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.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shuffle - My Time as a Parent in the Casting Room

I was walking down Sunset Blvd. on a Saturday afternoon in April 2009 discussing the character for the audition that Dylan was heading to, when a rare thing happened...

Upon entering the audition, a nice young man asked me if I cared to sit-in on the audition.

In the three years we've lived here, never have we, the parents, been invited in on a theatrical audition, or any other type of audition for that matter.

As I thought about that, I respectfully returned with a thank you, but no thank you. As I'm sure you can appreciate, I do not like to be a distraction on set or otherwise (you know what I mean parents?).

I hesitated, then looked at Dylan to make sure that he was okay with my decision.

He wasn't. His reply was that he wanted me to join him on the audition, so I'm like, "OK then, let's roll!"

As we headed into the room, I imagined that there would be just a camera person and reader, and that that's the reason they had invited me in. WRONG again, Dads!

As we entered the room there were six or seven people huddled behind the reader and a lonely blue chair, dead center in the room in front of the casting team.

At that moment it occurred to me what strength, confidence and concentration it truly takes to be an actor. I didn't become nervous or fearful for Dylan, but instead, decided to enjoy this rare opportunity. I quickly concealed myself off to the side, behind Dylan's view.

The reader asked Dylan if he was ready, and Dylan politely asked her if he could have a minute. The reader told him to let her know whenever he was ready, and Dylan took 30 seconds or so, then nodded for her to start.

I watched this process full of pride and excitement as he delivered a flawless and beautiful two- scene audition, both intense and emotional. I still get goosebumps when I think back on how well he played this supporting lead character... Wow!

When he finished, the comments from the team were all extremely complimentary. Dylan very politely asked if they wanted him to adjust anything or redo either of the scenes. The response was that he had made excellent character choices and had done a great job! They thanked him, and we made sure to thank them back before taking off.

As we passed through the main exit door my little boy looked up at me and said, "Dad, how did I do?" I stopped, looked at his sweet face and said, "You knocked it way out of the park, son." I couldn't find the words to articulate his exceptional performance, so I used the word "strong" and followed up with, "very strong work Son."

As we walked and talked, I shared with him that I had not yet realized how talented he had become and how very proud he should be of himself. I gave him a hug and held his hand as we celebrated his well deserved moment of glory. I could tell how happy he was that I saw how certain he was of what he was doing.

My final comment to Dylan was that one of three things was going to happen:

1. They book you immediately.

2. They go with someone with the same strong read but with a better character match.

3. They call you back, and then you book it.

He ended up with number 3.

As I watched Dylan that afternoon I thought to myself how I would have immediately cast him without question. I told this to Dylan that day, and have done so a few times since.

Today I'm on set with Dylan, watching him shoot the film. I'm entilting this BLOG, "SHUFFLE".

Three life-shuffling years of relentlessness, commitment and experience, and my son is now a relaxed actor, and an actor who continues to improve and learn his craft. We are so very proud of his beginning accomplishments and growth. Dylan is such a wonderful and giving person, and we admire him so very much.

As of today, he is scheduled to shoot a few more Burger King commercials this year, as well as being on avail for a Disney project, and up for another supporting lead role in a feature film. He is consistently receiving positive feedback, and is enjoying himself, all from just having fun at a craft he continues to love, learn and improve upon.

Hard work and commitment yields the priceless opportunity to be on set, which is where Dylan & Ellery love to be.