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  • Getting a Break at an Early Age

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    Victoria Justice Actress

    The “calling” often comes at an early age, but it’s not too often that a performer becomes successful until years of persistence and hard work. That’s not to say Victoria Justice didn’t put in her dues, but she didn’t have to wait long for her first break into the business. The teen actress and pop singer is best known for her work on Nickelodeon’s Zoe 101, and her pop album, Victorious. Recently, Victoria made the jump to motion pictures. Her newest film, Fun Size, stars Jackass star, Johnny Knoxville, and Chelsea Lately’s, Chelsea Handler. The film is The O.C. and Gossip Girl creator, Josh Schwartz’s directorial debut, and Victoria’s first real opportunity to make a name for herself on the big screen.

    Victoria’s life wasn’t always jumping from show to show, movie to movie, and album to album. She, like every aspiring young actress, began by auditioning for a television commercial. Though, she may have been luckier than most actresses. “My first job ever was an Ovaltine commercial and I was eight years old. I was so excited,” recalled Victoria. “It’s my first audition and I ended up booking it. To me, that was the biggest break anyone could ever have.”

    While this certainly put Victoria on the map, it didn’t necessarily start her career as a buzzing teen star. “I remember auditioning for Zoey 101 as their new series regular. They needed a new roommate for Jamie Lynn Spears, who played Zoey. They were auditioning a bunch of girls for that role and I ended up getting it. I remember I was actually on set filming a Hallmark short film for Christmas time called Silver Bells, and my agent called me and let me know I had just booked a new role in Zoey 101. The creator, Dan Schneider called me personally to congratulate me and I was freaking out. It was such a surreal feeling. I was on such a high. I think that’s kind of what started my career.”

    Victoria Justice Fun SizeFrom there, Victoria spent her teen years as a child of Nickelodeon. Life was pretty good for the young actress. However, Victoria wasn’t a shoe in for Fun Size, despite its ties to Nickelodeon. “I definitely did have to audition. It was not just handed to me. I had to work for that role. “

    It seems Victoria has a knack for performing. After all, she landed her first audition at the age of eight in a national commercial! So, where did this confidence come from? “Definitely my mom. We spend a lot of time together and she’s an incredible mentor. I don’t think I would be at the place I am in my career right now if it wasn’t for her. She’s guided me to make the right choices, she’s helped pick the right team of people surrounding me. She’s just a really smart, genuine, and a great person that I’m very lucky to have in my life.” Based on her personal relationship with her mother, Victoria will have to pull out some of her acting chops for her newest film. She plays the role of Wren, who takes on the responsibility of her brother due to a broken relationship with her mother, played by Chelsea Handler. Wren is your typical teenage girl who happens to have one of her Halloween’s turned completely upside down. “It’s a coming of age story in a lot of ways. I think we can all relate to growing up, learning about ourselves and finding ourselves. I related to her in that way as well.”

    See Victoria Justice in the new movie, Fun Size, when it’s released in theaters on October 26.

    -Frank Pasquine, Director of Social Media at New York Film Academy

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    October 15, 2012 • Guest Speakers • Views: 5689

  • Understanding the Craft of Acting

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    Grant Turnbull with Liam Neeson

    Since Grant Turnbull graduated from New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film in 2011, he’s been booking steady work. Hailing from a small town outside of Belfast, Ireland, Grant took the risk to move to New York City, where he felt was the place to fulfill his acting aspirations. While most of his acting peers stayed local, Grant went for it all. It is that drive and ambition that has sustained his early career. “I have always been a deep person with a love for the performing arts, but the New York Film Academy taught me about ‘depth.’ Depth in my performance, depth in myself, and the ability to see depth in other people. Respect: respect for my fellow actors, respect for people’s stories, where they came from, what their hardships where. Understanding: understanding people’s troubles and always trying to help. This was something I was always good at, but now I could use it in my acting.”

    With his maturity and formal education, Grant was ready for the competitive world of acting. After shooting a commercial for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Grant landed commercial spots for major brands like Just for Men, Gold Bond, Alfani Suits, ESPN, Major League Baseball, and an NFL catalogue advertisement. He is currently working with the Bella Agency where he is constantly on call for auditions. For the second year in a row, Grant starred in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. The play, held in the Lower East Side, performed in front of record crowds of 300 people per night. Grant is currently gearing up for an independent feature film, 19th Hole, which will be shooting this September in Connecticut.

    Grant’s strongest recommendation to current students is to put everything they have into the program. Be prepared for every class and never ever be late! “I made sure I put everything I had into the school and, in return, three of my teachers cast me in two plays and a feature film. I acquired an agent from a faculty recommendation, and was able to audition for The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire, The Big C, and Gossip Girl. After that, I landed parts on White Collar, Smash and The Good Wife. My first day at NYFA an instructor told me, ‘Grant you may be in school, but your career has already started.’ He was right.”

     

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    August 14, 2012 • Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 6205