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HARTLAND TWP. — Brayden Eaton plans to build a trophy case to display awards he has received for his acting chops.

Eaton, 15, might need to start soon after adding a major accolade to his resume.

He was awarded “Best Performance in a Streaming Film: Teen Actor” by Hollywood-based Young Artist Academy for his lead role in “Dinosaur Cove,” produced by Crystal Creek Media, a family-friendly adventure film.

His award from the Young Artist Academy is nicknamed a “kiddie Oscar” or “youth Oscar” in the entertainment industry. The academy conducted its 2022 awards ceremony for child and teen actors earlier this month.

“When I first heard my name announced, I didn’t know for sure if I had just thought I’d heard it,” Eaton said.

The awards gala was a black-tie affair at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. The gala featured acceptance speeches, celebrity presenters and red carpet photos after the awards ceremony.

Hartland teen Brayden Eaton, right, poses for photos on the red carpet of the Young Artist Academy awards with actor Dustin Ceithamer, who presented Eaton with an award for his performance in

Eaton said he would have liked to have thanked more people during his 30-second acceptance speech, but he had time to thank God, his manager, his parents, his agents and a few others.

Eaton said meeting Dustin Ceithamer, who presented him his award, was a highlight of the ceremony. Ceithamer plays the robot NED-B in “Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

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Eaton’s portrayal of Riley Harrison, his character in “Dinosaur Cove,” was his first leading role in a major feature-length film. In the film, he encounters dinosaur eggs, a pterodactyl and a top-secret project. 

In December, he hosted an invite-only private screening of “Dinosaur Cove,” which is directed by Dearborn native Daniel Knudsen and written by Derrick Steele, at Hartland Emagine Theater.

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Hartland Township teen actor Brayden Eaton stars in Crystal Creek Media's family adventure movie

Eaton said the trip to California, one he takes often for auditions, was busy and fun.

“The main purpose was to go out there for the awards show, but we went for a few days, met up with some friends, went boogie boarding at the beach, and met up with my managers and agents to connect dots and talk about things like, any chance we can get on this TV show or that TV show,” he said.

He also snuck in an audition while he was out west.

“Being in California helps a lot,” he said. “It’s easier to get auditions when you’re out there.”

He said he plans to attend film school in California after he finishes virtual high school.

Hartland resident Brayden Eaton shows his Young Artist Academy Award for best streaming film performance, on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.

Young acting chops

He said his upcoming acting roles include playing the son of a football star. He is also cast in a DC Universe fan film that will likely start filming next year.

“What I would like to be on would be a fantasy medieval show like ‘House of the Dragon’ or ‘Star Wars: Andor,'” he said. “Anything Disney or studio-related would be great because it would be a chance to really show people what I can do.”

Eaton landed the role in “Dinosaur Cove” through an audition after he acted in “Miracle on Christmas,” a movie shot in the Brighton area and released on Amazon Prime and DVD in 2020. The Christmas film and “Dinosaur Cove” share an actor, James Pilachowski.

Hartland Township teen Brayden Eaton poses for photographers on the red carpet at the Young Artist Academy awards ceremony at the Director's Guild of America in Los Angeles, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022

Eaton took on a darker dramatic role in “Pursuit of Freedom,” as the son of a woman separated from her children after being abducted into sex trafficking.

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Among other acting roles, Eaton played the younger version of the main character in film festival short, “If Nothing Changes,” about a couple addicted to heroin.

He has also appeared in commercials, including for Lysol, Fleet Farm and RealTruck.com among others.

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