Grace Randolph-YouTube's Top Movie and TV Reviewer - Beyond the Trailer
My passion is to seek out fascinating people to write about. Those who have achieved success, often with the odds against them. Those who broke down the barriers and fulfilled their career aspirations. Those who took risks and perhaps did not go the ‘traditional route’ in life.
These people motivate and perhaps inspire us.
One such woman grabbed my attention as I was searching through YouTube one late evening. I discovered this charismatic woman, Grace Randolph.
Grace created “Beyond the Trailer" where she reviews popular movies and TV shows. She has hundreds of thousands of followers (840k), her reviews are honest with great wit and a little comedic at times.
For many years, this genre seemed to be dominated by men, we all remember "Siskel and Ebert." I was intrigued by this talented woman, so I sought her out to do an interview.
Below is a Q and A where Grace shares insight on how she embarked on her career and her road to success.
Q: Grace, you are a successful YouTube Movie/ TV Reviewer, can you explain what it took to achieve this success?
A: YouTube is really cool but also a unique platform. It gives anyone the chance to prove whether or not they can grow an audience, but at the same time, it’s like the Wild West out here!
While there are obviously some things you can’t do on YouTube, for the most part - creatively - it’s a lawless land. That’s both thrilling and terrifying.
So, I really see myself out here prospecting for views, if you will, like people used to pan for gold. And I think it’s the same recipe for success with both - you have to be determined, patient, wily, cutthroat and have a little bit of luck.
Q: Typically, men have dominated this genre, was it a challenge to break into this career?
A: It WAS a challenge, and it REMAINS a challenge!
It’s important to remember that every day you start with zero views, so every day it’s up to me to prove to my 80% male audience that I’m worthy of leading the discussion on their favorite topics.
I KNOW what I’m talking about, I CARE what I’m talking about, and - here’s the big one - I care what YOU think about it too.
I guess that’s what it really boils down to, I trust my audience and they trust me. And I’m honored that they do, ESPECIALLY as a woman in a largely male space.
Q: Did you ever feel discouraged and how did you overcome those feelings?
A: Well, it’s not all rainbows and hugs on the internet, as anyone who’s ever been on the internet knows...
I’m also very honest in my coverage, and I’m not afraid to take strong positions. Sometimes that can get you in trouble with the “stans”, those hardcore fans that don’t always like to hear honest, strong opinions that differ from theirs.
So, we get into, let’s say, spirited discussions, especially on Twitter.
And when you don’t have the truth on your side, as my opponents often do not, all that’s left is to hit below the belt. And that hurts. I have feelings, I’m a person.
But you just have to remember that what can SEEM very personal on the internet is actually very impersonal. You don’t know what’s going on in these people’s lives that makes them lash out online so viciously, but it must be bad. So, you wish them luck and move on.
You’ve got to have a thick skin, the courage of your convictions, and I think also compassion to operate in the public eye.
Q: Do you garner the same respect from the movie studios as a male reviewer does?
A: I don’t think studios look at reviewers based so much on gender as they do “reach”. How many people watch or read your reviews? Bottom line the studios want to get the (hopefully good) word out on their latest movies.
Also, as in with any business, it’s important to conduct yourself professionally.
Once my audience got to be so big, the studios welcomed me with open arms! Also, becoming a Rotten Tomatoes critic and becoming a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association helped me level up as well.
Evolve or die, baby!
Q: How did your family feel about your career choice?
A: That’s my family, who can NOW laugh with relief when it comes to my career. But that was not always the case.
Anytime someone decides to be self-employed, their family naturally freaks out. And if you’re responsible, you internally freak out yourself.
But that concern is actually helpful. With my parents, they were always supportive of me - so long as I showed SOME progress. It didn’t have to be a lot of progress, but I had to be moving forward career-wise.
Q: What are your daily challenges to keep content new and fresh?
A: I’d say the biggest challenge is keeping myself fresh.
Most of my content is my reaction and analysis to the latest news stories, trailers or movies & tv shows, so I’ve got to be primed and ready to go!
That means keeping myself upbeat, sharp, and on top of what’s going on with both the industry and fandom. If YOU feel fresh, your work will BE fresh!
Q: Do you have to sacrifice any of your personal life to continue the road of success?
A: Anyone who has their own business, is trying to build their own business, can tell you that it takes up the majority of their time.
I’m REALLY fortunate to have family and friends that understand that.
But I also think it’s particularly challenging for women as women are usually expected to put their careers second. Like, it would be nice to have a career, but that shouldn’t be a woman’s priority.
I’m looking forward to the day that women being career-oriented will be seen as a positive rather than a negative...
Q: How do you react to any followers who are not 'kind' about your content?
A: Haters gonna hate. ;)
Also, block, block, BLOCK. You’ve got to tend your garden if you want it to grow, and that means ripping out the weeds.
Q: What tips can you give to women who are seeking to enter into a male-dominated career?
A: I think the best advice is to not have a chip on your shoulder. Don’t look at it as “us vs them”. A lot of women take on an adversarial approach to entering a male-dominated field, and that only ends up reaffirming all those horrible stereotypes about women in the workplace. Subvert those expectations!
Also, no matter what, some guys just aren’t going to come around. In that case, as the saying goes, never let ‘em see you sweat.
Q: What are your goals for the next 3- 5 years?
A: To surprise my viewers, and myself! It’s important to always keep it interesting.
A little about Grace:
She received film training from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied both film-making and cinema studies (aka film criticism). She also has an extensive comedy improv background. Grace had her own short-form improv group that went from Times Square to be the only improv group at the legendary The Comedy Cellar. She also studied improv and sketch comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade.
You can see Grace in action at www.youtube.com/BeyondTheTrailer