2005 Primetime Report: 'Harvard for Hollywood,' Oakland Apartments

Many child actors have called the sprawling L.A. complex home while waiting to be discovered.
27:18 | 01/16/13

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Transcript for 2005 Primetime Report: 'Harvard for Hollywood,' Oakland Apartments
We're going to take you -- a part of Hollywood you don't often get to see a sort of why we're -- -- child stars are created. Dreams of fame and fortune a promise. But how we deal. Are there. Watch closely. This could be witnessing the emergence of Hollywood's next big star. Could this -- be the next Hilary Duff. Is he another Will Smith. Fat could this be a young -- -- -- -- -- yourself. The aspiring young actors in their home for now with Hollywood at a place not far away just on the road from the major studios. It's called the Oakwood apartments -- sprawling complex of more than a thousand units. And if they were -- -- Hollywood. This might be it. It's where would be child actors come to live act study and be discovered during pilot season. When the studios and networks hold auditions for movies television shows and commercials. Yeah. Each of these kids of driving from every corner of the country is hoping that Hollywood history. Repeat itself this is my wall of -- lots of today's stars were discovered here. Rose and fourteen at oak -- more than thirty years knows all about that she's played den mother and cheerleader to the mall. When they -- nobody's Hilary Duff. Jennifer Love Hewitt was -- -- seven years old. But I think Jennifer are you saying she -- a drop of a -- Tom Cruise was also discovered here lot of actors can't walk and talk at the same time it's acting boot camp. Think she -- let's get a little part American Idol. The apprentice make me feel when she feels don't show with its. And survivor and architecture for the -- except that those contestants never faced anything like the almost impossible odds of land in the Hollywood role. As a kid. Leonard broke her own -- -- -- -- -- let people send -- Taylor bride is eleven years old. She's come from Chicago. And I got all of their -- -- pictures taken that this lady who. Ali it's -- hang clothes so perfectly that she could never get -- when asked to pose like that. Taylor is already appeared in commercials. But the story is not just about kids chasing the Hollywood dream it's about the parents who come and -- them and the ones who stay home. Taylor and her mother -- run their own here. They -- Taylor's dad behind in Chicago. Where he'll run the auto repair -- I don't believe in doing the job that's not the best you can do it and you know if we came out here we were -- half hearted about it and we were just throwing money away. You know she's made also the money that we spend -- -- commercials. Taylor's paying for the trip herself. How much does she may I get scampered 15% and intended -- -- Aleck Kapono who got angry at around and that. If you could pick Taylor someone's career that she would like to emulate is there someone -- you think -- that does great. -- that he days. Really yes. But some kids come with a little extra. And the manager and they need to. Sarah asked and I can connect with them and coaches -- -- supportive family. And I have. -- That's right she is a manager an agent and acting coach school his facts and -- singing teacher meet Diane good new -- from Richmond Virginia. Who's here for the long. My dream is out of -- and then throwing. And make a difference. Like shall -- What an ordinary thirteen year old -- chances of becoming the next Hilary Duff. Well the -- is no ordinary thirteen year old girl. At the age of eight she was starting the -- is winning junior miss beauty pageants. And starring in a music video as the young -- -- you have a mother. I was very involved as -- and prayers are very -- -- And the one. I'm manager -- mom and a friend so if cars coming -- -- Andrew's mother Donna. Icy morning -- -- then. To -- wanna be a star. For something else happening there. And it just gives me chills just thinking about it. I have against something I am against -- acting and I just had this passion on board -- -- if there's people staying out of my hands it's how such an amazing feeling. Com and getting a pardon would be like it would make it perfect there's nothing else that he could really do -- to make it more perfect. Get him getting hard -- -- -- getting a column at keeping. An eleven year old -- green has come to the Oakwood apartments with his mother leaving -- at home in Madison Wisconsin. He is the son of not one but two psychologists. His mother Emily who specializes in counseling troubled kids hopes the psychological risks are worth the gamble. It's always hard to see your child go through something -- a cult. But I think part of this experience. Is helping a child learn how to deal with rejection. That's going to happen and there -- lives and so he goes home having been cast that's terrific and if he goes home not having been cast that's also threatened. Yes people -- asked -- okay what happens if he gets a big part. That I set. I don't know I've not thinking BI and -- ten weeks of being here Zacks analyst. But comic actor Gene Wilder than ever since he saw him in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory. -- -- There's a whole bunch of people who never get access to do something like this in -- life. To really pursue injuring at -- and I think I would ever get to be an actor I mean really who gets. I mean you really. And it seems like no one gets to be an actor. Is averaging knows -- steaming -- -- -- the -- there's three square years. Lying to you and -- the each state TV show. Commercial. Or -- movie and I count. On Ryan movie. -- -- -- -- -- We're about to -- and -- little chase Edwards is from Flint, Michigan where his success in school plays in local theater propelled him to -- -- Chase's mother Korean arranged to take a two month leave of absence from her job as principal of the local high school. His father a juvenile parole officer will visit when he can. Let's break Dan what do they say -- looked like when opera auditions a lot of people coming -- bad. They may look a little like Brad Pitt but even -- he -- act like it does Derek jinx stand a chance of landing a part. Any -- -- -- -- other and -- -- -- but says candy nailing an audition for candy commercial could be a start find out for yourself. He's the -- not every young would be actress stays at Oakwood. -- fourteen in his mom sandy use over -- resources but -- just down the road it's a world away from Fenton Michigan great dad works. -- -- -- Three years -- bit parts at home Derek Scott an agent and this call he got the call he'd been waiting for. Doing this agent Colin November was interesting -- doing some work with Warner Bros. and Paramount and Disney. We thought okay we know that this opportunity -- get violent past or even as for the long runs. -- I come out here you know as -- after years of field trip it's good experience and -- -- feel they ever decide to dean and you know I wanted to just given that chance were from the Flint, Michigan nearing there's not a lot more there than factories. It will be a rollercoaster journey exhilarating and heart breaking for -- -- Zack Taylor and Diana. Primetime continues. With Cynthia McFadden. The Oakwood apartments just outside Hollywood -- child actors gather every January -- Pilot season with the hope of becoming stars. Yes -- -- think that I'm agonizingly. Diameter and her mother Donna have been here on and off for a year and a half without dad or her brother. But hardly ever alone. Haiti and there's the private acting coach -- My -- out here an application to -- You didn't you come from -- zone too fast. And the singing teacher. So we have senseless and it doesn't original song and I could be sending -- And then making. It all seems to be paying off. Diane -- got more than a dozen acting auditions lined up and she's making the rounds of the major record labels to. Yeah. Mom's not just her manager she's the show firm. And the cooking teacher water bottle making mom -- -- making. Scary Cutler. So the perennial Hollywood question whose career is it anyway. Hey do you Wear comfortably in the mantle of stage mother it's now your license plate is some stay. -- -- and if you -- as you about it. Only now. -- here is that you have not been pushed this is in your oh my gosh now I -- totally wanted to do this myself. Still Donna says she knows when to take charge and she did when the director asked Diane -- to jump in almost freezing water I can eat. Tough when my child tested jump in the leak that's 45 degrees -- totally on the -- like you know trying to see why we're dating this pushy actually asked given. Yes in a bikini. So how tough was small well she let her daughter shoot the scene after all but she did get more money out of the director. One of the things people say is that these dreams aren't the games of the kids that the games of the moms -- No. This is you she -- it I -- probably time to just quit now in case. Have to do this room -- when he won. Taylor and her mother had been at oak wood for a month and -- But so far she's managed to get just one audition. And she struck out. How has this year been going -- But -- -- I mean she's not -- In the past age range or jobs shorts morn Chicago. Thanks does hair. I have to tell you I just couldn't get -- for the vulnerable teen at hurt my feelings for a week -- -- -- she ends so can you really deal with the disappointment yeah. Alan -- time conceded she handles that better than I did. Perhaps -- to -- -- to be disappointed. In addition to going to school. -- And all the activities and would talk about it and just down the road she attends a very demanding an acting -- You some schools. What's your problem the teachers are considered two of the best I've gotten me. This child to me what you can rely -- -- and you're asked to send her partner acts. You actually Taylor have to build your emotion your little -- Because when you see it the line and get away from my table and all caps you're so that your little bit angrier past a diving guys. Matt Jackson as a former casting director for Disney -- Todd was a child actor herself and more recently Hilary Duff smother it was McGwire. And ten. YOK. Carrying. And guess who takes the same class -- and drug. He insisted that yeah laughs and get away from. -- Is it worth keeping the dream -- for everything you don't want to tell somebody to hold on because it may not happen. Most of them. I'm not gonna become Hilary Duff how many is it -- -- for part. 20300. Kids from one -- -- from. And one person gets him in those 200 to 300 of the lucky kids who have already been selected from the thousands. -- -- Do you worry about. -- You're playing a little innocent heart in this very adult situation. These veterans say landing apart from -- casting director is like playing roulette with out any rules. Don't know if it's if their decision is based on. But they have for breakfast or if they're mad at there you know whoever it what their -- has been about it's so arbitrary. Yes I is that when -- clinics and it happens it is up the grill and it's it's an addiction because you want to well I got about one. Yeah let's get the next only done. Rolling the dice -- hopefully comes -- is the price 3000 dollars a month just for -- All year and a few Hollywood introduction and everything else is extra. Head shots 500 dollars students -- went. Don't complain -- private acting -- hundred dollars and outlook. Mean. Yeah I. -- and when it. Private singing coach is up 250 dollars an hour do you have anything you want to do with us. And agents and managers each take 15%. So what does -- think of all that competition. Those other kids and don't. -- -- I'm not like that it flake when I found that down I mean really really happy -- -- And that link and that's -- -- and -- -- -- the same way and I. In fact die -- -- Taylor seemed to get along swimmingly. But what if one gets to park and the other doesn't. Back in Oakland where thousands of child actors from all over the country -- of landing apart during pilot season. -- green and his mother share a one bedroom apartment. Number 209. Aren't just kids supposed to be in school well -- that -- schools with his mother and she takes it very seriously. What are the specific types. And the characteristics. That make than it needs. Remember zack's mom and his dad are both psychologists and -- insist. Acting is his dream not there's I think that my parents if they just wanted to be bank -- is still with me. I just love them like I care so there are eleven you know too much lining -- -- -- psychologists. And I -- aren't there sign inform me. But -- -- that they didn't question lunatics. And -- most -- the decision to come to -- would involve sacrifice. Not just financial but emotional. One parent often separated from another Brothers and sisters left behind. And -- his -- seem extraordinarily close. Active -- really misses his dad. It's a lot of responsibility. On young shoulders do you -- though. Thank you -- letting them down -- somehow I don't at a party you don't get a commercial you don't get something that's one thing I can feel bad about. Because -- and means they're spending hostile ton of money to be out here. And and and thinking I -- -- They're dealing on this for me disseminating -- each -- yeah and therefore I am I really I really hope I can somehow paying them back. Do you think sometimes if kids feel like got to do it not just for myself but for the whole family the perfect am willing to do this is. Extremely wealthy where that both parents can relocate. And they can devote every minute of every day to helping them pursue their dream. In three months -- -- -- didn't -- a single family with them was the case molester like ten year old Chase's family. Remember his mother -- high school principal came -- And then his father a probation officer would swap with her. Now for chase things are looking up right away he found an agent and he's getting ready to go out on three auditions. First sitcom a movie that commercial I think this -- -- attacked. And what about -- who's been told -- looks like Brad Pitt he's getting his message isn't head shots together. And he's landed -- prestigious agency to shop him around. As Zack two weeks after coming Oakland he's yet to land an audition and now he faces a bittersweet moment. Okay. Saying goodbye to his mother who has to go back to work Wisconsin. Saying hello to someone he's missed two weeks -- Is -- arising from him for sex has a surprise -- an idea. Believe this. Do you think you. Usually the world's greatest -- you aren't -- -- -- And Jack's father may have brought some good luck with -- 48 hours after his arrival startling news from Zacks agent. Feature film for universal -- did what. -- -- He's been called to an audition to. -- and the goal giving major movie. But in the next building Hoover -- -- becoming a star had based his sudden and disappointing. Development. It's probably going to be very disappointed. He had the essence you know life in his life and some time. We have to roll with the. You've heard the sad stories before of young stars whose childhoods were stolen. Corey Feldman at one point addicted to drugs Tracey gold anorexic as a teen. Gary Coleman -- legal troubles exhausted their childhood for -- And Macaulay Culkin who had a meteoric rise -- near disappearance. What about our kids at -- -- the spotlight it's such a young age set them up. For more. The sting. Since these aspiring actors and their parents and all of the -- the acting lessons the sacrifices. Boil down to one defining experience during the audition. Yeah. He. How much do you have to here before you know whether it's an up or death -- a couple of seconds. That's right just a couple of seconds to nail the -- Remember that startling phone call from -- agent. It was for an audition for the lead role in the universal movie whisper. He's like just an innocent little boy said. He's really like evil but he keeps -- -- very. Now -- is getting ready. Heading to the audition -- can't stop practicing. And hoping so yeah. If you go home and you have a car that'll. Be great. That would just feel great. At -- -- -- home and get them. How that it'll just feel very I don't think that -- -- going to be disappointed that I didn't get a part. And Gyanendra also has a big day. We catch up with -- Rick Fox studios where she's just finished an audition for a TV series -- -- -- around because there's. -- -- people and done. And it just you know that called plan and. Now die -- and Don are off to their next -- hold out for car commercial. Did she ever have down days -- me she is in public relentlessly cheerful well known that she doesn't -- herself never. The night before she left her -- in Richmond. And she said. We'll -- and since Clinton. Took. The call back is jammed with the other hopefuls. Erica is here for the call that made sure the. It -- slippers and Diane good doesn't get this part that she and her mother are undaunted. At what point. Do you pull the -- I mean you're here for the next thing. It yet because he really say indefinitely. Policy on it certainly Hollywood doesn't my -- I think we yet to have her reality check. Meanwhile Taylor is getting her own reality check. She is only that -- months monarchos in the Sheridan -- season and I can complain to anybody you -- know because I've realized that. That work -- -- net and the thing that you can do when your Harris make the most of -- -- you could learn why your hair. For -- disappointing news is that his mother -- has got to go boom in Michigan job. And chase you have to go. -- -- -- -- Dance and able to get another out. I'm back. Because because I really wanted more time for allegation in -- Spending more time acting cupcakes. The debate -- Suddenly one. In -- give them -- This toward independent movie. Chases nervous all wound up -- -- -- It doesn't go well. In the next day with no call back from the director -- time is up. He's headed home. And now well are now. And an unnamed. -- is not the only child actor whose dreams we'll have to wait. After three months ago -- -- never got a card. So he went home to -- in Michigan where he's acting in a local film production and practicing his piano. He's hoping his agent will call again. His mother says -- his father can find jobs in California the whole family will relocate. For next pilot season. Meanwhile Donna -- dream is very much alive. She's cut a demo CD for -- record label. Playing on the stereo. And Diane there has landed a part in the movie albeit independence mall she and her mother are headed to dissent. This is really and that's very thankful that's my best -- I've read. Just last weekend we -- there as she shot her first scene. It tastes funny because she -- -- order and stashed in the do you think doesn't have to jealous. Possibly out of its competitors -- but to roll and -- -- -- -- my friends and -- So after ten years pageants and videos. Acting and singing lessons. Is she the next Hilary Duff. But Diane there is one of the winners of oak woods ruling child star lottery. We were struck by something else the resilience of the kids who did not get their big break. Remember Zach had his heart set on landing that -- -- movie whispered. Will he also had wisdom beyond his years. If you really think about it as about. 200 kids. Who came in in the very -- -- -- And only one of them is going to get hard and it -- and and broom to 09 -- is seen at TD celebration. Is quiet now. Except for the sound of 111 year old boy had been keeping Hollywood and rejection. Perspective. If -- -- in my best and I announced that I just wasn't what they weren't looking for. Orrin that they ain't that bad case. We think it was bad taste. Is that is gone home for a bit but will be returning to Los Angeles to star in a plane. And what about Taylor in three months only three auditions and no part. She not only survived the Hollywood pressure cooker that is okay would she can't wait to jump back -- you liked it. I don't like and love it. If mom and dad says next year. No -- -- I drink. She says children -- We -- hundreds of great kids and good parents and reporting the story. But we came across something disturbing. Not know -- but in the midwest. A photographer specializing in children's head shots. He is a convicted sex offender and the parents didn't even know it. So if you would have put your kids in this business check out every one who's going to have contact with them.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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