Starved for intelligent entertainment?
While we can’t all get together around a table, we can read face to (digital) face in a video chat room. If you’re familiar with the technology, a chat room read’s the same as any other, as described in How It Happens
- Pick a play,
- set a date and time (a week in advance),
- invite some friends (RSVP),
- download and email scripts to those responding, and
- open the room.
If you’re already using a chat room, you know the routine. Otherwise, what follows is my limited understanding of digital communication.
To video-chat, you need a computer (laptop, tablet, phone) equipped with a video display, a camera, a microphone, a speaker, and a free account with one of the several providers of chat rooms. Most prominent is ZOOM, but it’s only free for forty minutes; more that that is $15/mo. Messenger Rooms and Google Meet are free and limitless.
Since Cold Reads/Online is a Facebook group, we use its product.
Here’s a step by step guide:
- As the appointed time approaches, select a Facebook friend on Messenger and click the blue camera icon in the upper right corner of the page.ORGo to that friend’s Facebook page, click the ellipses (. . .) on the far right under the banner, and select Video Chat.Just like a phone call, without the numbers. Your friend’s device will ring until he or she answers or you give up and try another friend,
- Once you establish communication with one friend, click the screen to reveal a taskbar at the bottom with an icon (+) to add members.
- As readers enter the room, confirm that all can both see and hear, and use the Chat function to transmit the link to the script.
That’s in. Three steps. Readers may choose to print out scripts, open them on another second device, or split the screen on one. Guidelines for various methods are posted in Category Online Reads/Setup.
Stayed tuned for fine tuning.