|My grandson, Sawyer Bell, as Abner Barlowe (center, in hat)|
The success belongs to my grandson, Sawyer Bell, as well as to his mother Alicia (my daughter), his father Bryan, and his sister Georgia.
Sawyer will be the one on the screen tonight at 8 Eastern, 7 Central on the Lifetime channel in the United States (repeated at 10/9 if that time works better for you). He plays Abner Barlowe, the youngest son of fiesty widow Belle Gatlin Barlowe, the heroine of Deliverance Creek, a TV movie produced by renowned writer Nicholas Sparks.
However, every one in the Bell family deserves credit for the tremendous effort and sacrifice they have made over the past three years to reach this point: the discovery of Sawyer's awesome natural talent for acting through a community children's theatre program in Plano, Texas (thanks Sara and Danny); Alicia's diligent "momager" research to wade through the morass of acting business charlatans so she could identify the right people to work with in the business (she should write a book on the process); little sister Georgia's "shadowing" of Sawyer as he rehearsed lines and songs for shows, and her own emergence as an acting-dancing-singing-modeling prodigy; Bryan's do-anything utility role ranging from long-distance chauffeur to steady encourager; acting, voice, guitar and other classes, photography sessions, audition videos. During all this, Alicia and Bryan have also excelled at significant full-time jobs (Alicia in technology communications, Bryan in IT) while covering all the normal duties of parents with young schoolchildren.
There were times that it seemed Sawyer's "big break" was about to happen, and then it didn't quite materialize. Easy to doubt all the time, money, and angst that had been devoted - maybe this was not the path they should pursue.
Deliverance Creek seems to be the breakthrough. A national TV premiere in which potentially millions of people will see Sawyer/Abner in action, adding to the flavor of the film. He's not one of the main characters in the Civil War drama - at least not yet. If the audience is responsive, the show could become a regular series. Perhaps his role will grow as his fan base clamors for more.
I don't know if Sawyer will pursue his acting career into adulthood. He certainly has the wide-ranging talent and great looks. And the passion for doing a great job. He says, only partially joking, "I was born to do this." I've told him that he may become a one-name superstar: when people mention the name "Sawyer," everyone will know he's THE Sawyer. (To see more about Sawyer, his website is sawyer-bell.com)
I wish I was in the States to watch it live - get out the popcorn, make sure the DVR is recording it so we can re-watch Sawyer's scenes again and again, and give him a huge hug ... give them all a huge hug. I may get to see it in a couple days - as soon as they post it to iTunes, from which I have pre-ordered the movie.
Can you tell I'm immensely proud of all of them? Sawyer will receive many very well-deserved accolades in the coming days and weeks. As someone who has witnessed the "behind the scenes," I can tell you this has been a team effort. True success usually is.
|Sawyer with his "little sister," Casey Charland|