When Sudbury native Melissa Smith was trying to break into the show business as a teen, she often had to travel to Toronto several times a week.
That's because at the time, there wasn't much of a film or television industry to speak of in the city, and young actors had to go elsewhere.
But the industry has picked up in recent years, and 22-year-old Smith, now a Toronto casting agent, opened her own training facility for actors — MAS Acting Studios — in Sudbury last week.
The Sudbury Secondary School graduate said her business, which has so far hired three people, will offer classes, seminars and private coaching for people who want to learn what it takes to be an actor.
She offers training for kids, teens and adults in areas such as acting for the camera, audition dynamics and voice-over dynamics.
“When I come up here to cast these feature films, we're hiring locals — everyday people from Sudbury,” Smith said.
“So we want to make sure locals get the opportunities that are available in Toronto, and training is such an important aspect of being an actor.”
As a casting director, Smith said one of the first things she looks at on an actor's resume is the training they've had.
“Getting some theoretical knowledge behind you is wonderful,” Smith said.
So far, there's been a great response to the new service, she said.
MAS Acting Studios is located at 887 Notre Dame Ave. To learn more about the business, phone 705-222-9550, visit www.masactingstudios.com or search for “MAS Acting Studios” on Facebook.