Russ Brown

Children's Author

upright pops

The Cut-Price Of Fame?

By russbrownauthor, Sep 18 2011 05:52PM

Hello again, thanks for visiting.

So we are back in the realms of winter television on a Saturday night, nearly 3 months of reality celebrity making shows will dominate my weekends.

I use celebrity, very loosely, as to be perfectly honest, very few of these mass produced sound-a-like individuals ever really cut it long term.

Before you start thinking this is going to be a Simon Cowell PR machine bashing blog, it isn’t. I appreciate the want for these programs but simply fail to see the need.

I can talk from a point of experience as; in my youth I worked for a rather high profile theatre troupe and know the highs and lows of working in the entertainment industry. I never expected stardom, never actively thought I was the next big thing, I knew I was privileged to be in the situation I was in at the time and knew I had to absorb and learn from those more experienced around me.

I worked from the ground up, understood that I would not get major parts instantly, knew I would have to take lessons and be the understudy more often than not. I did this and was lucky enough to get a steady job working with a troupe and occasionally working with an array of the theatrical elite.

As time progressed, I saw the need to give myself another iron to my fire and decided that I should go to university to become a teacher. Again through determination and hard work I landed a job working again with a theatre group, this time predominately backstage, in a very high profile theatre. Again I was often understudy and had to work hard to juggle this and my teacher studies.

I love the theatre and I love the entertainment business, I met my wife while both of us were in leotards on stage (she must have liked what she saw ;)) I love the connection between cast and the audience and feel that teaching is in some way just an extension of acting. For a while I had my theatre fix by taking part in amateur dramatics, it was here that I saw I was not the only talented one. Two people in particular stick in my mind, one who is a superb singer and as a child could show adults how to do it and another who had a stage presence as a child that you knew she would go on to better things. These two are now no longer children, one has made the giant leap to theatre school and has a growing theatrical portfolio and the other has taken my route and become a very accomplished teacher, she also still sings beautifully. Neither of them is scared of the hard work involved.

I genuinely fear for my children and those I teach as they honestly believe stardom on these reality “talent” shows is something that is achievable and will bring them unlimited fame and fortune with the output of little or no talent to speak of. Add to that the complete lack of hard work to achieve their goal.

Who can blame them though when in the UK we have people who are famous for simply being famous, one former, “glamour model” springs to mind who I am sure would sell her grandmother for the front page of a national newspaper. I was going to say she would sell her soul, however I fear that is long since gone.

I have had to suspend my disbelief when a recent group of children I worked with told me they were perfecting their “sob-story” so when they appeared on the audition stages of these programs they would get more air-time! Unbelievable but unfortunately true.

I have experienced the horror of the awful audition and the sharp tongue of nasty directors, none of it was for the benefit of millions it was just their opinion and the fact that at that time I “was not what they were looking for at that moment.” I never saw it as my as my only chance, I was fairly grounded and knew that if the time was right my opportunity would come……

However I’m still waiting.

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment when you can to let me know you have visited.

Be safe


Sep 18 2011 05:58PM by Duncan Patterson

Nice one Russell. Ive just been writing about that today.

Sep 18 2011 06:11PM by russ

great minds Duncan great minds :) I have nothing but admiration, for talented people, like yourself, it's the lack of talent coupled with the expectation of something for nothing that gets me.

Sep 18 2011 09:43PM by Gill Jepson

its all "bread and circuses" Im afraid-and unfortunately lots of children do aspire to the celebrity future presented in these shows. I was approached by a local school to do "an inspirational talk" to encourage children to think that they can do other things than "become famous"-I was in a long line of occupations-from police, fireman, nurse etc etc-all because their teacher was scandalised that particularly with the girls their only aspiration was to be "famous". Its scary...

Sep 19 2011 07:38PM by Tracey

I am proud to say neither my daughter nor myself have ever watched any of these 'talent' shows. My daughter wishes to go into game design or some form of art related career or even being an author :)

Sep 19 2011 07:57PM by russbrownauthor

Thats fantastic Tracey keep her that way! :)

Sep 20 2011 08:49PM by katherine

I am asked constantly at this time of year why I don't go on the x factor, the simple reason is because it is a tv programme not a singing competition. I do use the X factor as a way to engage children to be interested in singing and it has been a way to engage otherwise disinterested children in singing. keep the blogs coming, eagerly awaiting the next one!

Sep 20 2011 09:02PM by russbrownauthor

I am not surprised Katherine, that you are askied! It is a television programme thinly veiled as a genuine competition. Glad you spotted my hidden reference to yourself :) Thanks for reading a new one coming up asap .

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