Growing Up in Character

Youth entertainment, like The Chronicles of Narnia, Twilight, and Hannah Montana depend less on one-off actors and instead rely heavily on huge multi-year contracts. The cast is a crucial factor and can or break a movie or TV show. They have to commit a good part of their childhood to the characters they are playing. These, in turn, are the embodiment of the brand created for the production and are the life and soul of it. For instance, the Harry Potter series would not survive the loss of its star, Daniel Radcliffe.

Disney and Nickelodeon, in terms of children’s TV tend to follow more organized production schedules, aimed at minimizing work stress.
Paula Kaplan, Nickelodeon’s executive VP for talent says, “We respect the balance between work life and personal life. In our adult world, nobody accommodates us for down time. But in a child’s life on a set, we do take that seriously. At our studios on Sunset Boulevard, where we shoot ‘iCarly’ and ‘Victorious,’ the greenrooms are filled with games and Rock Band. We create an environment where they can have fun with their colleagues and take it easy.”

There is quite a bit of legal framework in place in terms of children’s workdays if you would like to call it that. Labor laws restrict their number of workdays, outline relaxation periods and breaks that must be built into production schedules, and a certain amount of breaks are also called for between dismissal and call-back. On top of all these regulations, children’s schooling ‘must’ take place during the week.