ELYRIA, Ohio - The walls of the home of an Elyria boy are filled with the words "success" and "discipline." Those words must have rubbed off on him because Amiri Wilkerson, 13, is angling for the stars -- literally. He would like to be a Hollywood or stage star after having tasted the success of his bit part in the filming of "Fun Size" when the feature film producers brought their production to Cleveland.
"It was kind of funny," said Amiri, thinking back on his experience in the film, "because not everything was about what it seemed because a lot of it was fake."
However, Amiri had understood that even before the cameras began to roll. Sets were being built and actors were given costumes to wear in the PG-13 film about a wild Halloween night and a teenager who takes her brother out trick-or-treating only to misplace the boy.
Amiri's part is not a large one, but it was big enough to keep him interest possibly in an acting career. In early 2012, when the casting director sent out word producers were looking for extras for the film, Amiri and his mother moved into high gear, attending the audition sessions. In his home, with his mother, Lou Wilkerson, at his side he talked about the film, which was released to theaters in October.
"My mom always says you got to our yourself in your character's position and see what you would do if you were that character," he said.
Mother ought to know. She has graced the stage on some live theater productions and made a few commercials for television. Of her son, she said it was a proud moment when the trailer to "Fun Size" was released and Amiri woke up everyone in the house to show his small part which was in the trailer. With that story, Amiri beamed about his experience in the feature-length film.
Acting is not new to this youngster, as he is being schooled at home by his mother. Recently, he played the role of "Travis," the only child in the hit play "A Raisin in the Sun." He still relishes that part and understands the significance of the hit play that was written in 1959, but still has legs to run.
His brother and sister, Azariah and Hollis, 7 and 4, respectively, seemed to bask in the glow of the success their older brother has found. As he watched the online trailer several times, Azariah and Hollis peered over his shoulder, watching Amiri's pointing finger directing attention to his short scene in the trailer.
"Fun Size," filmed in Cleveland and Cleveland Heights, is filled with youthful humor. There are laughs at every turn of events in the production. Several Cleveland-area locations are easily recognized.
His part in the full film is longer. Amiri, on short noticed, spouted his lines just as the director had trained him. When he is not acting, he spends time on the violin. Easily, he plays Gavotte in G Minor by Bach. The violin, he admitted, was not his favorite pasttime, but his mother has impressed upon him the need to expand his horizons with music.
Another activity he sees on his horizon is cooking and baking.
"He has a zucchini garden in the backyard and is very good at baking zucchini bread," said Mrs. Wilkerson.
Amiri contemplates working in entertainment when he grows up, but he also thinks about the possibility of being a chef.
"I'd like to be a chef and own a restaurant in New York City," he said, his smile broadening with each word.
There is one thing for certain. He seems destined for success because all around his house are constant reminders of how to find success. Those words his mother taped to the wall -- "discipline," "success," "perseverance," and several others are signposts on the way to Hollywood, New York, movies, the stage, or wherever Amiri wants to go.