ANSWER: Well Cynthia, you have really stumped Sun Spots, so maybe her readers can help. Unfortunately, there is nobody listed as offering this service in Sun Spots’ Rolodex, but perhaps there is a reader out there who enjoys tinkering and has some experience with the old-style manual typewriters you mention. Good luck, and Sun Spots is eager to hear from you typewriter repair folk.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: As a child development professional, I am concerned how the children in movies and television are coached to play the parts required of them. I worry that they don’t understand their actions in relation to the plot and sometimes are too young to separate reality from fiction. And finally, do they get any counseling after they finish a particularly emotional role? Thank you. — No Name, Lewiston.

ANSWER: Sometimes, it seems like not a week goes by without hearing of another young television or movie star with addiction problems or who is acting up in big ways. Worse is when you hear of a talented young life cut far too short due to his or her choices. Already, average children and teens are under tremendous pressures as they transition toward adulthood. Add in the pressures of stardom, which are difficult enough for adults to handle, and your concerns are quite justified. However, the questions you pose are difficult to answer because of the number of factors involved.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, which is a federal agency, child actors are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act, but each state has its own child entertainment laws which govern things such as how many hours a child is allowed to work, certain age requirements, and even restrictions surrounding subject matter, such as access or exposure to alcohol on the set. Some states ensure that child actors continue their education while on set, and nearly all require some form of parental consent for younger actors. Other states have developed laws aimed at protecting the child’s earnings, which may help deter parents from exploiting their children. Sadly, it happens or these laws wouldn’t be necessary.

Beyond the law of the land, the responsibility of supporting the emotional well-being of child actors falls to the production companies, the children’s agents, and ultimately to the individual child’s consenting parent. Any one or all of those above groups of people may or may not have the child’s best interest at heart, so it would seem like there should be somebody out their acting as an independent advocate for child actors. In fact, there are a number of those types of advocates who exist, and unsurprisingly, a quick Google search turns up many based in the state of California where most big name film studios are also based. One such group, A Minor Consideration, consists of more than 800 former kid stars “dedicated to supporting present, former, and future kid actors,” according to an Aug. 15 article that appeared on the entertainment news website backstage.com.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to [email protected], tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots Facebook page at facebook.com/SunJournalSunSpots. This column can also be read online at sunjournal.com/sunspots. We’ve joined Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/sj_sunspots.


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