There’s nothing sadder in entertainment than watching a child act on stage or on screen because we know that media adventure can and will only damage the future adult in the child.

Children that act are not natural actors and they are not acting and they tend toward the melodramatic because they are untrained and don’t know any better than an overarching game of pretend. 

Children are cast in shows because of who they are and not because of what they are not and that places the child persona in crisis because their value as an actor is directly tethered to their bounty as a human being.  Pick a child for an evil role and you have the public ingredients for the ruination of a life before it has a chance to begin on its own terms.

The evidence of this fury-against-self-worth-for-public-profit is found in the barren landscape of child actors that stayed in the business their entire life as an actor.  You might argue Clint Howard is an example of such a success story; but I would counter that without his brother Ron, Clint would prove my point even harder and brighter than I ever could alone.

It is usually a woeful experience watching a child act because there’s
no life experience or training to recall or fall back on — and instead of the revelation of
something interesting and compelling, we are only left with the
grotesque and shivering example of a young life snuffed out the blossoming of its


  1. In general, I tend to agree, David. I was surprised to find out that the main actor in 500 Days of Summer was the boy from 3rd rock from the sun. 🙂

  2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was 15 when he started on 3rd Rock. I’m not sure if that’s really a child actor or not — but he was doing other, smaller, things before that series.

  3. That’s the tough nut of it, Anne. You have to go out and find a kid and exploit their natural personality since few young kids are trained actors. It sort of ruins them in a way.

  4. I dislike the idea of the child reality show — never thought it from this angle as I usually enjoy a good acting, but you are right about ruining their childhood with the exposure, David. Unless they have a well guarded parents/ guardian.

  5. “Just be yourself” is one of the hardest things for a professional actor to create in performance and for the child actor that same mandate it is really an impossibility — so their true, unprotected, self is put at risk — and yet they are unaware of the artificiality around them and the danger to their being.

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