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.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dylan's Recognition

It’s Monday night; Dana and the kids have just jetted from shopping at Fred Segal on Melrose Ave. Then they are on to Santa Monica to make a callback for Ellery, and from there, more fun shopping at Fred Segal Santa Monica.

Fred Segal has this great annual sale and when possible we take advantage of it. While shopping, a lady calls out to Dylan using his character name from an episode they were working on (Mother & Son) a year earlier.

As they connected, hugged and talked the lead actress informed Dana that she had requested Dylan once again to play her son in another episode being shot this month; such an honor for Dylan.

My phone text alerts me as to what’s taking place in Santa Monica; as I read Dana’s quick text it occurrs to me how really cool it felt to see this kind of sincere recognition and memory retention this well-known actress was extending to our son.

As I envisioned the live scene playing out at Fred Segal with our family and this kind actress, many thoughts ran through my head, however, one in particular stood out, good things happen to good people, this was Dylan’s moment of recognition.

Dylan is such a great person to be around. His sense of respectful playfulness, an extraordinary level of sincerity and kindness, and of course it doesn’t hurt to be a talented actor make him a likable child.

Hollywood is a beautiful place; a setting filled with amazingly giving people, one must earn the genuine treatment and it must be real in return, in our family we ask only for the opportunities to earn the gift of being on set.

We define great work as preparation, punctuality and politeness additionally recognizing that we have a responsibility to respect the entire business process.

Repeat business opportunities come from businesses that are reliable and delivery of a great product - a reliable and dependable product and our little actors are the product.

The quicker one understands this reality the better. It can be challenging because this is an often emotionally charged process for us parents; the good news is that it’s easier than we often make it - RELAX have FUN do GREAT WORK!

We are grateful for this exciting entertainment arena we are privileged to play and grow in. We know Hollywood will remember you when a part is right for you and if they trust you, good things will happen.

Our posture is to be kind and real. Fact is, this town has a great memory... Good, Bad or Ugly. Let them remember you and your children as the "good."

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Time to Remember

We worked for five months towards the opportunity and hope of booking “Eloise Goes To Paris.” The last of Ellery’s six auditions was a noon session with the Director Charles Shyer on Saturday, February 2, 2008.

After the audition we dropped off Stan (Ellery’s Coach) then headed over to our neighborhood hangout Aroma CafĂ©. Ellery ran inside to visit as I caught up with a friend just outside the library seating area.
Ten minutes later I walked in and took note of Ellery standing at the head of a table engaging with 4 adult ladies - Ellery, submerged in girl talk, was looking quite cute. I quickly noticed one of the ladies was a tenured Hollywood actress.

Respectfully I quickly wrapped up the conversation and thanked the ladies for making time to visit with Elle.
When I looked at the leading lady to say thank you, she ask if Ellery was my daughter and I proudly answered yes. She then placed her hand on her heart and said a few very kind and sincere words with respect to Elle.

I never told Ellery who she was; I just left it at a table of nice ladies who appreciated the loving spirit of a sweet little seven-year-old with whom they enjoyed talking and laughing.

Fast forward to April, Ellery auditions for a MOW leading role, and a few days later she is awarded the leading role, WOW!!! Ellery was scheduled to report to set on a Tuesday, and on Monday we get a call inviting us to come and meet the other leads who happen to be filming just a mile or two from us.

As we enter the set, the actress who I mentioned above looks at me, I ‘m reading her lips and I'm thinking she is saying something regarding Ellery. That’s when I figured I must be hallucinating on set, maybe a little too excited.
A few minutes later the introductions start and I hear the other leading actress say something to Ellery about someone recommending her for this role,... now I’m really dreaming!

Did I mention that I had a cold and was a bit stuffed up and a little disoriented? :)
The next thing I hear from the other leading actress is that she was so happy they took her recommendation and chose Ellery for the leading child role. I have never been so astonished in my life and had no words. I only held back tears of appreciation that I cannot begin to express. I’m staring at this kind actress. I say to her, "how do I respond to something as kind as what you have done for Ellery?" My heart pounding with joy, I gave her a hug and thanked her.

WOW, what a moment that was!!!

She told me that since that day when her and Ellery first met she had not stopped thinking or talking of her, which really got to me; I can’t believe I held it together.

We all know how hard we work to earn the chance to make set. This was a leading role. This gift came by way of an actress who believed in a little girl she had met just two months earlier and after only chatting for 10 or 15 minutes.

If lessons can be learned for other families though, it is a testament to the impressions we all make in the first moments of meeting someone - no matter who they are or what they do. If we make it a point to treat all people with respect and to teach our children to speak up, shake hands, smile and present their true selves, we never know who we will impress or leave an impression on.

Ellery spent five splendid weeks working with this incredible team. From the Director, Producers, Cast & Crew she, was part of a family and an experience she will treasure forever.
Her relationship with this wonderful person has blossomed into a real girly friendship; they have breakfast and movie dates they’ve even included Dylan in on the fun.

Once again, Hollywood has such a big heart; there are great and giving people everywhere, embrace the friendships, we can’t have enough real friends in life, its all fun!