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Evolving role: Sol Acting Academy creates ‘online hub’ for film industry classes

Ron Weisberg and Chris Ranney have moved their acting classes online to stay connected to their students. (Courtesy of Sol Acting Academy)

The film industry came to a screeching halt in mid-March.

That left many, including Ron Weisberg and Chris Ranney, scrambling to take their business model online.

As the co-owners of Sol Acting Academy, the pair worked diligently to put classes online.

“We basically switched our company to an online hub for training above the line,” Weisberg says. “For writers and actors, we have voice-over and screenwriting programming. The industry has begun to cast from self-tapes now, so we’re giving actors an opportunity to learn how to do it correctly.”

With the curriculum now online, meetings are held through FaceTime, Zoom or Facebook video chat.

“It’s a new frontier, and we’re trying to navigate it, just as everyone else is,” Weisberg says.

Ranney says that before the closure of nonessential businesses, Sol Acting Academy was flying high.

“A lot of our clients were booking on various shows,” Ranney says. “Our in-person classes were full, and actors were getting so much out of it. We could see it changing people. It’s been so satisfying to see them succeed. A lot of the actors were also able to get agents.”

Sol is putting together a six-week program that includes six one-on-one sessions.

“During FaceTime, we go through the business and technique,” Weisberg says. “I can see people changing right before my eyes. There’s a lot of information in there.”

Sol is also putting it’s four-week screenwriting program online. The program takes writers through the nuts and bolts how to organize and write.

“The classes for voice-over will be done on Zoom,” he says.

Weisberg says that while people are staying at home more, Sol is doing an audiobook writing contest.

Those interested can submit a five-page short story.

“We’re going to produce them,” he says. “We’ll have some of our actors who are training to voice the script. It’s a free contest. We want to get New Mexicans writing and expressing themselves through these dark times. We’re hoping that this gives people something to do while we wait for things to get back to order.”

Isolation and communication are the themes. The deadline is April 18.

More information can be found at solacting.com.

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