Grenier acknowledged that this was a sometimes contradictory message, as it was his own celebrity that enabled his recent project, "Teenage Paparazzo" to be made. But he also warned the students that celebrity obsession is out of control.
"I'm trying to help young people ask themselves, in this age when so much is presented under the guise of news and information, "Is what I'm getting nourishing information, or is it escapism,'" Grenier told the audience at the YoungArts event. YoungArts is a national organization that nurtures young talent in the visual, literary and performing arts.
Grenier's documentary examines the role that the media plays in merging celebrity culture with reality through the eyes of a 13-year-old celebrity chasing photograher, whom Grenier befriended after the boy caught the actor in a barrage of flashes. Eventually the youngster gets "discovered" and learns about the loss of privacy that comes with fame.
Grenier is touring the U.S. and Canada with the film, but the YoungArts event was special to him because he is a graduate of the program. "The organization is terrific. They supported me," he told Examiner.com. The 1994 alumnus of the YoungArts theater program will honored at an awards gala next month.
Slater, who recently moved to Miami, said he was delighted when he was asked to become involved in YoungArts. "They are epic. The fact that they had Adrian as an alumnus clearly shows me that they know what they are doing," Slater said.
Among the YoungArts participants in the audience was JeanCarlo Ramirez, 19, a young filmmaker who was part of the cinematic arts program. "It's great that Adrian came here to help us. I look to people like that for inspiration," said Ramirez, who graduated from the G-Star School for the Arts, a West Palm Beach, Fla. charter school where he studied with actor Ron Palillo.
Jessica Darrow, 17, who is a finalist in the 2013 YoungArts awards program, said she was thrilled to see Grenier and Slater in person. "It makes me realize how far someone's love and drive can take them," she said. "I'm a senior, I'm going to be going to college and this is a scary time for me," she said, adding,"Meeting them shows me that I can do it, and that's a great feeling."
More info: YoungArts