We had the good fortune of connecting with Juliana Guedes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juliana, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks has definitely been a huge part of my career. I grew up believing my professional life was already defined, since I was very young I had in my heart I was going to be an architect. But after graduating I realized that was not exactly what I wanted to do. Even though I was still young and had a lot of time ahead to figure it out and pursue another career, it was a bit scary to change something I had always been so certain of. Not to mention having to tell my dad that I wanted to do something else. What I wanted to do was not so far from architecture, so I quit my very first job in the “real world” to pursue set design and work in the events industry. It was a great experience, that definitely helped me get to where I am right now, but there was still something missing. And so I took another risk. I sold my car and decided to move to London to get my Masters in Production Design for Film and TV and pursue something I was really passionate about, but didn’t really know much about it. Fast forward to 9 years later, I had put my dreams aside to work on a more “normal” job, that I was already familiar with and to make a living, but was completely frustrated and unhappy. And that’s when I decided I didn’t want to look back in twenty or thirty years and regret not taking a chance! It was a risk to move to another country (I’m originally from Brazil), away from my family, from a rather stable, but not fulfilling, life, leaving a business behind and having to use all my savings to do that. Also, I had no idea how things were going to be and if it would work out, but I got to a point I was more scared of not making any movements to change my life and took a leap of faith. I don’t regret one second of that decision, even with all the struggles it came with. I learned to let go of everything that held me back, or that I thought held me back, to get out of my comfort zone and to face my fears and risk for a bigger goal. I learned that I am stronger than I thought and that when we really want something, it’s a matter of planning and chasing it, not letting the obstacles bring you down. Life doesn’t come with a script and your plans can change in the blink of an eye, but we have to be open to the possibilities and opportunities it brings. And it is better to try and fail, than not trying at all.
Let’s talk work? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a Brazilian architect, set designer and production designer. From a young age, I was always very creative, interested in art, design, and obviously film and tv. After realizing architecture wasn’t really the career I wanted to pursue (even though I’m still passionate about it), I ventured myself in the events world and went on to work as a set designer. I did this for most of my life so far, but ever since I found out that there was a career that combined architecture, art and design with film and TV, I knew that that was what I wanted to do! Being a designer allows me to use my imagination to create the most different scenarios, whether it’s an event, a film or a TV show. I can use my creativity to design an apartment in the desert, a house in the 90s or a cabin where friends are being slashed by a creepy killer. I’m only beginning my career as a production designer, but my experience as an architect and set designer taught me a lot. I have worked on huge events, having to create a mini city under a bridge for Philips and have done small events with only a small stage for conferences. I’ve done huge parties with big stages and a lot of decoration, but also small ones with just some flowers and rearranging furniture and products. But I learned from every single one of these projects and they made me the professional I am. And currently, I have had the pleasure of working on some amazing projects as a production designer and art director, exploring even more my creativity and learning from so many great people I was so fortunate to meet. I just wrapped a horror feature and a short about a guy who can only sing when he speaks and one of the most interesting projects I worked last year was a short I remotely designed from LA. It was a project pitched from writer/director Louise Brix Andersen, with almost all of the crew from a Facebook group called “The Masterminds”, where all pre-production, including meetings, casting, rehearsals, and preparations, were done 100% remotely by individuals who had never met in person and from all over the world and eventually filmed in Barcelona, Spain. I am very proud of everything I did to get to where I am, but I know there’s still a long way for me to go and I am looking forward to every step of it. It definitely has not been easy, but never once I thought of giving up. I am constantly learning, about my career, about me and life itself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Being outdoors is kind of inevitable in LA and with the great weather we have, it becomes a routine. I love riding my bike to the beach and even to work sometimes, you get the enjoy the city and see cute little spots in the neighborhood. I love the Culver City Steps, you get a real good workout and the view of the city up there is amazing! Culver Downtown is really lovely, there are plenty of nice cafes, restaurants and cute shops and it’s really pleasant to walk around. Being a person of the arts and design, I enjoy museums a lot and LA has some great ones to visit and many of them are free. The Getty Museum is a must, the exhibitions they have are great, the architecture of the building is beautiful and the view is astonishing! The Getty Villa is also worth a visit, you get to go drive to Malibu and see the scenery and enjoy quite an experience! And if you enjoy modern and contemporary art, The Broad and the Hammer are great options! The Broad is in the heart of Downtown LA, it has an amazing collection from great artists and the building is just simply wonderful. The Hammer has a great permanent collection, with old master paintings and an amazing contemporary collection, and they are known to celebrate LA artists every two years with the biennial Made in LA. And since this is Hollywood, you have to go visit the studios and see the history of the great films!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am a very fortunate person, as I have amazing people in my life that have been by my side, supporting me in my decisions. My parents, Lise and Fernando, and my brother, Rodolfo, have definitely been there since day one, but my coach, Carla, was the one who guided me and helped me take my plans into actions so I could be here today.
headshot photo by Jessica Chung