Beth Ann Hoyt, 13, is no teenage drama queen. The seventh-grade student at Rim Country Middle School is a working actress and model, a career she has pursued for six years.
One of her most recent jobs is a movie released in spring 2003, "Arizona Summer." While she had no lines, she was one of the featured extras in the movie, appearing in many of the scenes.
The movie was directed by Joey Travolta and included appearances by such well-known professionals as Lee Majors, Greg Evigan, Morgan Fairchild and Shane Van Dyke, one of Dick Van Dyke's grandsons.
It is about two brothers who learn about life and grow up during a summer camp vacation.
"I pretend to watch a baseball game in one scene," Hoyt said.
In another scene she pretends to watch a rodeo. Lee Majors is in that scene she said. While it was being filmed she visited with him, but didn't realize who he was.
"I was really disappointed I couldn't take her that day," said her father, Robert Hoyt. "I wanted to be Heath Barkley (Majors' first big role in the Western television drama, "The Big Valley") when I grew up. She didn't even know who he was, she just called him this old guy she visited with."
Robert Hoyt and his wife, Janice, took turns driving the young actress to the movie's location, one of the campgrounds at Saguaro Lake. The movie was filmed in September 2002 and Hoyt was on the job for 10 days.
Hoyt has taken numerous acting and modeling classes over the years, and is especially grateful for the efforts of teacher David Aiken, who helped her find an agent, Signature Models & Talent, Phoenix. With an agent, Hoyt has a growing list of credits that include several commercials and print advertisements. She has been the star of two commercials and an extra in two others. Her modeling has included work for Dillards and Superstition Mountain Builders.
"My first big job was for Cox Education Network, sponsored by the State Legislature," Hoyt said.
She has the one finished movie to her credit and did the voice for an animated role.
"You act the part when you do animation," she said. "They drew the character to look like me and made her move like me too."
Her work has also taken her to Los Angeles to read for parts.
"I was quite a bit younger then and it was very confusing," she said.
The young actors and actresses were asked to "slate" and Hoyt and her parents didn't know what that was.
They learned it is when they give their name, age and representation to the camera and there is a slate board in front of them with the name of the project and other information, sometimes the name of the director.
"They have all the brown-haired, blue-eyed girls in one room and they all look like her," said Hoyt's father. "Then there is a room filled with blond, blue-eyed girls, another with redheads."
"They're all rounded up like cattle and put in these rooms," Hoyt said. "That's why they call it a cattle call."
Hoyt said she has worked enough and made enough money to have recently been asked to join the Screen Actors Guild.
"She is not sure she wants to join because Arizona's a right-to-work state and it could cost her work," Hoyt's father explained.
Hoyt said the minimum amount she makes is $51 an hour. Doing a national commercial for the Cable One company, she worked a 14-hour day one Saturday, wearing a cast (for the part), and made $1,400. A couple of weeks ago she received another $500 for the job.
"I get paid for every cycle it runs," she said.
While the money sounds good, that 14-hour day resulted in only 30 seconds of film for broadcast.
Doing the work may be the easy part though, getting the job in the first place is often a tremendously trying experience.
Hoyt explained the process of responding to casting calls. You stand in line for two or three hours with about 2,000 others kids. Only 200 are called back for a second reading. From that 200, 20 come back again and after that five are picked.
She enjoys her career though. "I made a lot of friends on it (the Arizona Summer movie)."
Hoyt shared advice on young people who might want to try their hand at an acting career.
"You definitely have to have a thick skin," she said. "You can't take anything personally. There's only one right person for the part. You have to be outgoing."
She said actors usually have a lot of fun on the set with one another, but sometimes the directors can get testy.
One of the things Hoyt has going for her is her youthful look. At 13, she can play as young as 8, but she also has a mature attitude. That is reflected in her life away from the camera. She is in the gifted program at RCMS, including accelerated math.
Hoyt is the youngest of Janice and Robert Hoyt's three children. Her older sister, Amanda Smith, is a teacher in Idaho and has a two-year-old son. Hoyt's brother, Billy Bob Hoyt, is a senior at Payson High School and will be attending the University of Hawaii on a golf scholarship.
Robert Hoyt teaches American studies at PHS and Janice Hoyt is a secretary at the district office.
"The school is very helpful and understanding," Hoyt's father said. It has been possible for at least one of them to accompany the young woman to all her jobs since the family moved here from Nebraska eight years ago.
"We came here so Billy could golf most of the year," Mr. Hoyt said. "If we need to move so she can work more, that is something we're willing to do."
Hoyt wants to continue working as an actress, ideally she would like to get a job in a series that will run several years until it becomes profitable to have it aired in syndication.
"But you have to have a backup," she said. Her backup is to become a lawyer, but in the meantime, she is having a great time.