At age 5, Becca Gardner decided she wanted to be an actress.
She announced her intentions at her preschool graduation. Starting in sixth grade, the South Lake Tahoe girl was making the seven-hour journey to Los Angeles several times a week for auditions.
In eighth grade, she was cast to star in "An unfinished Life." Jennifer Lopez played her mom, Robert Redford played her grandfather and Morgan Freeman was along for the ride.
"The first day on set, we just hung out. We went to lunch and then we read lines and started shooting," Gardner said.
Gardner was the guest speaker at the Carson City Library on Saturday, the final day of the National Library Week celebration. The theme for the celebration was "Hollywood at Your Library."
"We try to do something for National Library Week that is heavy on programs to get people into the library. Especially people who don't normally use it," said Cory King, youth services librarian. "Everyone associates the library with books, but forgets that we have films, both tapes and DVDs, available for check out as well."
The library has been showing award-winning films and local favorites throughout the week, including "Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit," "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "The Misfits."
But for the final day of the celebration, King said, the library wanted to focus more locally, highlighting projects at Carson High School and local talent.
Two Carson High students, Tyler Bourns and Jordan Nash, introduced a documentary about a paraplegic student that was filmed as part of a safe- driving awareness campaign.
The group received a $2,000 grant from State Farm Insurance to produce the campaign titled "Building Awareness - Taking Action," including an awareness fair and documentaries for a national competition.
Bourns and Nash also talked about the music video that garnered them fourth place at a student television competition in Los Angeles in February. The video was for the song "Little Window" by Baby Dee.
In addition to her work on "An Unfinished Life," Gardner also played a hermaphrodite on an episode of "Grey's Anatomy," has starred in several student and one independent film.
"It was a really low-budget film. The set was in her garage, really low budget," Gardner said.
She has auditioned for several other movies including "My Friend Flicka," "Dreamer" and "The Secret Life of Bees."
Gardner also answered questions about working with well-known actors, her future plans and getting rejected for roles.
"If I took everything personally, I couldn't go on. You just have to forget about it and move on to the next one," she said.
She also donated her copy of the "An Unfinished Life" script to the library.
"Without a good (script) you can't make a good movie," Gardner said.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.