What the 'Harvard for Hollywood' Gets You

Big Pressures on Small Shoulders

Todd said she always worries about the children that come into the business. "You're putting a little innocent heart in this very adult situation," she said.

For example, during his stay at Oakwood, Zach Green said he really missed his dad, and because his family had made such sacrifices for him, he felt a responsibility to do the best he could.

"They're spending a whole ton of money to be out here and I'm thinking, 'They're doing all this for me,'" he said. "I really hope I can somehow pay them back."

Taylor Bright said she could sense the high levels of competition at Oakwood, but she said it wasn't in her nature to be so.

"If like one of my friends got a job, I'd be really, really happy for them," she told McFadden. "But like I'm not so sure they think the same as I do."

And of all the anxious moments in an aspiring child actor's life, perhaps the peak is the audition -- a process Todd likened to playing roulette without any rules.

"You don't know if it's their decision is based on what they had for breakfast or if they're mad at their whoever, what their day has been about. It's so arbitrary," she said. "The other side of it is that when it clicks, and it happens, it is a thrill. And it's an addiction."

Her fellow acting coach Matt Jackson, a former casting director for Disney, said the kids only have a moment to make their mark.

"It's a couple of seconds" before you know if it's an up or down, he said. "You don't spend an afternoon chit-chatting. You don't have that kind of time."

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Some Fail, One Stays

Zach Green ultimately got an audition for the lead role in a Universal movie called "Whisper." He didn't get the part, but he was coping: "If I did do my best then I know that I just wasn't what they were looking for. Or that they've got bad taste," he said.

Chase Edwards also got an audition for an independent movie -- which was all the more significant because it came at the 11th hour, as his mother was preparing to get back to her job, and bring him with her.

But Chase never got a call back. "He knows life is life and sometimes we have to roll with it," said Corinne Edwards.

Meanwhile, Diandra Newlin auditioned for a TV series with Fox studios and a car commercial. She didn't get the commercial, but her mother says it's far from time to pull the plug.

"If certainly Hollywood doesn't like her, I think we're going to have to have a reality check here. But that's going to take a little time," said Donna Newlin.

Later, Diandra cut a demo CD and landed a role in an independent movie.

Hoping to Be Back

Derek Jinks and Taylor Bright both say they had a positive experience in spite of the fact that they didn't land a role.

Derek is acting in a local prodction in his hometown. Chase is happy to be at home with his family. He also hopes to continue to pursue his dreams of acting.

Zack went home for a while, but he is heading back to Los Angeles because he was cast in a play, "The Ghost of Mrs. Muir."

Today, Taylor is busy pursuing opportunities in her hometown of Chicago and she says she can't wait to return. "I love it," she told McFadden.

And that's the right attitude to have, said Todd. "If you don't thrive in it -- if you wither in it, then you shouldn't be in it. And if the family withers, then they shouldn't be in it. … because life is not this business."

For more information on the Oakwood Child Actor Program log on to www.oakwood.com/childactors.

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