Russ Brown

Children's Author

upright pops

Seen them somewhere before?

By russbrownauthor, Sep 22 2011 04:46PM

As a teacher, I often think about and look at the young role models around for children at the moment. My children are of that impressionable age and as stated many a time are bordering on obsessive as far as anything Disney based is concerned. This has resulted in them becoming die-hard Disney channel fans.

I don’t see anything wrong in this and to be honest a lot of the light-hearted programs and humour are aimed at my kid’s mentality and they love them. On watching a number of these programs I began to see a pattern. Disney seems to have their own band of child actors who they use over and over in various situations.

Nothing new in that I hear you say, for years, theatres have used a base troupe to develop their work. It is only when you start to notice how often that the actors are used that you see just how hard these actors are worked. I first noticed this during my children’s fixation period of all things High School Musical. One character in particular has been in all three films, starred as a major character in a regular series and voices a character in a major cartoon series you can also add to this at least two spin –off direct to dvd movies and you realise just how much this person has worked in the last few years.

Now unlike what you may think I do not think these actors are exploited in any way. As many of them are much older than the characters they play. But what did raise some alarm with me is the pressure and expectation that is placed on these young people’s shoulders. I have noticed that all major characters in current programs have in the last 3 years been part of fairly high profile movie releases. In order for that much money to be invested then the production company must expect something in return and I suppose maximum exposure is the result.

Even though I am certain that these actors and representatives undertake their fame with enthusiasm and their eyes wide open. Plus current laws forbid any over-working, I am in some ways reminded of the dance marathon of the novel “They shoot horses don’t they?” These actors are given limelight almost constantly for maybe 3 or 4 years when they are able to play likable characters, but what happens after that?

You only need to see the current breakdowns and very public lows of three major female actors from these shows to justify my feelings.

However, as stated previously my children aspire to be like the characters on these shows and if honest, I don’t think I would have to think very carefully if they were ever offered the opportunity to portray them on the screen.

The reason for this is simple, I was a child actor I worked hard, I loved the limelight and I would be lying if I didn’t say just like my kids I love the Disney Channel!

Thanks for joining me yet again


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