Strain sisters to hold film workshop

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Moviemakers Kat and Karissa Strain, centre, are pictured here with fellow identical twins Nicole Ostropolec and Danielle Wells, owners of The Studio Sisters. The Strains are holding a film and television workshop in The Studio Sisters’ studio next month.

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A workshop designed to give aspiring actors a leg up in the film and television industry will be offered by the Sisters Strain July 10-11 in Chatham.

The two-day intensive allows twins Kat and Karissa Strain to share their experience with people of all ages looking to become actors.

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the industry, the Chatham-born thespians said they wanted to offer local residents a chance to learn about acting close to home.

The twins, who have recently completed their semi-autobiographical feature film “Call of the Blackbird,” will be sharing advice on topics such as audition etiquette, trade secrets and industry expectations.

Participants will learn how to prepare a script and self-tape at home, and will go through a filmed mock audition, after which they will receive a filmed demo tape. The workshop also includes a professional headshot session with Nicole Leigh Photography and hair and makeup touch ups with Dani Lynn Artistry.

“We want people to leave with something tangible as well as with the tools,” Karissa explained.

As young teens, the twins had to travel to Toronto and beyond to attend expensive acting workshops to hone their skills.

“We had to have our parents drive us to Toronto with pricing that was $400 to $600 for the workshops alone and then the headshots on top of it,” Kat said.

“We had zero idea of what to expect when we first went to auditions,” Karissa added, noting they want attendees to be able to excel.

The sisters started their careers at age 14, working as body doubles for Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. They moved to Toronto at age 17, working in a wide range of roles for 10 years. They then moved onto Los Angeles for two years before returning to Chatham in 2021.

The twins are happy to offer their knowledge of what it takes in front of – and behind – the camera, right here at home.

“You don’t have to be in a big city to make beautiful art,” Kat said. “If you’re the right person with the right passion, you can accomplish a lot.”

“Call of the Blackbird” has been submitted to the Toronto International Film Festival and the Strains will find out in August if the festival accepts the film. The feature-length movie was filmed in Chatham last year with the sisters spending the winter in post-production.

To find out more about the workshop, including price, email contact@sistersstrain.com. Subsequent workshops will be held if the need is there.

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