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Somerset boy's dream may come true

Eli Anderson poses in one of the photos from his comp card. A comp card is a combination of business card and portfolio for models and actors. The front of the card contains one photo of Anderson and his basic size information including height, measurements and shoe size. The back of the card contains three additional photos of Anderson. This photo is from the front of Anderson's comp card and was taken by Craig Damon.1 / 2
Anderson (right) and fellow actor, Sophie, smile outside of the "Hannah Montana" recording studio. While he was in Los Angeles last January, Anderson recorded two songs in the "Hannah Montana" studio (where the "Hannah Montana" songs were recorded by Miley Cyrus) as part of the audition process.2 / 2

Eleven-year-old Eli Anderson said he has always dreamed of being an actor. Many kids have shared that dream, but Anderson has been working on his dream for the past two years and, if his luck holds, he just might achieve it sooner rather than later.

Last January, Anderson's agency brought 10 of the children it represents (Anderson included) to Los Angeles to audition for the start of a new television show. When a new television show is begun, a pilot episode is filmed as a test and, if all goes well, the producers decide to sponsor the show. In this case, Anderson said, both Nickelodeon and Disney are interested in the pilot.

Nearly a year later, Anderson said the pool of children being considered for the show is down to just 12 kids from four different agencies. Anderson is one of them. He said he has been asked to return to Los Angeles to continue his audition.

"I'm very excited," Anderson said. "This is like one out of a million chance, but it's a good chance."

The show, which will be called "Triple Threat," is more of a reality show, Anderson said. Its aim is to take kids who are very good at acting and singing, or singing and dancing, or acting and dancing and makes them professionals in all three areas, thus, a "triple-threat" as someone talented in acting, dancing and singing is known in the business.

If Anderson is able to get a part in the show, Anderson will become a "triple-threat," making him much more desirable to employers, he said.

Anderson said he has been singing since he was 4, when he began singing with his mother Jodene at their church.

He said his experience gave him a little bit of an edge. Nowadays, he said he enjoys Adam Levine and Philip Phillips songs.

While he was auditioning in January, Anderson said he recorded two entirely new songs, written just for the "Triple Threat" pilot. Anderson learned one song for three days before he recorded it. The other song he learned and recorded in eight hours in the recording studio.

"You go in the thing and you practice and practice and you record it," Anderson said. "It's not an easy task, but it's fun."

Anderson also practiced a dance routine with the rest of the kids from his agency and their choreographer/makeup artist, who has also worked for Janet Jackson. And, he got to do a little modeling on the Santa Monica Beach, Anderson said.

"It's not like the beaches here," Anderson said. "It was really windy."

"We were busy," Anderson said. "One day we were in the recording studio, the next day we were in the dancing studio, the acting classes with Mark Tilman."

Tilman is a Los Angeles actor who has his own agency and teaches acting classes.

Anderson said he was able to do a little sight-seeing during his first trip and met Joe Jonas in a restaurant.

"The rest was work and getting up early and then going to sleep late," Anderson said. "But at the end, once you get back, you miss all that."

While Anderson said he is determined to follow his dream, it is not without its costs.

This past year, Anderson and his family moved from the Twin Cities area to Somerset in order to help Anderson get used to moving and making new friends. If Anderson gets a role in the "Triple Threat" show, he will have to move to Los Angeles, leaving Somerset behind.

"I've already got the hard part off my shoulders," Anderson said. "I'm still in touch with my old friends; I just don't see them every day."

Anderson said he keeps in touch via Facebook and text messaging. He said it will be hard to leave his new friends in Somerset if he gets a part in the pilot.

"You also have to look at what may come in the future," Anderson said, "because this is my dream."

Anderson has worked hard to see his dream come true, not just in auditions but in training with acting and modeling coaches and in academics as well. Jodene Anderson said she and her husband Dirk make sure Eli Anderson knows that education comes first. Still Jodene Anderson said she and her husband are very proud of their son.

"You can't describe the pride that you have in your child, because we can't get it for him. We can support him, but he has to do the work," Jodene Anderson said. "It's amazing to see how much he's grown in the past year."

Eli Anderson said acting is like a sport for him.

"If I get an audition, that's like a big deal. It's like winning a football game," Eli Anderson said. "You don't want it to stop because it's so fun."

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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