Child Acting: A Corruption Act

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By: Jadey Macdonald

We all had our favorite Disney or Nickelodeon shows when we were younger. Each day we came home from school and plopped down on the couch, after all of our homework got done of course, and flipped to our beloved Disney shows. Personally, the innocent actors would awe me and I would sit there hoping one day I could grow up to be as cool and put-together as Carly Shay, Alex Russo, Miley Stewart, Zack and Cody Martin, or Lizzy McGuire.

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Now that we are all grown up, the real question is not if I have achieved my aspirations, but what have these characters and actors become and what are they up to now? I noticed that coincidentally, shortly after one of my favorite shows got cancelled, I saw Hannah Montana, Alex Russo and Lizzy McGuire on the big screen as Miley, Selena and Hilary. Not only did they get their big break, but also they were now singing and doing anything to bring in the fame and money. This pattern happens frequently with child actors, especially in regards to Disney and Nickelodeon. It made me start to question their true intentions. Were these actors fulfilling their true passion as they claimed in interviews, or just blindly following the lime light like moths to a flame?

Many of these actors began their acting careers early. So early, they may not have had too much influence in their inevitable career path. Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato starred on Barney when they were only 9. Dylan and Cole Sprouse starred in their first movie, Big Daddy, when they were only one year old! The iconic Lindsay Lohan began her modeling career at age 3 and her acting career at age 9. I don’t know about you, but when I was 9, I did not know what I wanted to do with my life and definitely did not have the capability to decide that for myself. How much did these big stars want the lives their parents wanted for them?

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Tamera Mowrey says she had to “miss out on a lot of things” including her prom during her high school years. It is hard for teenagers, tweens and even little kids to have a full-time career while trying to balance schoolwork; this combination introduces too much stress into a child’s life. Excessive stress, money and fame remove a developing child that still has a lot to learn from reality. When this child grows up, he or she does not know the value of money and has a tough time conceptualizing the fact that their entire life has revolved around their next gig. This confusion of self-identity and what is important in life mixed with what seems to be endless money will lead to the inevitable self-implosion of many of these child stars. http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/08/06/child-star-issues/2609493/

Here are some examples of child stars gone bad and some reasons behind the transition.

The main child star that everyone thinks of is Lindsay Lohan. Her life seemed so put together: A successful singer, actor and model. Now, you can see Ms. Lohan one the screen in an orange jump suit and cuffs. She has been charged with many counts of drug possession and has checked in and out of rehabilitation centers frequently. Amanda Bynes is another recent victim of the corrupt child star complex. She was caught driving drunk a few times and gave belligerent defensive responses. Miley Cyrus seems to be purposefully making a scene in the headlines to gain attention, whether it is good or bad. Her style is now a little more ‘edgy’, including attire that shows off much of what she has to offer and a wild, bleached hairstyle, leaving very little to the imagination. Many paint her in a negative light and as a bad role model now. Britney Spears went through a crisis after years in the spotlight as a well-known singer and actor. She had her rounds with drugs and even shaved her head. Many teens go through a ‘rebellious stage,’ but it seems as though this stage for these actresses and singers was a little more severe and under a magnifying glass for all of the public to scrutinize.

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The main issue with all of these stars-gone-bad is not only for their own health and safety, but also for the many boys and girls who have looked up to them and grown up with them through the years. Many youngsters that are obsessed with these stars currently look up to them and subconsciously model their behavior after them. It is hard to break this idolization as soon as a star turns sour. When this happens, the enamored child or adolescent will believe that since the amazing Amanda Bynes did it, why can’t I? This same thought went through every child’s mind when they saw Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMA’s, and now we have mass amounts of child twerkers amongst us.

All hope is not lost, there are still a few stars that have sucked up as much fame as possible and are doing better than expected. Despite bumping uglies with our fellow belligerent Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez (originally Alex Russo to me) has a successful acting and music career. Although Hilary Duff (Lizzy McGuire) is a little less well known, she had a good run in movies and even released her own album, creating a foundation for a music career. Miranda Cosgrove has always been pretty tame, but she is doing well and threw out a few songs as well. It may be a matter of time before we see these celebrities go downhill, but as of right now, it is the last sliver of hope we have left for future childhood actors. Check out this link if you want to restore hope for these youngins: http://www.buzzfeed.com/nataliemorin/disney-channel-stars-who-managed-to-keep-it-together#.pvEQroG2q

I personally believe it is unfair for youngsters to be robbed of their childhood just for fame and fortune. Possible acting careers are undoubtedly in the parents’ control. Many times it costs money and time to arrange gigs, and only the affluent and dedicated will achieve this goal. Miley Cyrus came from a family of fame, with her father being a well-known country singer, Billy Ray Cyrus. It becomes more difficult to get into acting the older you get. With the way parents are leading their kids into acting at such a young age, the children who are truly passionate about acting do not have the means to achieve their dream.

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Although much good (money, a solid career and fame) comes from success at a young age, overall I feel as though child acting has a negative effect on the actor. Although we all aspire to be as successful and rich as these kids one day, it is easy to look only at the positives. The amount of pressure and stress these kids have to deal with, while knowing that a whole show and career of others is riding on them would push anyone to their limits. These children should be removed from the lime light for a while and experience the life of a normal child, so they do not feel as though they have missed out on anything once they are older. I feel as though these kids need to have more of a say in their career, and definitely experience life in and out of the spotlight. Acting for children should also be more accessible to those who do not have the money, publicity and connections that child stars like Miley Cyrus had.

Advanced Scary Movie Graphics: Terrifically Good or Horrifically Bad?

Some people like the classics when it comes to movies, others like the new innovative ones. Now that we are in the age of new technology, we can easily be awed by advanced technological techniques and complex graphics. One genre that has benefitted the most from this animation has been horror. Inducing fear in the audience starts with making them feel as though they are experiencing the terror with the actors. What better way to involve the viewer by making every aspect of this experience as real as possible? These new advancements have perfected the way in which we experience horror movies.

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Cite: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-cXsQWv9qQLg/VEzrg_p1mOI/AAAAAAAA2A4/l7MXKjNobWE/s1600/history%2Bof%2Bhorror%2Bmovies%2Bfilms.jpg

Some old horror classics lack the visual stimulations that current movies have. Despite this lack of perfected realism, these older movies are still highly talked about. For horror fanatics like me, these movies seem elementary; for example the original shower-scene in Psycho, 1960, does not even show the goriest parts of what makes the murder truly horrific. Other viewers are more attuned to the suspense and imagination of how the scene is being played out and enjoy the lack of gore. Although these movies have done a lot for the foundation of horror, some may be overrated and pale in comparison to the terrifyingly real experience current scary movies have the ability to take you through.

Psycho Shower Scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atjhOhH-V3E

One subset of recent scary movies that has really benefitted from technology is the paranormal movies. The animation that goes into making people appear with and transform into demons, ghosts, and other creatures is truly incredible. Not only has the technology appealed to visual stimulation, but it also contributes to sound effects and surround sound that involves you even more directly into the scene. Unfortunately, it seems as though these efforts have gone unnoticed. One movie that did not receive as much credit that I thought it deserved was Oculus, 2014. The author not only had a complex, suspenseful plot, but also supplemented it with the use of realistic graphics. Unfortunately, now that this advanced media has become an integral part in today’s society and has made horror films easy to make, some of these movies are not getting too much attention.

Oculus Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYJrxezWLUk

There are some drawbacks to these new technologies. Some movies rely too heavily on their special effects and disregard the importance of a solid overall plot. In older movies, in order to be successful, the producers had to come up with a thrilling storyline to capture the audience’s attention, but now all they have to do is put a scary image with sound effects to keep the crowd watching. Current movies also leave less to the imagination, which would also disappoint those who prefer to extrapolate on what they are given in their movie. Some moviemakers have taken advantage of and relied on these effects to attract viewers, but when the technology supplements the plot seamlessly, the results could be amazingly scary, terrifying and horrific.

Movie remakes are a good example of how technology increases suspense and intensity in a production. This way there is no bias based on the opinion about the storyline when comparing older and newer movies. Some of the most successful remakes I believed have been The Amityville Horror from 1979 and remade in 2005 and Poltergeist from 1982 and remade in 2015. The effects do not take away from the plot, but convey what I believe to be the author’s main message and goal more efficiently. I feel like these examples further the idea that technology has helped and will continue to help implement the effectiveness of media. I cannot wait to experience what the next advancements will do to the future of scary movies.

The Amityville Horror Trailer (1979): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvYX6KlIm1k

The Amityville Horror Trailer (2005): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xHJOG03eDE

Poltergeist Trailer (1982): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eZgEKjYJqA

Poltergeist Trailer (2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViWTPto3atU

Come on, even the 2015 trailer thumbnail is scarier than the 1982 one!