"Fear can keep us from using the gifts and talents..."
Just a short month after attending the SHINE conference, the six Burton’s signed with The Clutts Agency and went on their first go see. From that encounter, the Burton’s have not slowed down! After attending an audition that brought over 450 people, the whole family booked a print ad for YJ USA (a trampoline company). Luke, Shannon, Logan, Faith Anna, Beth and Tag each continue to book print jobs, commercials and even lead roles in feature films. Together, this beautiful family is on a mission to honor, glorify and praise THE Creator!
Your family has had some really cool things happen recently!
Yes! Logan was the lead role in a feature film in Atlanta/Washington, DC called Crimes & Mr. Meanors. It is a family adventure film to the tune of National Treasure. Jason Prisk is directing, produced by Creekside Films. Here is the synopsis-
Two young teens find themselves caught up in a mystery involving a missing scientist and what they think is a “street performer” who is convinced he belongs in the 1700’s. The young teens must find the scientist before it’s too late- and before hostile opponents and the FBI can stop them for good. Along the way, they learn lessons about America, and the Godly principles our country was founded upon.
Also, Luke, Shannon, and Faith Anna were in the 8 Days movie that was filmed in Dallas-- directed by Jaco Booyens and written by Philipa Booyens with AMTC.
8 Days is a film about sex trafficking in America that hopes to bring awareness to this crime and ultimately STOP the slavery of children. The proceeds from this film will go to building safe houses for the children who are being rescued every day. Luke was a principle who played the FBI Homeland Security Officer who helped rescue a trafficked girl named Amber, Shannon played the Doctor who admitted Amber to the hospital after she was rescued, and Faith Anna played a kidnapped child.
What were some of your favorite opportunities?
Our favorite jobs as a family have been the ones that all 6 of us booked and got to do together! Our very first job was a print job for YJ USA trampolines- and we got to jump on trampolines for 3 days together! We loved this one! We also loved our photo shoot for the Beverly Drive Magazine in Dallas- we got to play a 1950s family touring the zoo. So again, getting to go to the zoo was really fun….plus the clothes were fun to get dressed up in.
Faith Anna, 11, and Beth, 9, loved their SAG commercial for TXU Energy- again, because they got to play real sisters… and they got to dance together! And learning the choreography from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Choreographer wasn’t too shabby either!
Tag, our 6 year old, really loved his Chuck E. Cheese commercial- he was only an extra- but he got to spend all the tokens he wanted at Chuck E. Cheese! His other fav was a Centerpoint Energy commercial- an electric company out of Houston. He and his Daddy got to play a father and son on set- building blanket forts in the living room, cooking together in the kitchen, splashing in a bubble bath, and even napping on the couch together. He loved this one because he got to do it with his REAL daddy.
Logan, 13, is enjoying filming the movie Crimes and Mister Meanors. He has enjoyed print and commercials, but now that he has experienced being the lead in a film….he says that it is just the most fun thing he has done.
Luke’s favorite project so far was also the 8 Days film. I really thought he might say his Academy Sports and Outdoors commercial, or his Callaway Golf commercial….because he loves golf and the outdoors so much! But he said being a principle actor on the set of 8 Days was just incredible. Really fun getting to interpret all of those heavy scenes….and being a part of such an important project with such a stellar cast and crew. Incredible!
My favorite print job was obviously the bridal shoot for Beverly Drive Magazine (was then called Grande Luxe Magazine.) So fun getting to put on those gorgeous Mother of the Bride Gowns! I also loved being a principle in our very first short film, Sons of Man, directed by Sarah Nimeh. What an incredible experience! And getting to be a featured extra on the 8 Days film was amazing! I loved getting to be a small part of such an incredible project.
Has anything exciting or unusual happen while working in the industry?
Since we are AMTC grads….and one of the first questions we ALWAYS get is, “So how did you get into the business?” Well, within the first few sentences, the Lord’s name is mentioned through AMTC- Actors, Models, and talent for CHRIST. So then it’s out there! And God sometimes moves forward and allows a conversation… and sometimes not…that’s it. And the name of Christ is left hanging in their brains….a seed planted for someone else on their journey to water at another time. It could be the gal sitting behind the desk signing us in. Sometimes it’s another mom in the room waiting.
Sometimes it’s other actors on set, the grip guy, the camera man. You never know who the Lord is going to open a door for you to shine into their life. But if you watch and NOTICE people… pay attention to people instead of seeing them as obstacles, PRAY for them covertly- just pray something you notice about them- like Lord, they look tired- give them rest.. and then LISTEN- evangelism with your ears, not your mouth… purposeful listening.
Before you know it, the Lord just might open a door for you to talk and share your story to an eager listener who is searching for peace. That happened this morning actually, on set here in Atlanta. One of the actors’ cars broke down as he was leaving the set last night. So the director put him up in the same hotel we were staying in. We ran into him at the continental breakfast… he sat down with us and started talking about how his life was falling apart. His car, finances, his marriage. Logan and I just listened… and then there was that pause where the Holy Spirit prompted me to say,
"Well, do you have a faith in your life to help you through times like this? Because I know for me in my life- without my faith in Christ carrying me through each day and giving me strength, I could never have made it through some of my hardest days…" And then the door opened. And he got to hear about the amazing, life-changing unconditional love of a God that loves him so completely and wants more than anything to rescue him and fill him with his never-stopping, never-giving up love. It was amazing!
What challenges has your family had to overcome, while being in the industry?
Being in the business is lots of sacrifices on everyone’s part. Sometimes difficult relationships with the kid's school and neighborhood friends who tease them about being "movie stars" and think they are "so lucky" and have a "perfect life." We have lots of talks where the kids say things like, "I just want to be a normal kid."
We are always praying and asking the Lord each day for His direction and if this is still His will. We want to make sure we are still doing it for the right reasons and not allowing the devil a foothold in our family. And we are continually talking to the kids about how their friends are being drawn to Christ in them… Not them. And it manifests in jealously lots of times with their friends. But that’s part of life, and even more reason to act in humility, constantly giving credit to the Lord. But can be hard on kids.
This business can also fracture a family if we are not intentional about guarding family time and commitments. We have to trust the Lord to say "No" to certain auditions and roles that our family might just not have the margin to do. This can be hard too. I can’t tell you how many times Luke and I are running around crazy getting kids to auditions, call backs, wardrobe fittings, taping auditions at home, helping them learn lines, getting kids to dance, soccer, basketball, church, acting lessons… And we stop and ask, "Why are we doing this, again?"
We have to continually keep our family in check and make sure we are taking each commitment before the Lord. But that’s when we stop and regroup.
Ask the Lord for his will. And so far, it is. This is all for the Lord and his glory. He never said it would be easy. Some days are harder than others, but in the end, we feel like He is blessing us and using us to bring others to know Him. And that’s why we keep doing it! That’s what makes this crazy worth it.
How was AMTC a stepping stone in your career?
AMTC has done everything for our career. None of us would be doing what we are today without the incredible training we received through AMTC. I remember as we were going through those months of preparation before SHINE, talking to my husband about how amazing it was. We both decided that even if nothing ever came of this as far as acting and modeling goes, that it was still SO worth it.
The incredible truths and life skills that were sewn into the hearts of our four kids are worth far more than any career in the entertainment industry. They have had the truths of the Gospel, the confidence only found in Christ alone, the life skills to look an adult in the eye and respectfully speak to them (to name only a few), spoken into their lives forever. And they will never forget it.
Your daughter Faith Anna has a pretty impactful overcoming story. Tell us about that.
God has gifted our daughter, Faith Anna, with a naturally beautiful voice… and an amazing gift and talent for songwriting. But when she was going through AMTC (9 yrs old then), she was too shy to share it. Jaco Booyens immediately recognized this and began talking to her about fear and overcoming it. By Winter SHINE, God had spoken courage and peace into her young heart… and she stepped out on that stage and belted out her solo- Lauren Alaina’s "Like My Mother Does" in front of 800 people.
That spring, God continued to sew courage into her heart. She had an audition in April where the casting director asked her what her favorite thing was. "Singing!" she proudly said. The casting director asked her to sing, and I saw that fear come back in a flash across her sweet face, as the blood rushed out and her eyes got as big as quarters. "No," she kindly but with certainty shook her head. I couldn’t believe it! Didn’t she already conquer this a few months back at Shine? But our old fears have a way of creeping back in sometimes.
Thankfully, the casting director put her arm around her and said not to worry, maybe she would next time. So sure enough, after lots of prayers and practice sessions at home for the next impromptu possibility, she gained that confidence back. It was at an audition just a month later. I was actually out in the lobby when she went in the room. I remember praying- "Lord, give her the strength and confidence to sing if she’s asked." Only seconds later, through the wall, I heard the voice of an angel belting out a song… and tears streamed down my face. She did it! She walked out of that audition with the biggest smile on her face!
About a month later, that first casting director that had asked her to sing and saw the utter terror in her eyes a few months earlier, called her back. With hesitation, I remember her asking Faith Anna what her favorite thing to do was… almost "teeing her up" to succeed if she was ready. And sure enough, Faith Anna responded "Singing!" and began to belt out a few lines of her favorite song.
Now, 2 years later, Faith Anna will belt out a song for anyone who asks. She still has a bit of timidity at times… but it looks a lot more like humility than fear. She’s conquered that one, in the name of Jesus. And she has a notebook full of songs she’s waiting to record, to prove it.
What advice do you have to future performers?
Do not be afraid! How many times does the Lord say that throughout the Bible? Gosh, must be hundreds! Isaiah 41:10 is one of our family verses- "Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Fear keeps us from using the gifts and talents God has blessed us with. But we were made in God’s image- so He knows what that fear feels like! He created us. So instead of letting it stop you- Do it even if you’re afraid! Do it shaking in your boots. But just do it. And once you step out in faith, the Lord will begin to give you that peace and calm those butterflies in your heart.