Sophie Ann Rooney is a writer, filmmaker, actor known for her work as a director for the film Fallen Fighter, and Netflix's series Daniel Spellbound which she also served as casting director. Her directing for Ubisoft's ASSASSIN'S CREED ODYSSEY was considered for a BAFTA Award for Performance and received numerous awards including nomination for Game Of The Year in 2018. Sophie's Fallen Fighter was awarded the Kodak award for Best Film, screened globally at over 20 film festivals, including Oscar Qualifying Chicago International Children's Film Festival and became a part of the Chicago school board's film studies program, and Sophie continues to direct music videos and has several film & tv projects in development. As an actor, Sophie is known for her work as Margot in CTV Sci-fi Channel | Prime Video's GRAND STAR directed by Paolo Barzman. Her theatre highlights include the Paris premiere The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman, Where's My Money? by John Patrick Shanley and The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard. Sophie was born in Aix-En-Provence, France, and love for film comes from the countless hours as a family going to the cinema and watching Canal +. Sophie was introduced to acting/coaching by Italian-American actress Amy Werba, who soon became her mentor. Sophie travelled to the UK on scholarship to attend The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and Oxford School of Speech & Drama, returning to Paris to study at L'Atelier de Blanche Salant, and to attend the prestigious international film school of Paris - EICAR. Sophie is heavily featured in Werba's book 'Be Your Own Coach' - The Drama Book Shop NY. Sophie has worked with Korn producer Ross Robinson as a session singer for french rock-hip-hop group Enhancer for their tour with Limp Bizkit, and worked as a performance coach for Moulin Rouge Premiere dancers, and bands including The Great Lake Swimmers. Sophie was the founding artistic director & owner of Sterling Studio Theatre, where she actively contributed to the company's mission to be a creative hub for artists. Producing 23 plays in the span of 2.5 years and being the launchpad for her friends' company Blood Brothers Brewing. Sophie's coaching career commenced at The American University of Paris, through Vancouver and landing in Toronto where she, with several coaches, shares what she knows to continue to launch the careers of many Toronto actors and directors at RAW Actor Studio Inc. as the founder-coach.
Grisha Pasternak is a filmmaker, mentor and artist as well as the Head of Operations at RAW. Grisha teaches the technical side of the acting profession to give actors the proper tools to help with effective and efficient preparation. Grisha studied film at TMU and went on to do multiple shorts, music videos, spec commercials with feature films on the horizon. He is also a 14 year member of the industry as an actor and uses his experiences in front and behind the camera to help actors understand their responsibilities and empower them to rise to the occasion in the professional world. Grisha believes that learning how to read and understand Story and your role in it is critical for any hope of longevity and consistency in this industry. Grisha's aim as a mentor is to guide and build the actors' toolkit in a way that allows for autonomy in their work and constant refinement of skills. Everyone is capable of transforming from beginner to professional, insecure to empowered, scared to confident. Grisha gives the tools for that transformation. As an actor, due to the natural intensity of his looks, Grisha has made a career of playing bad guys and boy has he enjoyed it! In his spare time he is working on his golf swing and disappearing into a plethora of his eclectic interests. "It doesn't matter if they are new to acting or just looking for a fresh perspective. The team at RAW will challenge, encourage and motivate anyone to better themselves. Grisha is an incredible teacher. He has given me the tools to continue to develop my process and hone my craft because his approach to the work is so detailed." -Alumni Student
Jessica Watson (she/her) is a Dialect Coach and the head of RAW's Rising Stars Youth Acting Program. She developed and teaches RAW's American Dialects class, and offers private coaching to dialect students and actors 6-18. Jessica received her masters in acting at LAMDA in the UK, where she focused on classical acting, stage combat, and dialect work. She is certified to a native standard in multiple accents, including Received Pronunciation (RP) and General American. While at LAMDA, she began working with Stagecoach Performing Arts, and has now been teaching young actors for over five years, helping them gain confidence, learn new skills, and become more well-rounded, set-ready artists. Jessica is a firm believer that the arts enrich lives, helping students of all ages to discover their voice, develop their confidence, and gain valuable social and presentational skills that will help them in any situation. Children are the future, and she is passionate about helping them to understand their voices are important and their stories worth telling. Jessica enjoys writing, traveling to and exploring new places, and tending to her many, many plants. "I like Jessica's teaching style, and we love her as a coach! She’s truly amazing — my son booked a feature film after working with her!” — Rising Stars Parent
Leighton Alexander Williams
Filmmaker and Mentor
Jennifer Hui is the Wellness Director at RAW. Living as an artist extends beyond acting. The wellness department provides a place where actors can stretch their artistry into other disciplines and a place to build and maintain their instrument as an actor. Jennifer is a 500hr hatha, 40hr restorative yoga instructor and a 40hr certified sound healer. She previously studied at The Boston Conservatory for opera and is passionate about using music and movement to heal. Jennifer believes that every artist has a responsibility to take care of their instrument in order to keep their work honest and to help them grow. Notable acting credits include Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Dreamworks’ Pinecone & Pony, Spencer Sisters, Sugar Daddy and Ubisoft’s For Honor. Jennifer enjoys camping, hiking with her dog Thunder and making music.
Rising Stars Youth Coach
Cinematographer // RAW Reels
Camera Opp // RAW Reels
Head of Class Development/Social Media Madison Caan (she/her) is in charge of class promotion and social media at RAW. As an actor, Madison has repeatedly participated in The Master, The Audition, and The Pro courses at RAW, which assist in her personal career goals as well as her duties as a liaison for new students. Madison Caan enjoys reading plays, attending local film festivals, and connecting with artists in our community.