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Published June 24, 2011, 10:50 PM

Karlstad, MN, Native Aiming to Make it Big in Movie Scene

When you live in rural North Dakota or Minnesota, you don't meet a lot of actors. But one Karlstad, MN, native is working to change that.

When you live in rural North Dakota or Minnesota, you don't meet a lot of actors. But one Karlstad, MN, native is working to change that.

Growing up in Karlstad, the future was never a question for 21-year-old Derek Stusynski.

"I started doing theatre toward the end of middle school, and got into doing it in high school. It just came naturally to me," Stusynski said.

With his parents' blessing.

"They were like, 'ok, you want to be an actor, because nobody does it here?'" Stusynski

So Derek decided to pursue his calling in New York City three years ago.

Now, a graduate of the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Derek is seeing some results in short film roles including "Path to Prologue."

The short independent film, in which he plays a younger version of a main character, is getting some hype.

"The film did really well. It won three awards at the American International Film Festival and was a selection of the Hoboken International Film Festival. So far so good!" Stusynski said.

Good is getting better. Derek is also a star in a new internet TV series "The RA's."

But these roles haven't happened overnight and he isn't quite rich and famous yet.

"You have to shop sales and eat a lot of noodles," Stusynski said.

But he is passionate, and works hard.

"It's doing what you love to do, but a lot of doing what you don't love to do. The thing that people don't know is that all the projects I've done, a lot of them are free work. I have to have a full-time job on the side to pay rent," Stusynski said.

Derek eventually wants to be a key player in Oscar-worthy movies. He's also working on a book. These dreams have all brought him from small town Minnesota to big city movie roles and he doesn't question how he will keep going.

"You can't expect things to just happen to you. You have to create opportunities for yourself. You can do anything you want to do, no matter where you come from," Stusynski said.

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