the activity guide to supplement learning. Learn more about Storyline here.

#OperationStoryTime

If you search the hashtag #OperationStoryTime on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube you will find a wonderful world of stories! Readers open up a world of magic through books right in your very own living room.

PERFORMANCES

La MaMa Kids Online

La MaMa Theatre Company is live streaming and offering video on-demand versions of short plays that are perfect for kids. They open up an amazing world of imagination through puppetry! Watch La MaMa Kids Online today.

Shakespeare’s Globe

If you love Shakespeare, then you do not need to travel to London to see the breathtaking performances at the Globe Theatre. They offer performances to download, stream, rent, or buy through their website all at a very reasonable price point. They are also creating a series of video projects that you can peruse through. Check it out here today.

Watch Musicals From Home

Broadway World has put together an incredible list of all of the musicals (157 to be exact) that you can stream from home. From Disney’s Descendents to classics like The King and I, there is a musical for everyone! Gather the family, grab your snacks, and settle in for a family theatre night. Find your favorites here.

We are taking on the challenge of being apart physically but through theatre, we are never truly alone! Theatre lives inside each of us and will keep uniting us even through the darkest times. No matter what, keep creating, keep strong, and shine your light bright!

Keeping Kids Sun-Safe This Summer

Keeping Kids Sun-Safe This Summer

Keeping Kids Sun-Safe This Summer

 

Summer has officially started, and we bet your kids are spending as much time as possible having fun in the sun in your backyard. While many people think of sunscreen primarily as a tool for pool days or beach trips, if kids are spending time outdoors, sun safety should be a concern no matter where they are.

The CDC states that even a few sunburns can increase a child’s risk of skin cancer later in life, but thankfully, there are many ways you can prioritize sun safety anywhere your children are playing outdoors. Keep reading for some of our top tips.

How to Keep Kids Safe From the Sun

Encourage activities in the shade. The best way to stay safe from the sun is by not being exposed to it at all, but that does not mean you have to keep your kiddos indoors! UV rays are the most harmful in the middle of the day, so this is a great time to encourage activities in the shade. If your children are making use of your backyard, you could even consider adding some shade in creative ways if it tends to be on the sunny side.

Always apply sunscreen. Every time children are planning on playing outside, apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before they head out and reapply every two hours. It is best to choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and contains protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It is also recommended to apply a chapstick that has SPF in it as well to protect the vulnerable skin of the lips.

Let kids pick a sun hat they love. Hats offer great protection to the face, the scalp, the neck and the vulnerable skin on the tops of the ears. Letting your children pick out their own sun hats is a great way to get them excited about wearing one and encourage sun safety at the same time. While ball caps are often a popular choice, encourage them to pick something with a wider brim for extra protection.

For a completely sun-safe activity, indoor drama classes are a great choice! Contact us today to learn more about enrollment options.

Drama Kids July 1 2020 Blog

Summer Fun in Your Own Backyard

Drama Kids July 1 2020 Blog

 

When the weather heats up and the humidity is high, backyard fun takes on a slightly different look than it has in the temperate spring and summer months. Even when it might be too hot for regular outdoor playing activities, there are some solutions to getting the kids outdoors in the summer that will not leave them panting.

With these backyard activities and games, your children are sure to remember this as one of the most exciting summers yet!

Safe Ideas for Getting Kids Outside During the Summer

While there are certain concerns with outdoor activities in the summer, such as heat exhaustion and sunburns, these activities should be safe as long as you follow proper precautions!

Swap the kiddie pool for water toys. While kiddie pools are a classic, they are not the most interactive toys and the endless filling and emptying to keep the water clean can certainly get old for parents, too! That being said, water activities are a great tool to cool off during the summer heat, so consider more creative ways to implement them into the fun. Water balloons, inflatable water pillows and water obstacle courses are all fun ways to cool off as long as everyone is super safe about SPF.

Catch and release lightning bugs. Lightning bugs are out in full force right now, and chasing them down can be a great activity for summer as it will take place long after the heat of the day has subsided. Teach your children how to gently catch them, marvel at their light and then release them back into the wild to carry on about their business.

Move your morning crafts outside. While some days are sweltering from beginning to end, you can often take advantage of the more temperate mornings by moving your regular indoor activities onto the porch or patio. Having a morning crafting session making use of outdoor materials such as pinecones or leaves is a great way to get outside before the sun becomes unbearable.

With our online drama classes, your child won’t have to leave home to have a great time! Learn about our enrollment options and get started today.

At-Home Activities to Build Your Child’s Social Skills

 

Social development is an extremely important part of growing up, and every childhood experience reinforces the things they are learning as they go.

When children are going to school, interacting on the playground or attending playdates, social skills are something they are developing all the time—but what about when you’re experiencing a quiet time in life and your children are at home? The good news is, there are still ways to help your kids build their social skills, even when they aren’t necessarily being social themselves!

Ideas for Building Children’s Social Skills From the Home

Considering the perspectives of others. Watching TV or movies as a family is a great way to spend quality time together, especially when you add in this perspective-building activity. During scenes between characters, hit the pause button and ask your kids to postulate at what the characters are feeling. This allows them to think about perspectives and can help them develop empathy toward others’ experiences.

Get in character. Starting an activity that involves you and your child getting into different characters is a great way to boost his or her social skills and drama skills in one fell swoop. Come up with exciting characters with your child and act out different social scenarios each scene. This is a subtle yet effective way to reinforce etiquette and manners while still allowing your child to guide the game.

Play “Would You Rather?” Playing rounds of “Would You Rather?” is an effective and versatile tool, as you can do this nearly anywhere. Your kids will stay entertained as they weigh the pros and cons of each scenario, and you can encourage them to think through their answers with followup questions for explanations.

Create short story prompts. Make a list of story prompts that involve memories or events your child can tell you about—think topics such as a favorite holiday or best summer memory. Pick a prompt, set a timer and have your child tell a story. Once it is over, provide him or her with a summary to show you were actively listening, and react to specific emotions brought up in the story to provide an example of empathy and understanding.

With our virtual classes, your child can practice drama and social skills from the safety of your home! Contact us to learn more about enrollment options.

Enjoy Some Bonding Time With These Family Crafts

 

For children, crafting is a multipurpose exercise—they can work on them alone to learn a variety of skills and stay entertained, or it is something you can do as a family to bond and spend some time together being creative.

Collaborative crafting is a great bonding tool and will allow both you and your child to get your imagination working and create something fun together! Here are the top crafts we suggest for parents to do with their children:

Crafts You and Your Child Can Do Together

Paper Plate Hats for Special Occasions. It is amazing what can be made simply from paper plates and markers! By shaping and coloring in the middle of a paper plate, you and your children can create bunny ears for Easter, balloons for birthdays or any other fun thing the two of you can dream up together.

Throw a Pasta Painting Party. With some paints (or markers), construction paper and pasta shapes, you and your children can craft some seriously upgraded macaroni art! Paint directly onto the pasta and then glue to construction paper and draw a scene around it. This is a collaborative activity that requires plenty of creativity on both of your parts.

Create Custom Sponge Stamps. You can transform a pack of dollar store sponges into hours of fun by cutting them into custom stamp shapes to decorate poster board with. Some fun ideas could be animals, paw prints, people or anything else you and your little one can come up with!

Sock Puppet Theater Production. The sock puppet production is a classic for a reason! Use googly eyes, pipe cleaners and anything else you can think of to create a band of sock puppets, then you and your child can come up with characters and a storyline to put on a full play—and as a bonus, this is a great way to help children practice the drama skills they have learned in class!

Popsicle Stick Picture Frames. Colors and decoration abound with this idea! Glue popsicle sticks together in the size of photo print-outs and have a contest to see who can decorate theirs the best.

Ready to enroll your child in a super fun extracurricular activity? Check out our drama classes for kids to see what is currently enrolling!