@Julien is a french actor living in Los Angeles who is pursuing his dream of becoming a movie star. Julien Marlon Samani has been in the LA scene for just over five years and is already a known sensation. He's making appearances in popular US tv shows and gaining recognition on his Youtube channel which reaches hundreds of thousands per videos. He's on his way to breaking the next scene - of movies that is. Goss Club had the opportunity to interview this international star in the making to talk about the daily struggles of following your dreams and living your passion.
I thought about it when I was younger. I met Benoit Magimel, a french actor when we were on vacation together and he was talking to me about his life and it sounded really interesting. When I mentioned it to my parents, they were kind of laughing a little bit. [At the time] it wasn't an acceptable career choice for me, so I put it in the back of my mind and didn't think about it again.
Then at 18 years old I was deciding between going to business or medical school and I moved to Montreal because I didn't want to stay in France anymore and decided to study business. It's only once I actually moved to Canada that I started being in touch with what I wanted to do and not what I was told to do. 10 days after I landed, I got scouted by NEXT industry, and that's when I started modelling.
At the end of my degree. I realized that I had studied in Finance and didn't enjoy it. I remember a few years back I started to watch Entourage - a show about an actor and the whole lifestyle and it made me feel like it was a possible career. Him being around his friends, talking about projects, signing with agents and all that stuff. Then I met Moe Jeudy L'Amour, a good friend of mine who was an actor - he was the first person I met who didn't second guess acting.
People around me, my family they're all doctors, they would say "acting is not serious you need a plan B" and Moe was the only person I met who didn't have a plan B and so I said alright well this guy believes in what he's doing how come I don't? He brought me to my first acting class and I was like: this is exactly what I want to do. I was 22 at the time. Then I was in the process of getting an internship in New York on Wall Street and I changed my mind and said no, and told my parents I'm moving to LA to pursue my acting career.
My mom was fairly open about it, she's always wanted to be a dancer and she never did it, and she's very happy in with her career as a dentist but a part of her wishes she did. My dad thought it was just a phase - he said we'll let him do it and eventually he'll come back to his senses - then six months later he visited me and he realized I was more invested than I've ever been invested in anything. I was talking about class, and all the techniques I was learning. It was fairly new, I had just started. He saw me moving, I got an agent fairly fast because I was so non stop thinking about acting acting acting. Then he was fine with it.
I like both honestly. I like to do a bit of TV and then I like to start with movies as well. Business in LA it seems like you start with TV get some credits on TV either star roles or reoccurring guest star, and then you either find a series regular on a show which then leads to you being on movies. Where as some people start right away in movies. I like to play a character on a show that I really like and then slowly detach myself and then do something different.
Tom Hardy, Robert Downey Jr, Brad Pitt.
You're in a city where everybody's an actor - so differentiating yourself is tough, although it's feasible. Everybody thinks that everybody in LA is an actor and it's very hard to make it, and it's true but out of all these actors, 50% of them are not talented or want to be actors for the fame but don't actually like the craft of it, so those are the people who will give up eventually. The rest, half are very good but have no idea about the business side of it. So you're really just competing with 25%, and then you're competing with people who have the same look, or a really good agent or managers which is slim. The toughest thing is getting good representation and find people who believe in you.
People don't see themselves for what they really are - a nerdy looking guy wants to play the lead, which is never going to happen so until he realizes that he's a nerdy looking guy and he needs to master being a nerd, so he can be hired as a nerd and make money acting. A lot of people think they can play everything, I don't think so. I've met actors who are on the side kick look and want to be the leading guy, they'll never be the leading guy. It's called 'type casting'. Master it, be the best at it, make money doing it and then when you're known in the town and you have enough power you make the switch. That's my theory on it.
Putting yourself out there. For example I used to compete in kick boxing but I don't look like a guy who can kick box, I don't look like a guy who can take hits, I look like a model, so unless I have proof that I can do it nobody is going to believe me so I ended up shooting a fighting realm that I paid for and that stuff landed me a big commercial.
Another thing, I love comedy and I'm a funny guy when you get to know me but I look like a cocky bastard, so I started to make videos where I was actually being funny and then people were like "oh wow Julien's not stuck up, he's actually kind of cool and laid back" so there's different ways to show what you want to show but people don't do that.
I have my ups and downs. Lately I haven't been auditioning a lot because the industry is changing. So when I have a down time, it's like "what am I doing with my life" and I see my friends who are working in finance and making more and more money. There's two things: one, I tell myself I'm too far off to stop. I've always been doing this for five years so I'm not going to give up now. I remind myself that I have qualified people under me, that after 2-3 years they still believe in me.
My manager and agents always say: we know you're going to make it, we're not worried about you we see you as an investment so don't worry about it. That's also a good reminder. I take acting classes too, and that's always a great reality check of how much I love doing it.
I think having a degree is always good - I'm totally for it. That's what I did. I ask the question: if I had all the money in the world, what would I do? A lot of people would just say : I wouldn't do anything I would just travel, well my answer is acting. The first gig I got paid $200 I shot for 12 hours for a web series and I had such a blast. For me making it, is affording my life doing what I love.
Breathe. I'm the type of person who gets restless until I get what I want and it get in the way of your every day life and i'm constantly thinking about it therefor I'm never happy in the present moment, and people can sense that, casting directors can sense it, that you're very eager. Sometimes taking a step back and enjoying the moment wether you're at the beach, or enjoying your life is nice. The problem with that is because of constantly thinking about how to succeed I was able to achieve so much in such a little time. So I wouldn't want to tell myself to relax because it might take longer to get where I want to get, but just remember to enjoy the ride.