Cooper Mothersbaugh has always demanded an audience.
"Ever since he was a kid, Cooper was the center of attention," said Cooper's mother, Kristin Mothersbaugh. "He was always putting on a show. And when he was little, if you were holding him and talking to someone else, he would grab your chin and pull your face over to look at him."
Armed with what Mothersbaugh describes as Cooper's "big personality," the 13-year-old Kent Stanton Middle School student is already planning a takeover of the small screen.
One of the teen's biggest fans is his younger sister, Edie, 11, who is establishing an acting career of her own.
Cooper will have his television debut this May in the season-premier for Comedy Central's "Kroll Show," while Edie appeared on the season two finale of ABC's "Suburgatory" titled "Stray Dogs," which aired April 17.
While each may have small roles, the Brady Lake family agrees Edie and Cooper have opened some "big doors."
"The stars aligned for them," said the children's father, Al Mothersbaugh.
Following a serendipitous encounter with acting coach JW Myers, president and partner at Route 40 Films LLC in Columbus, spurred by Coopers' successful auditioning at a tryout in Cleveland, the aspiring star enrolled in acting classes.
Edie followed right in his footsteps "just for fun," never expecting to be on TV at such a young age. She eventually enrolled at Falcon Academy of Creative Arts in the Field School District, where she is in fifth grade.
Cooper, however, said his first life goal was to be on TV -- he never expected to achieve it so quickly.
"Now I've got new goals," he said.
Last spring, the child actors spent months in California filming auditions at frantic rates, which eventually landed the duo their respective debut roles.
There was always at least three hours set aside on set for school work, Al noted. The work was sent to the kids courtesy of Kent and Field schools. Both maintain A and B grades.
The Mothersbaughs believe their kids' unique personalities set them apart in an often homogenized sea of competing young actors.
Cooper loves to make people laugh, but admittedly loves the attention, too, and his parents are happy to oblige.
The family spends several hours a week filming auditions at their home to send to prospective casters. Al Mothersbaugh, former trombonist for Kent rock band The Twistoffs and cousin of Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh, often writes music for the family's short films.
"I just need to be heard. When I'm not the center of attention, I feel like I'm not being ... the best I can be," said Cooper with a smile. "It's a disease."
In terms of auditioning, Edie asserts "you have to be fearless." Before one successful audition, Edie warned her audience "she can get a little loud."
Both describe themselves as "weird, Ohio kids." Cooper believes they're the antithesis of the style of "California-surfer guys" who fill casting calls. Cooper believes their Midwest appearance is gaining momentum in Hollywood because of it's novelty.
"But if you don't believe in yourself, they won't believe in you either," Edie said. "If you don't think it's funny, they won't think it's funny."
"You have to go out there with a mindset like you don't care what anybody else thinks" Cooper said.
"You have to leave it all on the table, and that's what I've learned through all this," he added, referencing an off-putting comment he made during an audition.
'You can't teach personality'
A grim but sarcastic remark about suicide was the first time Cooper thought he might have crossed the line -- and that very performance secured his Kroll Show appearance.
"It's better to scare them than not be big enough," he said confidently. "If you do something unusual, they'll remember you."
Edie, whose favorite celebrities are Jennifer Aniston and Nicki Minaj, said her favorite part of auditioning in California was having her own trailer and professional makeup.
As Girl 1, Edie was in a scene where she offered a couple short quips to Ana Gasteyer's character at a "chastity ball" where young beauty pageant girls replaced other ladies who weren't "pure" enough.
She said being on TV with the accomplished actor on the primetime show was surreal.
"It's hard for my mind to get a hold of that," she said.
Edie hopes to remain a part of "Suburgatory," but aims to be in a show of her very own. She'd also like to join the cast of her favorite Nickelodeon comedy, "Sam & Cat."
When Al Mothersbaugh asked what the title of the movie about her adventure would be, she said "The Little Engine that Did."
Cooper, whose new goals include having a sketch comedy show of his own and landing a lead movie role, said he loved the opportunity to realize his first dream of now being on television. He eagerly awaits the Kroll Show season premiere.
Cooper, who is also a fan of comedian Kevin Hart, also hopes to work with Will Ferrell one day.
Regardless of their ambitions, the Mothersbaughs are confident their kids' big personalities will blow away the small screen.
"You can teach acting, but you can't teach personality," said Kristin Mothersbaugh.
"And they've got it," Al Mothersbaugh added.
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or firstname.lastname@example.org