Do Parents Allow the Entertainment Industry to Eat Their Young?

In today’s society we know that the moral fiber of our communities is in peril. Why then, do we not protect our children? We have a responsibility to safeguard our most vulnerable; instead, we prematurely catapult them into a world they are not mature enough to handle and destroy their innocence.

Frequently, I am asked by parents and friends of aspiring “stars” to offer my opinion about getting their child into show business. Recently my publicist, Marsha Friedman, President of Event Management sent me the following question:

“…After the performance I spoke with her mom (who was in tears the whole time) about their incredible daughter and her future. Their daughter’s dream is to be on stage singing professionally…I said I would forward some information to you – to get your thoughts.”

After much contemplation, I wrote to the parents (excerpt):

“No matter how strong your daughter or your dream is, wait until she is 18 to try for stardom. She is already doing what she most wants, and that is to be on stage. Once she is 18 and you are ready for her to sell sex to other teenagers and older men in their 20′s – 60′s, she will be better equipped to handle the response, as you will be also…”

These words may strike you as unnecessarily candid, and perhaps a touch vulgar, but the reality is that most parents and children do NOT dream of just “being on stage.” If that was the sole requirement for their happiness, then local stage performances (a much safer avenue) would satisfy their dream. Since the child may already be doing that, there would be no more questions as the goal would have been achieved. Sadly, the aim as stated is wrong. What the parents and child really want is stardom, without knowing the cost.

They focus on the Hollywood dream and convince themselves that the path to stardom will be a romantic ride. The fantasy is filled with adoring fans, endless wealth, eternal fame and glamorous travel. This illusion inevitably fades, and what remains is disappointment, heartache, bills and endless travel (in less than desirable circumstances). More ominously, some of the “adoring fans” may actually be obsessed with the child, to the point of danger. This should not be entirely surprising as the child is being sold to look like the American male fantasy of an adult woman.

Many people reading this article will be convinced that I am wrong, or at least exaggerating. I ask you to consider the last time you saw a child “star” who looked like a child in their videos? The typical images are a 15 year old Britney Spears, a 14 year old JoJo, or a 13 year old Leanne Rimes

When Spears came into the public eye, she was dressed like a Catholic school girl, seducing the audience with, “Ooh, baby baby.” Leanne Rimes was dressed in a black satin outfit singing, “How Do I Live Without You.” (It should be noted that her ‘look’ would be considered tame by today’s standards.) Why are they dressed this way? Frankly, the music industry sells sex, sex sells.

These girls (although Leanne and Britney are now adults) are talented and beautiful, yet they are strategically packaged to entice older men. The fans who are young teenage girls don’t care whether the artists are sexy when they purchase music. However, continually seeing their idols dressed seductively has made them aware of sexuality and they want to dress the same way. This contributes to the cheapening of children’s values and image, and the cycle continues.

Recently, I was running on the treadmill at the gym when I was stunned by what I saw on one of the news channels. It was a feature about a modeling contest for children limited to those twelve and under. The winner would receive a one million dollar modeling contract, which of course sounds amazing! However, as the clip continued, mouths dropped throughout the gym. Three girls (under 12 – contest requirements) dressed in skimpy bikinis were being drenched with water and gazing at the camera like they wanted to seduce each man watching. If the girls were twenty five, aware of what they were doing and, as adults, making their own decisions, I wouldn’t think much about it. However, the participation of twelve year olds is horrifying. Child pornography is universally condemned and pedophiles treated with not only revulsion, but the full force of the law. Doesn’t this fall under the same category, just corporately condoned?

In my opinion, prostituting children in this manner is perpetuating child pornography in a purportedly “legal” manner. This practice needs to be stopped. While the music industry to date, has not participated in such an extreme level of exploitation of children, I still believe that children should be kept out of the music industry on a professional level until they are at least 18. Even with the strongest family support possible, they are not emotionally equipped to handle the issues that will inevitably emerge. Realistically, however, I know that children will continue to be signed and sold long before their eighteenth birthdays, let me offer some practical advice.

1. From a financial perspective, learn the business inside and out. You MUST know: Who gets what, and why? How much was made, or lost? What is the bottom line? If you don’t make this a priority, you will join the host of famous artists who have been forced to claim bankruptcy.

2. Put together a dazzling press kit. People receiving the kit must be enticed into opening the package, so you will have to present your child in their best light. The demo must be well produced and include four of your child’s best numbers. Keep in mind that each song will be listened to for about thirty seconds before moving on to the next piece. It’s possible to make a pretty impressive demo on your own for about two thousand dollars, including pressing. Don’t fall victim to the scam of someone guaranteeing stardom for your child with a professionally cut demo if you simply write a ten thousand dollar check.

3. If possible, establish a track record of sales BEFORE any contact with recording labels. (Get your CD listed on Soundscan.) You’ll have greater bargaining power if you know your product value prior to negotiating.

4. If a label finances the recording of a CD, it is a loan, NOT a gift, and must be paid back. The recording industry is a business, not a charity. Beware of becoming competitors insurance. If you fall into that trap, you may lose everything. (I detail all of this in my book, The Indie Guide To Music, Marketing and Money.)

5. The phrase is, accurately, “Show Business,” and your child must be prepared to put on a “show,” just as you and they need to learn the “business.” Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Madonna and Justin Timberlake are great examples of how this is done and the work involved to sustain sell-out crowds.

6. Provide acting, vocal and dance lessons for your child, and register them for writing classes. Writers currently receive 8.5 cents per song on a CD, while the artist generally receives one point per album. Writers make the most money, with little or no initial investment. Make sure you understand how to legitimately copyright music. The aptly named ‘poor man’s copyright’ won’t hold up in court.

7. Avoid anyone stating that for an upfront fee, they can make your child a star. Managers and agents get paid a percentage in the range of 10-20%. Managers usually receive 10-15%, while agents receive 15-20%. You also need to know and understand the difference between managers and agents. Similarly, lawyers shopping a deal for your child on his/her own volition will take a percentage of the contract. (Lawyers that you hire on your own request, must be paid up front.)

8. Marketing and promotion are imperative and can be very expensive. Labels have access to promotion capabilities that most individuals cannot afford. However, there is no limit or cost to imagination, so be creative! Affordable promotion can be attainable.

9. Develop personal relationships with contacts at the labels. Once you get to know people, they may offer you a special code to put on the outside of your package which signals to the front desk that your package is requested. (simply writing “material requested” on the outside of the package will not work) DON’T submit anything without permission; most throw unsolicited press kits in the garbage and a few return them unopened. Warner Brothers sends a nice note referencing legal concerns, while Disney sends a nicer more detailed note explaining their policy around copyright laws. Don’t waste valuable product and time.

Currently, many people are considering the ‘American Idol’ route, while forgetting that only one person in the 22 million that showed up for auditions last year actually made it.

One last note: Label representation can be an awesome thing, but you must know the business first! There is much more detailed and valuable information in my book, “The Indie Guide To Music, Marketing and Money” ISBN 978-0-9746229-4-1 ISBN 978-0-9746229-4-1. Additionally, my website contains a number of applicable articles on the music industry which can be accessed free of charge. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Copyright 2005 Jaci Rae

Advantages of Delving Into Business Online Marketing

Probably the biggest contribution of technology for the people nowadays is the emergence of the internet. With the internet things like the Business Online Marketing is given the chance to thrive and reach billions of people globally. Online Marketing is also coined as i-marketing, web-marketing, online-marketing or e-Marketing. As of today these terms are slowly becoming more known all throughout as the concept of buying and selling products and services online are being wholly embraced by the society which is growing annually.

Here are some of the advantages of putting up a Business Online Marketing site; The computer is all the Internet Marketer or seller needs to send and receive millions of information in less than a minute. In just a simple click on the mouse the online marketer or seller can send and receive the information he would want in order to transact business without even moving an inch from where he is sitting. He could go anywhere with the click of a button.

The Internet Marketer or seller can also control his own time whenever he would want to transact in his Business Online Marketing site. Even rush up orders can be entertained in the middle of the night if the seller is still up. The site of an Internet Marketer or seller can reach a global audience, in the case of the Philippines; national audience, more than how a normal store around the corner could. There is a huge increase in the potential revenues and a fraction of the cost as compared to setting up shops all over the country or the world.

One can also make fast changes to his business when he is online. By monitoring and tracking how the advertisements and marketing efforts are doing the online marketer or seller can make the decision to change a graphic or wording and do it without problems. And this is far from traditional marketing and advertising. Internet Marketer or sellers through marketing online allow them to track real-time results through online analytics to make a determination on how the marketing campaign is performing.

It allows the Internet Marketer or seller to target specific demographics like gender, age and location. Or even target specific income levels, education levels and occupation. Internet marketing provides a vast freedom of promotion such as audio, video, blogging, email, social media and ongoing newsletters. Doing this in traditional marketing they would need to select several media outlets to cover the bases, not so when it comes to marketing online.

What is Marital Property in a Divorce?

What is Equitable Distribution of Assets in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island is an equitable distribution of assets state. R.I.G.L 15-5-16.1 is the statute that pertains to equitable distribution of assets. The Rhode Island Supreme Court has stated on numerous occasions that marriage is an Economic Partnership.

The equitable distribution statute is designed to fairly assign marital property in a Rhode Island Divorce based primarily on the contributions that each party made to the marital estate. Judges in Rhode Island have a lot of discretion to equitably divide marital assets. Equitable does not always mean equal!

The assets capable of being divided obviously include real estate, pensions, retirement accounts, 401k, cars, boats, artwork, collectibles, bank accounts, ira’s, motorcycles, vehicles, time shares, furniture, televisions, computers, and business interests. Retirement benefits are marital assets under Rhode Island Law if acquired during the course of the marriage. Certain disability pensions may not be marital asset.

What steps must a Rhode Island Family Court Judge use to make an equitable distribution in a Rhode Island Divorce?

Equitable division of assets in RI is a multi step process. The first step is for the Judge to determine what property constitutes marital property in Rhode Island. After a judge determines what constitutes marital property, the Rhode Island Family Court judge must apply the factors set forth in 15-16.1. The judge must lastly equitably divide the marital property.

What are the Automatic Court orders and when do they go into effect?

The Husband and wife must be careful not to violate the automatic court orders pertaining to the parties’ assets. This automatic order enters upon the Plaintiff signing the Divorce Petition as to the Plaintiff and becomes effective as to the Defendant in the divorce when the summons is served upon the Defendant. This order essentially prevents either party from unlawfully dissipating assets or canceling life or health insurance among other things.

What property and assets constitute Marital Property subject to equitable distribution in RI?

All property acquired during the course of the Marriage by either party constitutes Marital property subject to equitable distribution with certain exempt property set forth below.

Gifts given by the parties to each other are marital assets which can be equitable divided in a Rhode Island Divorce.

What assets are not marital property under Rhode Island Divorce Law?

Premarital property is not subject to the equitable division statute. Premarital property is property that was acquired by either spouse prior to the date of the marriage.

Income derived from premarital property during the course of the marriage is subject to the equitable distribution statute. The appreciation in value of premarital property during the course of the marriage is also subject to the equitable division statute.

In order for the appreciation of value of premarital property to be equitably divided, the appreciation must result from the efforts of the spouse who do did not own the asset prior to the marriage. This provision requiring that the appreciation result from the efforts of the other spouse is often loosely applied in Rhode Island (RI) Family Court, especially in marriages of long duration.

It is important to note that the Rhode Island (RI) Legislature made a distinction between interest and appreciation in determining whether the other spouse must have expended any effort. The RI legislature did not require any effort of the other spouse in order for interest derived from premarital property to be equitably divided by the Rhode Island Family court in a divorce. It is not required that interest earned from premarital property be derived from the efforts of the other spouse.

Gifts from third parties whether acquired before or during the marriage are not marital property subject to equitable division under Rhode Island Law. The income and appreciation from gifted property is not marital property. This specifically includes life insurance and distributions from trusts.

Inherited property is not marital property. The income and appreciation of inherited property is not subject to the equitable distribution statute in a RI divorce.

An advanced degree is not a marital asset. A professional’s license such as as a lawyer’s license to practice law is not a marital asset.

Can property, which was originally non-marital separate property, be converted to marital property?

Yes. The Rhode Island divorce case of Quinn v Quinn is the seminal RI case pertaining to doctrine of transmutation. The doctrine of transmutation can change the character of non marital property to marital property.

In Quinn v. Quinn, 512 A.2d 848, 852 (R.I. 1986), the Rhode Island Supreme Court stated that the “transfer of non marital assets from one spouse to both spouses jointly, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, will be understood as evincing an intention to transfer the property to the marital estate. This doctrine, known as transmutation, is consistent with the recognition that marriage is a partnership… The provisions in 15-5-16.1 are designed to achieve that end. Oliviera v. Oliviera

“In Quinn, the husband placed the proceeds from the sale of his inherited property, first, into a jointly held Certificate of Deposit and, then, ultimately, into a joint account. We held that this action evinced an apparent consent to the wife’s demand for an ownership interest in the funds. The husband then used a portion of those funds to acquire a piece of realty, which he held jointly with his wife. We said that “[s]uch an act [was] consistent with, and indicative of, an intent that the parcel become part of the marital estate.” Oliviera v. Oliviera

If one spouse transfers non-marital property to the other spouse in joint names then that will usually change the property to marital property. However, the spouse can by clear and convincing evidence prove that the spouse did not intend to create an ownership interest in the property. There is, however, a rebuttable presumption that the transfer was intended to gift the property to the other spouse.

Commingled assets

If a marital asset and a non-marital asset are commingled and used to purchase or exchanged for other property then the new asset constitutes marital property.

Personal Injury Settlements and Car accident Claims in RI

A personal injury settlement or judgment for pain and suffering, future lost earnings and reimbursement for future medical bills are not marital property in RI. Awards for past medical expenses and past lost wages for a personal injury, slip and fall or workers compensation claim are marital property.Workers compensation awards compensating disfigurement is not marital property.

Are Social Security, SSI benefits or SSDI Benefits Marital property?

Social security benefits are not marital property.

If I hit the lottery after the Divorce Trial or Nominal Hearing but before entry of final judgment does my spouse get an equitable share?

Yes, surprisingly assets acquired after trial but before entry of Final Judgment are marital property.

All assets acquired up to entry of final judgment are marital assets unless the parties entered into a property settlement agreement stating specifically that those assets are non-marital.

Misconceptions About Holistic Lifestyle and Aromatherapy

The best way to start a medication is to understand its misconceptions first. lifestyles are not so common that everyone is aware of it; hence this too has its share of misconceptions clearly aided by rumors. Comparing articles online or talking to a holistic practitioner is a good way to start.

Some basic misconceptions about holistic which utilizes natural health supplements, is as follows.

Statement: Holistic lifestyle is for old or people fighting with life threatening diseases.

Truth: No doubt lifestyle helps people suffering from many illnesses, but it is not like young people cannot try such an existence. In today’s hard paced lifestyle, our solutions are creating many problems to one and all. A scientist documented the above fact as follows. “We all are self created time bombs.” Holistic is accepted to attain a healthy body and mind.

Statement: Holistic makes you a good person.

Truth: Like you cannot generalize emotions, same way you cannot judge if a person is good or bad by yourself. Holistic lifestyle takes you towards nature so in a way it makes you more aware of things. Becoming a certain type of person is an individual’s choice though. Also, as holistic lifestyle influences your mind and spirit, your general awareness about values of life increases and you may become a better person.

Statement: All essential oils have a nice glowing smell.

Truth: Some essential oils may create an aroma but not all. In addition, many fake essential oil manufacturers add such perfumed extracts to woo buyers.

Statement: Do not buy essential oils in aluminum bottles.

Truth: If aluminum bottles are lined from inside, you can use essential oils stored in such bottles.

Statement: Holistic healing can cure aids/cancer/diabetes and other incurable diseases

Truth: Such statement is like overrating something. Holistic healing is a process which works on the imbalances of your body, but never ever has any lifestyle practitioner or coach claimed curing aids or diabetes. Holistic lifestyle is a way of life and not a medicinal solution for a certain problem.

There are many other misconceptions about living a holistic or usage of aromatherapy essential oils which have been started by small time manufacturers to boost their sales. The worst being – people still fall prey to such bogus claims.