What’s the secret to success in the entertainment industry?
Stay active and stay fresh, says Grace Feeney, actor and producer.
“If I’m not actively in a show, then I take classes so that I’m constantly on my toes and ready for the next thing,” said Feeney.
Feeney, a former on-camera student at the Patel Conservatory, is currently in the Professional Producer’s Program at UCLA.
A perpetual student, Feeney holds a B.A. from the University of Miami. As part of her degree, she studied drama at Flinders University in Australia for a year and a half. She then received a law degree from Stetson University in St. Petersburg.
When opportunities don’t present themselves, she makes her own.
In 2007, she started APASI, a non-profit production company dedicated to promoting Asian American roles in theater and film.
Her idea was that Asians and Asian Americans shouldn’t have to wait for a stereotypical Asian role to appear on a casting breakdown in order to perform.
Though she is part Filipino and part Portuguese, “I’m from New Jersey. I was born and raised in the U.S., so I don’t know why we have these stereotypical roles,” said Feeney. With APASI, she produced stage plays and two short films.
Since she was young, her goal has always been to act and produce. She’s the consummate organizer who’d gather her artist friends to find scripts to perform. She got her law degree specifically to learn about entertainment law.
She paid her dues as a film actor through work as an extra and as an assistant to a casting director. And when she wasn't working on films, she performed in numerous theater productions, including many with Jobsite Theater at the Straz Center. She recently won Creative Loafing's Best Local Actress Award in the 2011 Best of the Bay Awards.
Her current project scheduled to shoot in February is a short film about the effect of technology on relationships, and the importance of family. She also interns for Joel Silver at Warner Bros.
Even with her long list of accomplishments, Feeney admits that trying to make a name for yourself in the film or entertainment business can still be intimidating.
"All of the other interns [at Warner Bros.] are younger and the majority are male, but, I'm still doing it!" said Feeney.
While some of her co-workers may be fresh out of undergraduate school, this young aspiring filmmaker is blazing her own trail. She does that by connecting with her artistic community whenever and wherever she can.
“I never want to be stale,” said Feeney. “Whenever I’m around other artists, its inspires me.”