We live in an age where children are told they can do anything. Whether or not it's true is up for debate. Being a high school student in Los Angeles, I know a lot of teenage actors trying to succeed. Now most of you probably hear the words "teenage actor" and are reminded of names such as Hannah Montana and iCarly and that can have a bad connotation for a lot of people. I can honestly say that after becoming really great friends with a few people who have gone out for parts on these shows, I no longer share that opinion. These actors are under so much pressure from their parents, managers and casting directors, and on top of this, they worry about school.
One important factor that presented itself in these last few years is the fall of the economy and how it has affected the movie business. I asked actress Chloe Madison if she had been affected and she replied, "Yes, I think there has been a sufficient amount of money that has been deferred from the movie business due to our economy and lots of actors have felt that decline because of the lack of roles. People have less money and time to create art and take chances right now because of how we have all been affected by this economic crash." You might recognize Chloe from a Hallmark commercial or from the Lifetime movie, "Amish Grace."
Another thing that caught my attention is that these young actors are often working with older, more experienced professionals who have been in the business for quite a long time. I asked Brandon Tyler Russell what he thought about older actors taking younger actors seriously. Brandon said, "I think at times they can, it depends on how well behaved they [young actors] are. If they've done more dramatic roles then they're more likely to be take seriously." Brandon has been quite a few roles but his most recognizable is from the feature film, "Smitty."
There were a few reasons I wanted to write a piece about young actors. The first is to help fix the bad reputations they have. The second is to write about what it's like to try and build a career for yourself as a teenager.
Personally, I'm trying to find a job right now. I have applied literally everywhere. You name it, I've sent in a job application. Being a junior in high school, I'm starting to realize what a burden it is to have to worry about money. Problems such as buying a car, buying car insurance, saving up for college and figuring out what I'm going to do with my life were never an issue until this past summer. I never realized how annoying it is to have to worry about money and my future.
I have witnessed second-hand what it's like to have a career in something as unpredictable as the movie business. My dad has been working as a music editor and composer for years, and I have seen what turmoil he has been put through. One minute, you have money and a job, and the next, you don't.
I talked to my friend Harris Reed, who has his own successful clothing line, about having a job at this age and all of the complications that come with it. I asked him if he's ever felt like giving up and what words of advice he would give to those who are struggling to make it on their own. He told me:
"Don't ever let the word NO stand it your way or let people tell you you're not good enough, but at the same time be open to constructive criticism. If you want something, you have to not be lazy over the summer. I went into three big design companies asking if I could work with them knowing no one, and two out of three offered me a job.
Whenever I was going through tough times or was down on myself, I always pictured a clear future. For me, that was a huge Paris apartment over looking the Siene, drinking champagne and finalizing designs for my huge firm. It's easy to start to think you're not good enough, especially today. The Internet is a two-way street: It can make and break a person. I know I feel like my life is nothing when I'm going through people's Instagrams like the Kardashians, for instance. People always say I'm so lucky and that my life is so perfect. I am so lucky in that I have a lot of support from my family. But truth is that you make your luck. Yes, I have been really fortunate with opportunities, but I also know that I spent about two years spending hours a day on a blog that a lot of people told me was bad or said that I was a 'stupid fag,' but look who's styling top celebrities at New York Fashion Week. I've been able to keep a 4.0 and also be class president while never losing sight of what it is I ultimately want to do -- and I know I'll get there."