Picture’s Up Academy


Picture’s Up Academy is proposing to present a membership based, self-paced, non-linear, online video-based curriculum for students wanting to learn more about the acting, modeling and fashion business.

Picture’s Up is a key term that crew members say on set.  It’s phrase to signal and alert the cast and crew on set that cameras are almost set to start to roll and shoot an actual take. We chose Picture’s Up as the name of this class because we thought it was apropos. Why? Because both models and actors alike have to be ready when the camera is ready to roll.  And there’s a lot more than a smile that goes into that. Picture’s Up is an online acting and modeling curriculum.

We are living in an extraordinary and unprecedented time.  The film and television industry is about having a voice and telling our stories.  Producers, directors and commercial clients need people to tell those stories.  Picture’s Up gives a diverse group of performers the tools not only to do that, but to build viable careers.

  • Mission Statement: Our mission is to deliver an unparalleled educational experience and a foundational base to anyone who dreams of being a model or actor.  We intend to provide quality, easily accessible, experiential advice that engages and informs.
  • Vision: To ensure that every person who wants to be an actor or model is well equipped to follow their dreams in the entertainment arena.

Relevant Websites and Videos:

Social Media:

Instagram: picturesupacademy
Facebook: picturesupacademy


Valerie Rose headshotValerie Rose

Valerie Rose is an award-winning actor, producer, director, screenwriter, model/ voice over talent , author, and the CEO and founder of Roses Are READ Productions LLC and Picture’s Up Academy, LLC,  Rose served for seven years as Editor-in-Chief for Inside Region 3, a U.S. government publication.  She has authored a number of books including Cappuccino in the WinterThe Family Reunion Is Not a Real Vacation (featuring The Triangleheads), Dream Your Dream: Getting Your Writing Out There! and the Minnesota Book Award nominee, You Better Recognize!  A Spiritual Guide Because Life’s a Trip!

Rose is an Atlanta Acting Awards recipient and has appeared in a number of films including, BlackDear White PeopleTuscaloosa, and The Hunter, among others. She has also worked in television, appearing in ABC’s In An Instant,  Oprah’s GreenleafDynastyStarChicago P.D. and The Chi, among others. Rose is an Eckhart Tolle scholarship winner and she was also a principal actor in the 2018 Emmy nominated, Grandbaby, produced by Josh Mundahl. Rose was also principal talent in “Find the Prince in You” from Paisley Park.

Rose is also the creative concept developer and producer for Hope Sessions, The Pink VisitorThe Triangleheads, and City Solace, among others. She also produced Just Escape, which aired on Minneapolis Television Network. Her films have screened at festivals nationally and around the world,  including, NewFilmmakers New York,  Colorado Front RangeCittadella GeoThe Twin Cities Black Film FestivalDiversity Film and Script Showcase,  Indiewise, and The Fifty 50 at the Theatres at the Mall of America (MOA).  Her films are award winning films.  At the Fifty 50, her film, The Pink Visitor garnered the Best Actress Award.  Her first documentary, Hope Sessions, was runner up for Best Picture and won Best Sound and Best Trailer. In the development of these projects, Rose wore many hats including executive producer, producer, director, casting director, cast member and screenwriter. Her films are in international distribution with Vuulr. Rose’s last film was selected for inclusion in the 2020 Cannes Short Film Festival.

Rose graduated with a B.S. from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she majored in Computer Science and minored in Management Information Systems.

Learn more about Valerie Rose via her website at or in her personal introduction.

Picture’s Up Academy Advisors

Cristóbal Krusen headshotCristóbal Krusen

Cristóbal Krusen was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, the third of four children. Early in life, he showed a keen interest in literature, reading many of the classics while still in grade school and cherishing the ambition that one day he would become a writer. He entered Harvard University in 1971, majoring in English literature, intent on making his mark as a poet and novelist. A growing interest in photography and filmmaking, however, led him to transfer to New York University where he changed majors and graduated with a BFA in Film and Television in 1976. He later attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where he received his MFA in Film in 1989.

Cristóbal founded Messenger Films in 1988 and has worked as a writer/director of film and television ever since, helming productions in more than twenty countries. He is best known for Final Solution, More Than Dreams, Undaunted, Sabina K. and most recently, Let Me Have My Son (currently in production). Over the last several years, Cristóbal has also begun fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a writer. He is the author of Undaunted, They Were Christians, and Let Me Have My Son.

Working in multiple languages, Cristóbal is known for a poetic visual style and the ability to draw intimate performances from actors. Above all, he is a “story-teller” who delights to engage his audience while addressing the deepest needs of the human heart.

Maya Washington headshotMaya Washington

Maya Washington is a filmmaker (writer/director/producer), actress, writer, poet, Creative Director, and arts educator. She received a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Southern California and an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University. Her work has garnered awards or fellowships from Commercial Directors Diversity Program, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Minnesota Film and Television, and others.




David Buchanan headshotDavid Buchanan

David J. Buchanan is a Minneapolis-based writer/director whose work includes RIDESHARE, SEE YOU SOON, and the newly acclaimed feature film, BLACK. David started his career in documentary filmmaking at fourteen years old, and his work includes many localized stories around social justice. At fifteen, he won the Screenlabs Challenge Audience Award at Screenwriters’ Workshop, where he developed his screenplays. At twenty, he worked on his first commercial project, where he learned about the craft of lighting. He has written over 15+ feature films, 35+ shorts, worked on 300+ docs, 100+ commercials, and 20+ feature films.


Alexander Gutterman headshotAlexander Gutterman

Alexander Gutterman received his arts and academic education at  private and public institutions in New York City and New England at Calhoun School, Stuyvesant High School, and Dartmouth College.

As a child, he explored animation and live action filmmaking with school friends and held the lead in school plays, as well as regularly appearing in smaller supporting roles off broadway in NYC. After college, his interest in videography and film deepened, and he produced several public access TV shows while in Vermont, and directed shorts and a full-length documentary.

His approach to cinema is informed by a broad and deep liberal arts education including a multiply awarded Master of Philosophy, extensive work in poetry including several publications, journalism, painting, and the study of the great films and filmmakers, primarily in the European and Asian traditions.


Lynn Steele headshotLynn Steele

In 1984 Lynn Steele joined the Moore Creative Talent Agency as a talent agent. It was a boom time for models and actors in the Twin Cities, and sheI learned about the industry from being in the center of the activity.

That year Moore Creative received daily requests for punk rockers for a little movie being shot in the Twin Cities. The movie was called Purple Rain.  She would scout on her lunch breaks and then scour the town at night for punkers – and she loved it! That’s when she realized there was an opportunity to establish herself as a casting director.

A few years later, she and her husband set out on a year-long backpacking trip throughout Southeast Asia. he worked as a travel writer for newspapers and magazines, and she was the photographer. She was intrigued by the fascinating people they encountered throughout their travels and mesmerized by their exotic faces. Every face told a story, which she attempted to capture through her lens. Her dream was to turn her passion for people – specifically interesting, unique, and memorable people – into her career.

In 1989, she opened Akerlind Steele Casting. The company was hired to cast many of the large films that came to town, including the three Mighty Ducks movies and Jingle All The Way, as well as local and national commercials.

Over time, she has refined her focus. In addition to typical castings, she likes to work on challenging projects, such as ‘real people’ castings and castings that call for unique and diverse people.

Gutterman’s first feature narrative film, In Winter, is slow, dreamlike, and deeply autobiographical. It addresses the universal human struggle with solitude and loss through a glimpse into the outwardly barren life of a young, inward, poetic woman living almost alone during a northern winter. In Winter, now available on Amazon Prime, was released in 2017 and is also distributed globally through Dreamscape Media and Synimatica.

Gutterman’s second feature project, The Hunter, is in post-production. The Hunter draws the audience into a philosophical labyrinth, confining the mind and emotions into more and more esoteric and restrictive spaces while at the same time offering a broad and expansive view of love, art, and the construction of meaning.

Susan Wehmann headshotSusan Wehmann

Susan began booking models for print advertising in 1980  after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota. In March of 1984, she opened Wehmann Models/Talent, Inc. Wehmann provides models, actors and children for commercial advertising and film. In 1985, she added a hair and makeup division and was also franchised by AFTRA. In 1990, Wehmann was awarded a SAG franchise, and now represents AFTRA and SAG members for TV, Radio, Industrial video and film. Wehmann booked models for print and worked under SAG/AFTRA contracts for 25 years. In 2010, Wehmann began representing actors for non-union work. Her agency has grown into an agency that has a national reputation for providing outstanding service and representing the very best in the business. “For me,” Susan says, “owning and leading Wehmann has been a gift beyond all measure. It has given me the opportunity to learn, grow, create and succeed.” Connect with Susan at [email protected]




Carol McCormick headshotCarol McCormick

Carol McCormick has enjoyed her career immensely as on camera agent and department head at Moore Creative Talent for almost 4 decades!  She has a BFA from Gustavus Adolphus with psychology and theater. She has provided talent for hundreds of commercials, non-broadcast training films, social media campaigns and at least 50 feature films, including Dick Tracy, Fargo, A Serious Man, A Simple Plan, I am not a Serial Killer, Beautiful Girls, and Wilson with Woody Harrelson!   She loves discovering new talent and providing that first opportunity for them.  In her spare time, she enjoys road trips of all kinds, her two very large dogs, reading a good mystery, and going to the theater!




Lorrie Lean headshotLorrie Lean

Lorrie Lean is an ESPN champion, former NBA, NFL & PRO BOWL cheerleader, emcee, host, fitness expert, first degree black belt, and brand ambassador. Originally from Chicago, Lorrie Lean lives in Minneapolis, where she is a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Weight-Loss Coach, and Life Coach. With over a decade of experience and background knowledge in the health and wellness industry, she teaches and trains athletes in fitness and dance. Lorrie Lean is also a CPR instructor, as well as an emcee and show host. She loves traveling and has been hosting international shows for over five years. Lorrie’s mission is to inspire everyone to get a LEANer, healthier and more balanced lifestyle. Go LEAN with Lorrie Lean! Lorrie Lean is available for corporate, group, and private training sessions, to present workshops, and emcee and host events. Get connected with Lorrie Lean on social media sites, just search ”Lorrie Lean”.



Richard Moody headshotRichard Moody

Richard Moody is an accomplished fashion show producer, model and actor. He has done principal work for the YMCA and was a principal actor in the 2018 Emmy nominated, Grandbaby, produced by Josh Mundahl.  He is also the owner of IamMoody productions. He has 25 years of experience in creating and producing events for companies and nonprofits. Whether you are launching a product, having a fundraiser, creating a fashion show or simply throwing a fabulous party, his team is there to create an experience for you and your guests. Connect with Richard at




Mark Bitner headshotMark Bitner

Mark Bitner is a photographer, videographer, producer, artist and U.S. Marines veteran. He has photographed Hillary Clinton and other dignitaries and was the official photographer at the Twin Cities Film Festival. Originally from North Dakota, Mark Bitner lives in Minnesota where he works for a major Financial Institution and pursues his life-long passion for creating

inspiring visual images. His travels have taken him to Australia, Africa, Asia, and Europe and add a unique perspective to his creative projects. Mark’s mission is to ‘Capture great moments of human interaction and share them with context’.

Connect with Mark T. Bitner on social media sites and view samples of his work at or Connect with Mark at


Deb Dowd headshotDeb Dowd

Deb Dowd is an accomplished model and actress who has done principal work for CVS, Schlitz, Medica, Grand Casino and the University of Minnesota, among others.




Lauren Kinkead headshotLauren Kinkead

Lauren Kinkead is an accomplished model, actress and producer. She has worked with John Candy in Summer Rental and with Stockard Channing in Lapham Rising.  She has also appeared in First and Ten, The Savvy Shopper, Divorce Court, Back to Black, and Dog Days of Bethal.







Irvine Kwende headshotIrvine Kwende

Irvine Kwende is an accomplished writer and the producer of #MISFITS.






Starlette Patterson Biddle headshotStarlette Patterson Biddle, PH.D., LP

President/CEO and Founder of MindStar Counseling, LLC is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Dr. Patterson-Biddle is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 15 years of clinical experience with children, youth, and families from diverse populations and backgrounds. Her capacity and ingenuity to engage clients into services that not only address the presenting problems but also major life hurdles demonstrate her contribution to enhancing the lives of those she serves. She received her clinical training with the VA Hospital and the surrounding
Milwaukee Area School Districts to govern herself with the highest standards of ethical principles of the profession and is driven by excellence, service, and outcomes. Her rare combination of outstanding assessment and counseling skills, ability to establish rapport, and knowledge of resources makes her an asset in the mental health community. She strongly believes in empowering, educating, and supporting the next generation through coaching and mentor-ship. She is a devoted and loving wife, mother, and daughter that believes there is power in creating a warm, nurturing, collaborative therapeutic environment.


Kweku Ramel Akyirefi Smith headshotKweku Ramel Akyirefi Smith, PH.D., LP

Dr. Smith is a licensed psychologist, popular motivational speaker, author and the producer and the host of Asque the BLAQUESMITH and The Unspeakable Truth on Milwaukee cable MATA Community Media. A show that helps to address the Mental Health issues of the community. He is also the first African-American sports psychologist in the NBA.




Geoff Jones headshotGeoff Jones

Geoff Jones is a performing arts professional that has enjoyed exploring many avenues in his artistic journey. He is a veteran in commercial talent work, and has also performed extensively in musical theatre, including featured roles in Black Nativity, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Lost In The Stars (Penumbra Theatre), The Soul of Gershwin (Park Square Theatre and Fort Lauderdale Playhouse), Mishegoss (Women’s Club of Minneapolis Theatre), Wild Swans (In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre), The Sounds of Blackness’ The Night Before Christmas (Guthrie, Fitzgerald, and State Theatres), and Amazing Grace (Illusion Theatre).

Geoff is a former touring vocalist with the three-time Grammy Award-winning music ensemble, the Sounds of Blackness. With them, he has performed internationally including at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Olympics and Soccer World Cup, The Tonight Show, Soul Train, Showtime at the Apollo, NAACP Image Awards and many other televised and live appearances. With the Sounds he has recorded on projects and performed with such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John, and numerous others. As a voice talent, Geoff lent his voice to the title character in the acclaimed Disney animated short feature John Henry, in their Tall Tales and Legends series.

Geoff also has a long career as a solo vocal artist and is an accomplished musical director and arranger, currently directing the Men of New Hope, a nine-member choral ensemble. In addition he enjoys work as a marketing consultant, spending time with family and volunteering for several organizations.


Lee H. Jordan headshotLee H. Jordan

Lee Henry Jordan is an accomplished filmmaker who lives in the Twin Cities, that began his career as an Extra’s Casting Representative for Walden Entertainment where he coordinated and directed the extras prior to filming on set for both Independent and Commercial Productions.

He began A Look Over Jordan & Company in 2004 where he served as a fashion consultant, created and taught fashion and image seminars, worked in commercial and independent filmmaking as an actor, model, casting director and filmmaker

Transitioning into exploring his personal film voice, lead him to create his first work, “We Turn The Page,” a project originally created for the Minneapolis Public Library Filmmaking Competition “Quiet On The Set”, that essentially became the springboard towards defining his prowess as a Writer/Producer/Director. The film was screened at the Twin Cities Black Film Festival in 2011 and the 2011″Quiet On the Set” competition at the historic Uptown Theater. The film touches on the struggle for African Americans to gain access to the public library system during the Civil Rights era.

Will Wright headshotWILL WRIGHT

Will Wright is the Principal of Wright’s Words, LLC, a story solutions firm based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. His writing, keynotes and related work should make audiences say “I’d never thought about *it* in that way before”.






Ellie Stahlmann headshotEllie Stahlmann

Professionally certified multi-media makeup artist Ellie Stahlmann came with an eager & relatable background helping others with skin care concerns working at Sephora in 2014. Passionate about helping others, and intrigued with the creativity using color theory with universal undertone & skin tones, she furthered her education by enrolling at Faces Etc. A Multi-Media Makeup School in 2017. Once graduated, she hit the ground running working on her first feature film. Ellie continues to freelance in the state of Minnesota working with film, fashion show runways, bridal, and print. Certified by the state of MN, Ellie has passed the required sanitation course as of 2020 to continue to practice her artistry safely.





Samantha Redmond headshotSAMANTHA REDMOND

Samantha Redmond is a model, actress, producer and landscape photographer. Her work has been exhibited at both the Eagan and Stillwater Art Fairs.  She has appeared in the films,  Dear White People, House of Tomorrow, The Pink Visitor, Hope Sessions, Let Me Have My Son and Temple, among others. Redmond’s commercial work includes clients such as Best Buy, Target, Aveda and Taco John’s among others.



Taylour Alexandria headshotTaylour Alexandria

Taylour Alexandria is a director and one of the producers of The Epicenter. She is a 22 year old musician, model, actress, producer and director who has appeared in commercial spots for The Timberwolves, Open Table, Blue Cross Blue Shield and a CBS Sports National Promo for NCAA. She also edited and produced the ‘Find the Prince In You” – Prince/Paisley Park audition video that won Valerie Rose the very coveted principal spot. Her film, The Epicenter, was selected for inclusion in the 2020 Cannes Short Film Festival. Alexandria has appeared in the films, Let Me Have My Son, The Pink Visitor, and Temple, among others. She is also the producer and co-producer of the short films Moment to Moment by Moment and Thugs, respectively.


Valerie Rose headshotValerie Rose

Valerie Rose is an award-winning actor, producer, director, screenwriter, model/ voice over talent , author, and the founder of Picture’s Up Academy, LLC.