Even before graduating in 2010, MFA in Acting students Chad Rasor, Kaja Dunn and Ryan Clemens found themselves putting their acting skills to work. Just a few miles from Regent University's campus in Virginia Beach, Va., is Studio Center, the largest, fastest growing production company of its kind in the country.
Founded in 1966, Studio Center was one of the first production studios to specialize in broadcast advertising. Because of its proximity and Regent's outstanding reputation, a number of Regent students have had opportunities to audition with and work for Studio Center over the last several years.
All three graduates have had success with broadcast advertising—Rasor in voiceover work and Clemens and Dunn in on-camera acting. "It's been a great opportunity because it's really taking those skills we learned in the classroom and taking them into the workplace and recognizing how those lessons we've learned in the Regent classroom work in a professional environment," Clemens explained.
Clemens worked on a number of commercials produced by Studio Center, including ads for auto sales and bath fixtures. His most memorable project was a Virginia Lottery commercial that ran throughout the state.
The chance to do voiceovers has Rasor in markets like Jacksonville, Fla., where he is the primary voice for the Jacksonville Zoo. He's also provided voice for B&H, a company selling camera and video equipment, E-Z-Go, a golf cart company, and recently did a commercial for the New Jersey Devils hockey team.
For Dunn, Studio Center gave her the chance to work at some interesting locations. "My favorite shoot was a week in Alaska on a cruise ship," she said. "I was working with this great crew from all over the world. Also, I had one crazy shoot in Manhattan where I had another engagement, so I flew in for one day, shot, and then was in another part of the country that night."
The work these alumni received reinforced what they learned in the classroom and gave them more confidence in their careers.
Among his current projects, Rasor also teaches theatre classes for Theatrix (a company specializing in musical theatre training for middle and high school performers) and assists in Regent's stage combat classes. Clemens is the Director of Theatre Education for the Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, Va. Dunn is currently directing at a new play festival and teaching workshops at Cal State San Marcos. She is also teaching with Young Audiences and Playwrights Project at five different schools in San Diego.
Just a year after graduating from Regent, Clemens saw that the MFA in Acting program prepared him in ways he didn't expect. "It presented an atmosphere of collaboration," he said of the program. "It's much more about sharing the spirit of success in the arts ... What Regent offers is a community and a spiritual base so that you can get into the business and know who you are."
"You have no idea what the future's going to bring," Rasor said. "You make plans and God has a way of taking them away from you and giving you something better that you didn't know you needed or wanted to begin with."