Manual students and alumni working in films

Manual students and alumni working in films

Maya Joshi

Many students hope to gain the skills at Manual to help them break into the creative scene as actors, writers, photographers and more. Many harbor dreams of making it big in their various fields of interest. For Manual alumna Natalie Rich (Class of 2009) and current student Cory Regrut (10, YPAS), those dreams are coming true.

Rich graduated from YPAS and went to the University of Evansville in Indiana. A year after graduating from Evansville, she made her way to New York City to search for acting opportunities.

“I didn’t think about it very much. I was just like, ‘Yes, I’m going to be an actor, and I’m going to go to YPAS and I’m going to go to theater school, and then I’m going to go to New York and be an actor,’ and that was always my path in my head,” Rich said.

When it came to producing her own works, she had a similar plan. Rich partnered with a friend, Max Reinhardsen, to write, direct and star in their web-series The Weekend Detectives.

Rich and Reinhardsen first connected at the Williamstown Theater Festival, a summer program for young actors located in Mass.

“We knew we wanted to do something funny, something that was our own, something we could write and self produce, which seemed kind of like the most reasonable goal at the time,” Rich said.

The Weekend Detectives is a comedy series aimed at mature audiences and centered around Alex (Reinhardsen) and Alice (Rich), the twin children of a deceased police chief. Working as part-time detectives, they handle the cases that nobody else cares about. The series is full of slapstick mayhem and subtle running gags, and is short enough to watch in an afternoon. Season 1 can be found on the Cookrat Productions Vimeo.

As with any artist, it’s good to get a head start when it comes to hands-on experience. Some Manual students begin professionally acting while in high school. Regrut has earned a starring role in “Musical Madness,” an independent film created by Manual alum J.J. O’Hearn (Class of 2010) based off of Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Tell Tale Heart.”

Regrut had previously acted in theatre for YPAS and other organizations. He briefly talked about the differences between acting on camera and performing for a live audience.

“Onstage, you have to to be a lot bigger in your emotions,” Regrut said. “When I first started doing the filming, I was really big, not really realizing that it’s on camera.”

O’Hearn wrote and produced “Musical Madness” through Emerald Shamrock Studios, which he owns. “Musical Madness” will premiere sometime this year at a film festival.