How to Become a Child Star

What does it take to become the next Hilary Duff or Justin Timberlake?

Several kids who live in the Oakwood apartment complex just outside Hollywood, Calif., hope to find out.

They are part of a kind of acting boot camp, where the likes of Tom Cruise and Jennifer Love Hewitt first reached for the gold ring of stardom.

"Primetime's" Cynthia McFadden met with some of the aspiring actors in 2005, and "Good Morning America" recently followed up with two of the kids to see where their acting careers stood now.

In April 2005, Zach Green was a precocious 11-year-old, living in the Oakwood apartments to chase his dream.

"I think that my parents, if they wanted to be vicarious with me -- I just love that word, 'vicarious.' … I mean, my parents are psychologists. And I know that they're excited for me. But I know that they didn't push me into this," Zach said.

Zach, the new kid on the block, had been at the acting camp for two weeks without a single audition, until he received an exciting call from his agent.

He'd been called to an audition to play the lead role in a major movie.

Suddenly, the dream seemed within reach. Heading to the audition, Zach couldn't stop practicing and hoping. If he got the part, Zach said, "that will just feel great."

Diandra Newlin, who was 13 at the time, and her mother, Donna, had lived in the apartment complex on and off for about a 1.5 years.

Also on hand were the private acting and voice coaches to help the wannabe stars.

Diandra landed a part in a small independent film. "This is really a good script," she said. "I think it's one of the best scripts I've read."

Meanwhile, hope turned to momentary heartbreak for Zach when he didn't get the part. He was philosophical, though, and ready to take on the next role.

"If I did do my best, then I know that I just wasn't what they were looking for," he said. "Or that they've got bad taste."

Time and Money an Investment

More than a year later, Diandra and Donna visited "Good Morning America" and said Diandra's career was going well.

"Gosh, I've been booking a lot of things," Diandra, now 15, said. "I've got a great manager, a great agent, and everything's good."

Diandra has filmed an independent film called "Dream Killer," due out in six months, and she's recorded songs for a compilation CD of kid singer-songwriters.

"I feel like I'm really on the road," she said.

In Los Angeles, Zach got a part in a musical "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," and one of the actresses in the play connected him with agents in New York City.

He and his mom, Emely, have moved to New York, where Zach is taking acting lessons and waiting to hear from agents.

"I mean, I'm not going to push for something that isn't there," Zach said. "If it's there, then I'll take it. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. It wasn't meant to happen."

Emely, a psychologist, said she tried to strike a balance in encouraging and nurturing Zach's acting career.

"Well, I try and look at the big picture which is, my job as a parent is to bring up Zach, the whole person, not Zach, the actor," she said.

Bringing up a child actor is a huge sacrifice for the whole family -- both in time and money. The cost of acting classes, travel, and other costs can run up to $20,000 a year.

For every success story like Lindsay Lohan, there are dozens who don't make it. Diandra said that for now, it's worth it.

"Just like any other small business, it's an investment, and you can't be a plumber unless you buy the plumbing tools," she said. "So you can't be an actor unless you have the acting tools. You can't be a singer unless you, you know, train."

Zach said his goal was not to become a superstar or to get rich.

"My goal as an actor is not to become a star. That's not the right goal to take," he said. "The goal is to become a good actor. That's the only goal that anyone should really have."

What about child stars like Macaulay Culkin or Corey Feldman, who had massive success when they were young but hit hard times when they got older?

Zach said that's not something he thought very much about. "I mean, if I go bad, I guess that's."

Seeming stuck for an answer, he finally said being "bad" could be part of his repertoire.

"You know. … If you really want me to go bad, I can if you'd like," he said.

Zach now says it would be fine with him to be a child actor if work came along, but he has no plans to continue with this in his adult life.

In fact, he said when he grows up, he'd like to be an architect or a newsman "like Peter Jennings."