The Child Actor Days

I was thirteen. Old enough to see a PG-13 movie and naïve enough to want to be in one.

 Here’s the story, and believe me it’s worth it.

 It started when I was doing plays in Denver. Nothing too big but somehow got the attention of a recruiting agent. Must have been the spiked hair. They wanted me to go to a competition out in LA called I.M.T.A. (International Modeling and Talent Association). My parents, both teachers, were a little shocked to say the least. But because they are a couple of badasses they went all in.

 I decided to write a comedic monologue about a poor kid who asks out three girls to the dance. Unfortunately for this poor boy and my real-life experience, all of the girls had a weird excuse why they said no. You know, the whole “I can’t because I have to wash my hair that night,” excuse.

 Cut to me performing the monologue on stage as I gyrate and moan my way to winning first place in the competition. That’s when shit got cray.

 “You need to move out to LA.”

“We would love to represent you.”

“You’re going to be a star.”

 Again, my parents are teachers. Their parents are teachers. My sisters are teachers. So this wasn’t your normal field trip.

 My dad and I moved to LA and got ready to do what everyone does in LA. Try to make it.

 This is where I’d like to say sorry to my poor dad. You see, we moved into this complex called Oakwood Apartments. Yeah, this place. Here. He was surrounded by fierce stage moms who loved to hiss and talk about their perfect children. Good thing you at least discovered The House of Blues huh dad?

Here I was in the heart of Burbank and going on non-stop auditions. I was hanging out with an array of child actors who were actually working. People like Hayden Panettiere, Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, and the Little Rascals who were all grown up.

 I saw weed for the first time, cocaine, and dove right into the life of the Hollywood child actor.  My dad even helped me create a fake ID saying I was 16 so I could get into the “child actor” club.  This is where I would go every Saturday and watch Shia Labeouf turn into a frozen statue for twenty minutes on the dance floor. So yeah, not much has changed.

 I had hit my peak at age 13. And it was fucking awesome. I thought that this life was normal. I thought a normal birthday party was hanging out with the cast of That 70’s Show and a normal Saturday was watching Redman and Method Man workout at the apartment gym.

 And as my social life was moving along, so was my potential acting career. I was getting call backs left and right. Got a line in the OC, that got cut, and was able to be in a couple commercials.

 Then my big break came a knocking. I had an audition to be the son on a show called 8 Simple Rules with John Ritter. As I walked into the intimidating and huge Warner Bros. Studios I knew I had to kill it.

 Four auditions later, I had made it to the final three. Only to be told I didn’t have enough experience. Boomshakalaka.

 From then on, the reality show fad hit pretty hard. Auditions were hard to come by and again my parents were teachers so we weren’t exactly rolling in the Hollywood dough. I had to go home and so did my dream.

 I could go on and on about auditioning in a garage with Ludacris, going 90 on the highway with Frankie Muniz, my dad telling Hilary Duff she smelled awful, or being in VIP with Britney Spears during the hot days. But this experience made me into the writer I am today. I’ll always be a performer but the spark all came when I wrote that monologue. I had no idea how to write or what was good. I just wrote.

 Will I wonder about that job with John Ritter for the rest of my days? Fuck yeah I will. Who wouldn’t? But regardless, being a failed child actor really helped me become a successful copywriter.