Lights, camera, action! Preteens discover joys of acting in camp
Instructor Nancy Moore smiles as she repeats her oft-asked question: “What’s your biggest tool?” Her students eagerly respond as one: “Imagination!”
The assembled teens and preteens in her class at College of the Mainland Learning Center-North County in League City are ready to put their imaginations to work as they practice dramatic skills for stage and camera.
Soon a scene from the Wizard of Oz springs to life as the witch reaches for Dorothy’s shoes. In another sketch, the enigmatic Cheshire Cat grins impishly at Alice.
“It’s not about memorizing lines. It’s the feeling,” said Moore.
After practicing dramatic scenes for the stage, students face the camera with brief “commercials.”
“I like your voice. Confide to your friend. Put yourself in your room,” Moore advises a girl advertising her favorite potato chips to her friend sitting off-camera.
She coaches budding actors in how to audition, improvise and act alone and with a partner. Students also discover the subtle differences between on-stage and on-camera performances.
“On stage you can do it bigger. You have your whole body. On camera you have only your eyes,” instructs Moore.
A member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and playwright, Moore is popular with her students.
“She’s hilarious,” Morgan Woolery, 12, said.
During the camp, the students have become close.
“The first day I was scared. Then I met her,” Mynon Parnell, 12, said nodding to Morgan.
“We became friends,” Morgan interrupted.
They have also discovered the joys – and challenges – of acting.
“When I first came I thought that it would be easy,” Mynon said. After learning more about auditioning and acting, Mynon, who has modeled previously, is determined to test her new skills.
“I’m going to try everything in my power to do this,” she said. “You have to work, put in the effort, but it’s fun.”
Continuing education classes for teens and adults this fall are now registering. Classes are offered at the COM Learning Center-North County, main campus in Texas City and COM Learning Center-Delmar. For a full schedule, visit www.com.edu/ce or call 281-332-1800.