Sep 8, 2008

Mondays With Matt- The "Mother" Load

I'm changing things up a bit today, and getting the scoop from Matt's mom. My sister Debbie is where the real scoop comes from when Matt is too busy hanging out with his Hollywood friends to give his auntie a call. Just kidding! Matt is awesome and always ready to talk to me. Right Matt? Here is Debbie, my beautiful older sister (just by 2 years) and her insight into Matt's life and her own.

How did Matt get started? He was a performer since the day he was born. When he was about 12, he started begging me to let him get into the business. A person from Millie Lewis came to Victoria and had an open call. They loved Matt and invited us to their convention in Dallas. Matt and I went and he performed in front of a lot of LA and New York agents. At the time he had braces and really short hair. Two NY agents loved him and wanted him to come to NY as soon as the braces came off and they said to let his hair grow out. My husband, Tony, said no and that was the end of that. My daughter, Stephanie, had always wanted to go to LA, so we planned a spring break trip there in 2005. We stayed in Hollywood at the Renaissance Hotel. It was right next door to The Kodak Theatre and across the street from The El Capitan Theatre and Jimmy Kimmel. Being there really got Matt going again. He begged me to bring him back there in the Summer. Tony and I had a long talk and agreed to let him go with me the week after school got out. While we were there we met with a company called Image Development. One of the ladies there was Barbara Cameron (Kirk Cameron's mom). They were Christian ladies and they loved Matt. They agreed to work with him and monitor his progress. We came home and found an acting coach in Houston, Mari Ferguson. She started working with Matt and they hit it off immediately. She thought he really had a wonderful look and wanted to work on his acting. They worked together for 6 months and then Image Development brought Matt out to LA to meet with agents. He signed with an amazing agent and manager and the rest is History!

What sacrifices were made? I had to leave my husband and my daughter. I was miserable without them. Stephanie was about to celebrate her 18th birthday and was about to graduate from high school. She was at that age where she didn't listen to me much and our relationship was a little strained. Tony was very busy and I left him to do everything on his own. He had the hardest time of all.

Would you do it all again? Yes!!! Believe it, or not, it strengthened my relationships with Steph and Tony. Steph and I talk multiple times a day and she is my closest friend. Tony and I have learned to value each other so much more. I grew so much over the two years and I think for the better. I was very judgmental and strict. I softened a lot. I started seeing people as God sees them and became much more loving to those who are different from myself.

What is it really like in LA?
Fun!!! For me, that is. It is a very busy city. There is always something going on. I lived in Downtown Burbank and I could walk everywhere. I literally had a movie theatre, mall, post office, bank and restaurants all a 5 minute walk from me. It is a very liberal city, but there are a few conservatives mixed in. The traffic is horrendous! I learned to avoid the freeways if at all possible. Everything is more expensive. Movies are $10.50 per ticket, bread was almost $3, and milk and eggs were at least $1 more than here. I really don't know how people can afford to live there. Our two bedroom, two bath apartment was $1,850 per month. Yikes!

You have a love of acting too, what kind of work have you done? I started doing background work last September and loved it! I worked on almost every TV show that films in LA including Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Eli Stone, House, Criminal Minds, CSI and Boston Legal. I actually was in the trailer and shown prominently on the tornado episode of Desperate Housewives. I was also in the movies Hancock, Step Brothers and Tropic Thunder. I was also cast in four student films and a documentary that is airing on the History Channel. If I could act where I live now, I would do it in a heartbeat!

You were on the set with Matt the entire time he filmed HSM3, so can you give us an insider look on what we can expect? It is going to be amazing! Lots of dance numbers, a prom and a graduation. I'm still under a gag order, so I can't say a lot. I will say that Matt's character is hilarious!

Who was your favorite cast member on the set? I loved Mo Mo (Monique Coleman). She was one of my closest friends. We went to dinner together several times and had some good heart to hearts. I miss her so much! The whole cast was great though!

What is it like to be the mom of an upcoming HSM3 star? Surreal! I am so proud of him, but worried at the same time. This is really going to change his life. He seems ready though. He is really good friends with Miley and Zac and he has seen what their lives are like. He has gotten some really good advice. It's crazy how many people know me already because I'm his mom. I can't even imagine what it will be like after the movie comes out.

What would you say to parents who have a child who wants to be an actor? Do as much local acting jobs as possible. Find a great acting coach and learn as much as you can.

What does Matt want to do now? All he wants to do is Act!

How can we pray for Matt? Please pray he stays safe and makes Godly choices.

*Thanks Debbie for your insider's look! If any of you have questions for Debbie or Matt, feel free to ask in the comments.


Chappyswife said...

Very interesting. It also sounds a bit scary at the same time. We want our children to succeed, but at the same time, careful - their wishes may come true and bring great change. I pray Matt stays close to God first and foremost. Congrats to your family on their success after sacrifice!

Tiffany said...

great interview. Lots of great information I can use for Paige. I'm not sure if I could the whole L.A. thing. That takes some courage. WOW!!!