Renée Kelly Grandjean
What medium do you prefer to work in? I enjoy all three in different ways—each one has its perks and pitfalls.
Favorite TV show? Right now it's American Horror Story.
Favorite film/documentary? Waiting for Guffman.
Favorite play? A Streetcar Named Desire.
Why did you choose Cal State L.A.’s MFA program in Television, Film and Theatre? No 1: this is not strictly a stage-acting program, as are most graduate programs that offer the acting focus. I collaborate with performers, writers, and producers across theater, film, and television. No. 2: this program offers me more autonomy than other MFA programs to which I had been accepted. At Cal State L.A., I get to be an actor/performer, but am allowed (and encouraged) to take writing and production classes. I will leave with many more tools in my artist’s tool belt than when I arrived.
What were you doing before you enrolled in the program? While a professional actress on stage and screen, I simultaneously earned my Master of Psychology from the University of Dallas while working as a medical office manager/medical biller.
Do you have film/TV industry experience or are you currently working in the industry? Yes, I have 13 years of professional theater experience, am an active member of Actors’ Equity Association, have been in numerous independent films, commercials, and even an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.
What are you passionate about? Finding my voice and my niche and helping others do the same. We all come to the table with unique talents and abilities.
What themes are important to you in your work? Who am I? Who are you? How do we define “home”? Do we define ourselves through those lenses we were brought up with, or do we create our “selves” with each new discovery of self, world, and other?
What projects/people in the film industry inspire you? Industry women who try it all: writing, producing, directing, acting, while doing their best to maintain the delicate balance of career and family. That’s tough work and I admire any woman brave enough to venture having all of her dreams come true.
What’s the most fascinating thing you have learned in the MFA program recently? That I’ve always had creative vision, but now I now have the tools, knowledge, and confidence to make those visions really manifest in the world.
What are your plans for after graduation? I plan to teach theatre, film, and television acting at the collegiate level while continuing my career as an actress/creator.