Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Child Actress Grace Julianna Talks Her Path: How I Got Into Acting and You Can Too - First Steps for Anyone Interested in Breaking Into the Biz

Actress Grace Julianna
By Grace Julianna

Editor's note: Every actor has a different path. Some start at an early age, some much later. In this article, actress Grace Juliana, who has been acting since she was young talks about her continuing journey. Grace Julianna has done a PBS Pilot, some TV work and several commercials, including one for ProActiv which most teenagers will probably recognize her from. Here she talks about how she got started. So if you want to get started in acting, or have a child that does, her path may inspire you.

The Disney and Nickelodeon Effect 

Ever since I was a young girl, at the tender age of seven, I knew an ordinary life wasn’t for me. I wanted a different kind of ordinary, I wanted to be on TV. I wanted to make filming an episode once a week the normal for me. I was a consistent viewer of the Disney channel and Nickelodeon. I remember being attracted to, “That’s so Raven” and “Lizzie Mcguire.” The stars, Raven and Hilary Duff, had so much presence and it instantly got me hooked. I would sit on my couch and stare at the TV. I could’ve been there for hours, and I wasn’t just watching the show, I was admiring the actresses.

One day, I went up to my mom, she was in the kitchen, and I said, “TV, TV, how do you get on TV?” she looked at me with a subtle smirk, and said, “those girls are acting, you have to be an actress to be on TV.” I looked up at her with huge, hopeful eyes, and announced, “I want to be an actress.” Believe it or not, I was hugely influenced by my mother to start my career as an actress. I was lucky enough to have a mother that was in the business herself before she met my father and had kids.

That’s right, I got the acting bug from my mom. My mom left her small home in Texas at the age of nineteen, to move to New York City with dreams of making it big. Now, that didn’t happen, but she did book some parts and made a substantial living. At nights she did bartending, then she met my father and the rest is history. My mom was happy, I am currently happy. We both aren’t big actors. But, I do want more. A lot more. That’s the thing that people need to understand from this article. If you really love acting, you will be happy even if you’re not big. If you’re passionate and want to be big (like myself) then you will enjoy the ride of making it.

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See Grace Juliana's demo reel here:

Saturday Acting Classes in New York City

Back to past, when I told my mother that I wanted to pursue acting, she had absolutely no problem with it. She was happy that her seven year-old daughter had a realization similar to the one she experienced when she was in her teen years. I remember my mom looking down at me, after I told her my dream, and she simply said, “ok, let’s put you in acting classes!” Then off I went. My mom signed me up for acting classes faster than the speed of light! She was so impressed with me, she also recognized talent.

Throughout my young school years, my teachers always commented to my mother that I was a talkative and bright child, so my mom knew I was made for TV. The first acting class I went to, was John Robert Powers. Now, if anyone knows of this acting studio, then they will understand my description. John Robert Powers acting studio is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the food table. It’s basic, and everyone has tried it before. It’s a great studio to start out and get one’s feet wet, but I would recommend people to stay there only in the beginning of their careers. I even remember falling asleep on my mom’s lap while at the orientation. It was very boring and drawn out, and my eight year old mind was exhausted.

I started out taking a Saturday class once a week at JRP studios. I took the basic beginning class, for the young children. At that class, we learned how to read sides and get comfortable with them, then eventually at the end of each class we would perform them in front of the other classmates. We also did heavy improv, oh yes, improv, the act of creating a situation on the spot. I LOVE improv, and every actor should take an improv class to get your brain thinking.

Having Fun with Improv

I remember one class at JRP, we had an improv exercise with a partner, the teacher told us to sell milk to the whole class. Everyone else did the normal, told the class to drink milk because it’s healthy for you. Boring. When it was my partner and I’s turn, I told her to play dead on the floor. She was confused, and I told her to trust me. She eventually got down on the floor in front of the whole class, and I bounced in the scene, gave her some, “milk,” but it wasn’t just any ordinary milk, this milk, made the dead come back to life! My partner instantly knew where I was going with this, and by following my grand improvising, she sprung back to life once I gave her the milk. It was a class favorite. My teacher was highly impressed with me that I created that scene. It was different from the rest, and unusual. Eventually, I moved on from JRP and went on to meet a man named Lane Napper.

Check out Grace's  New Youtube Channel Called 
"The Unemployed Actress"

Chocolate Chip Cookies Are a Great Incentive

Lane and I instantly connected, I loved his energy, he always made me and the rest of the students feel comfortable. Me and about 5 other students would sit on his couch in the living room of his Manhattan apartment, and we would just admire everything he told us about acting. He made his three hour class lively and entertaining. The first hour we would play improv games, usually with partners, and we would perform in front of the class. Then for the next two hours, we either practiced auditioning or we would make it a scene study. The last 20 minutes of the class, the parents would come in and watch all of us kiddies perform, than Lane would bring out his fresh, baked chocolate chip cookies! Lane was a real blessing, he is the one that told my mom I need to stop reading off the paper, he said that wouldn’t fly on TV because it looks fake.

My First Pilot on PBS

He was right, because of his commentary I got extra practice reading and my fear of looking up at the audience diminished. His lessons have stayed with me through my whole career until now. My career has been great, but it could be better. When I was eight years old, I booked my first pilot for PBS. It was a kids cooking show named Finkey’s Kitchen, and it was adorable. From then on I booked national commercials and co-star and guest star roles in shows.

But, I want my own show, and I want to be a movie star, BUT I have to work my way up to that. (Note: Grace is in a new film called A Case of Blue). I’ve had ups and downs in my career, and I’m letting you all know that is normal. Acting is hard work, you aren’t going to get big overnight. I wish it was that easy. It takes time, diligence and patience. Support is necessary from family and friends, because this career will have rough spots. However, dreams do come true, you just have to work for them.

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