Child stars

Matthew Beck auditions for “Drisden’s Run”  with producer Mike Ford.

Courtesy photo

Matthew Beck’s biggest dream is to see his name in lights. Now, his dream is coming true.

Starting Jan. 6 in San Antonio, Matthew, 8, will film for 13 weeks in a supporting role in the TV series “Drisden’s Run,” an animated comedy for children. Matthew is the youngest member of the cast, said producer Mike Ford.

“Matthew was selected to be in the supporting cast primarily for his natural rhythm and instinct for dance, though his distinctive look and bright personality were valuable assets in his favor,” Ford said.

Ana Beck, Matthew’s mother, said when Matthew was 1, he liked to have his photo taken and would pose. He could swim by himself before age 2 and rode a bike without training wheels by age 4. He started choreographing his own dances at age 8.

“He is competitive with everything he does,” Ana Beck said. “When Matthew was 6, he said he wanted to do movies and dance. He was so young; we decided to just let it be until he was older and could understand the responsibility of ‘being under contract.’”

Matthew, a second-grader at Clements-Parsons Elementary School, didn’t forget and kept pressing his parents to let him be in movies.

They signed him up with One Source Talent in September, and he started getting calls for auditions right away.

His parents said they will ensure he maintains a balanced life as his stardom rises.

“It’s exhausting for kids to follow direction, pose, work with people they don’t know and pretend to be someone they aren’t,” Ana Beck said. “If he wants to do this, we will support him 100 percent. But if this ever becomes a chore and he doesn’t enjoy it, we won’t do it anymore.”

Matthew’s neighbors also want to be in television and movies.

Dionna Gilbert, 4, and D.J. Gilbert, 8, travel to Dallas three to four times weekly for auditions and shoots.

Doriana was selected in October for a role in a short independent film, “A Prodigal Baby,” and is scheduled to start filming in January, said her father, Derrick Gilbert. She also auditioned for a film with Spike Lee in Atlanta on Dec. 12. D.J. has auditioned for commercials with both Reebok and Nike.

“It’s kind of strange how it all has taken off,” Derrick Gilbert said. “But I stay prayerful with them. If something doesn’t feel right or the roles offered don’t sit well, we don’t accept them.”

D.J. was offered the role of playing a bully in a film in San Antonio. But D.J. was not comfortable with it and the family declined the offer, Derrick Gilbert said.

“I really do want to do singing, dancing, and acting,” D.J. said. “I try to go with the flow.”

D.J. plays basketball and Doriana is in gymnastics and pageants.

“We are not trying to take their childhood and replace it with stardom. We are not trying to push them on how to be a star but to be good people,” Gilbert said. “If they wake up tomorrow and decide they don’t want to do this anymore, they don’t have to.”

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

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