Zoom classes are indeed a different kettle of fish from being in the classroom, and nothing quite equates to making a roomful of kids laugh, but my latest spate of Comic Art Masterclasses delivered long distance have been fun, and a reassuring indication that I might be able to keep working in this way until normality returns. This bunch of classes have included a birthday party with the most time-zone-diverse attendees ever, my very first self-set-up classes, and a couple of classes that technically haven't happened yet.
A phenomenon of the current season is the one-off class, or what would have been a half-day back in the days of travelling. These morning or afternoon session are easier to do than ever before. Indeed I could do one in Inverness in the morning and one in Cornwall in the afternoon, should the need arise. God, I do hope some needs arise in the new school term. This was for an after-school group organised by Surrey Explorers.
These novelties are from two classes that, sort of, haven't happened yet. I have pre-recorded three half hour classes to be shown to kids in Waltham Forest. I've done them exactly like my normal Zoom classes, filmed on my laptop, the difference being there are no actual kids present. So when it comes to the naming of the comic, I react as if they're shouting out suggestions - and I would love it if some of them actually do that - then I put the comic together as if they have. Whether the finished items will be sent to the kids I don't know, but the client has them. I did a class for 6 to 9 year olds, one for 8 to 11 year olds, and one for 11 - 15 year olds (which didn't include naming a comic).
The first Zoom classes that I've set up and promoted myself ended up well enough attended, and were well worth doing (though at time of writing, their successors aren't selling too well. It's an irony that, when I turn up at a remote art centre in the middle of nowhere, they've usually sold out 60 tickets. But with the whole world as my potential audience, I struggle to pull in a dozen at a time). The kids were from as far afield as Boston Massachusetts and, I only discovered afterwards, one lad in Kinshasa. It's the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and now I can say I've taught comics there.
I'm supposed to be doing two sessions for Bexley Libraries, but only one's happened so far. This was it.
And the class with the most widespread audience was this, for a 10th birthday party. The birthday boy and friends were in Abu Dhabi, with guests in Dubai, South Wales, Oxfordshire, and one lad all the way over in Sydney. For me it was midday, it was mid afternoon in Abu Dhabi, and for the lad in Australia, the two hour session finished at 11 o'clock at night.
The celebrities these seven groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Ariana Grande (twice), Robert Downey Junior, Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump (though those two shouldn't be counted cos they in the Waltham Forest classes, so I just pretended kids had suggested them), Donald Trump (once for real), and Stan Lee.