This is Our Story

We're the Sprayberrys and we moved to Los Angeles about four years ago to have our go at Hollywood. When we met the folks at Children In Film, they thought it would be a great idea if we documented our story. After all, our failures and successes (hopefully more the latter than the former) can be your lesson book.

So here you have it - Dylan and Ellery working through the ups and downs of being child actors - their mother and I working hard every day to ensure their success not only as actors, but also as well-adjusted members of society.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Journey to Hollywood: Leaving Your Home

Goodbye Houston, hello Hollywood - looking back on leaving Texas.

Saying goodbye to Texas was as difficult as making the journey to Hollywood was exciting.

When we arrived on February 1st, 2006 we initially were thinking that a trial month during pilot season would be a good way to get our feet wet. Within a week we decided to push that "month" all the way to June. Two years later...well, let's just say we never went back to Texas.

Our family embraces the philosophy that you're either in it full-time or you're not in it. Basically, for us, there's no half-way.

As is the case with many families that leave their hometowns in an effort to follow their dreams, the move was risky - a leap of faith if you will - because we did not have representation waiting for us in Hollywood. If you're lucky enough to find representation and then move to Los Angeles, the move may be just a bit easier on you. However, I wouldn't say that it is the only way to go. Sometimes in life there comes a time when the risk to remain in your comfort zone is more painful than the risk it takes to follow your destiny. This, we believed, was our destiny and if you believe it is yours, go for it or you may always wonder "what if?"

It wasn't until late May that we finally connected with management and agent representation.

The time period from February 1st through May was not an overly affirming time for us, however, we had faith and today we are fortunate to be with a dynamic manager and agencies that truly represent us well - they are outstanding!

Initially my wife Dana was in Houston - commuting back and forth when possible and managing her own company. Dealing with this separation was the hardest part for me and the children. Many times I'd say, "Dana, this is bigger than us and we must sacrifice temporarily. We're strong; we can do this."

For 15 months Dana continued to work in Houston while the kids and I continued our journey without a present wife and mother. Fortunately she was able to fly out once a month - without her visits, we would not have made it.

Emotionally we knew what we were managing. More importantly, we were always on the same page and extremely supportive of one another. We faced many moments of truth, yet we always worked through our challenges and, for the most part, managed to make the right steps.

If you're at this stage of the game, my advice to you is as follows:
    • Come here financially prepared.
    • Find and surround your family with sincere and grounded friends
    • If at all possible, come with representation. This does indeed make the path more fun and, of course, easier.
    • Be resourceful: utilize companies like Children In Film, talk with successful child-actor parents and listen to their stories and recommendations.
    • Coaches, classes, photographers, etc. are all here in LA.
    • This, like many things in life, is a process of growth. Don't forget that. You'll live and learn.
    • Don't be shy in taking risks and most of all, follow your instincts and listen to your children.
For us, the most important thing was to stay close as a family. You will hear many times from film veterans, "Keep your kids real; keep them grounded." It is we, the parents, that make this happen. Because family comes first, we spend our free time together and this keeps us bonded and grounded.

Like many who came to Hollywood before us and many who will come after, we walk a stressful path: money concerns, family separation, traffic, school, a new environment. The list goes on and on. But at the end of the day, we're happy with where we are and where we are going.


1 comment:

Brooke and Beth's mom said...

Thank you for your blog! We appreciate the information. Our 7 year old identical twin girls work in the biz. We live in a small market and plan on coming to LA for a big part of the summer. I find our biggest challenge right now to be the fact we do not live in LA or a in a big market. My husband wants to see that the girls are getting work in LA before making the move but it is difficult to do that without living there. I admire your decision to take the risk and move there! I have a feeling we will be joining you!