We are making headlines as “The Herald” covers Acting Out Studio and interviews Emily Ussery, director of the Fort Mill studio, on the opening of the studio as well as the students that attend. Read the article below for comments from Ussery.
Some local kids are acting out in class – and their parents and teachers couldn’t be happier.
Acting Out Studio, a comprehensive acting studio bringing “Hollywood to the Southeast,” opened in Baxter Village in January. The business also has locations in South Charlotte and Huntersville, N.C.
“The kids are so hungry for the opportunity to be in the arts,” said Emily Ussery, director of the Fort Mill studio.
Ussery suggested to her boss, owner Kamber Hejlik, that Fort Mill would be a great spot to open up a new location.
Baxter has indeed turned out to be an “ideal” spot for the year-round studio, Ussery said. The business employs working actors and welcomes children, teens and adults of all experience levels.
Acting, improv and film classes are offered, as well as private instruction, audition taping and industry workshops. The first semester of classes wrapped up at the end of May. Summer camps – with offerings such as “Make Your Own Movie,” “Star Wars,” and “Breaking into the Biz” – begin in early June and feature a different theme each week. Modeling and theater classes will be offered beginning in the fall.
Callie Mann, 8, started at Acting Out when she was 4-years-old. Her mother, Michelle, said she has seen an increase in her daughter’s confidence level as a result.
“Public speaking has been a great thing to come out of here,” Michelle said.
Callie wants to be an actress and is auditioning for roles and learning what it takes to succeed in the business. Acting Out Studio has played a big role in that, the Mann’s said.
“It gets you ready to go out into the world and be who you are,” Callie said.
“The great thing about it is she’s mastering what she wants to do and she’ll be ready when it comes,” Michelle said.
The school has dozens of success stories, with students starring in commercials for Visa, NASCAR, Harris Teeter, Alka-Seltzer and JC Penney. Students have also appeared in TV shows and movies such as “The Mentalist,” “Austin & Allie,” “A Haunting” and “Bad Grandpa.”
Acting Out hosts an awards show each year called “The Actees” where students showcase their talent before family and friends and industry professionals. Film students also produce feature length movies and watch their productions at movie theater film screenings and travel to compete in film festivals. You can even walk the red carpet at a “Hollywood Birthday Party” at the studio.
“They’re so energetic,” Ussery said of her students. “It’s a good kind of energy, because they’re so supportive of each other.”
“This is absolutely part of my dream job,” said Ussery, an actress and model originally from Tega Cay. Ussery, who now resides in Fort Mill, attended Fort Mill High before transferring to and graduating from the South Carolina Governor’s School For The Arts and Humanities. She worked in New York before relocating back to the Fort Mill area and appeared in commercials for Oscar Meyer and NASCAR.
“You never know if some teacher at a studio in Fort Mill, South Carolina will say something that will change the trajectory of a student’s life, in a positive way.”
“At the end of the day, all we have is our kids. Whether our flesh and blood kids, or the next generation. So investing in that is absolutely a dream,” Ussery said.