In Ten Year's Time
Why we feel we deserve your financial support.
On the morning Rusty Hamer's suicide was announced, January, 1990, the mission of "A Minor
Consideration" began. Remember what the world for former kid stars looked like that bleak January
morning. Dana Plato naked in "Playboy." Drew Barrymore was about to publish her autobiography (at
age fifteen) detailing drug and alcohol abuse and serial exploitation. Todd Bridges was in jail on
attempted murder charges. Danny Bonaduce had lost another radio job. Gary Coleman was suing his
parents. Jay North, consumed with rage, was about to explode.
"That will never happen again," I told my wife, Rana Platz-Petersen, RN. "There will never be another
former kid star in trouble without me showing up."
What possessed me to make such a claim? It's simple. I felt a tap on my shoulder. You've heard about
people getting "a Sign from Above." It happened to me. It wasn't a Voice that came to me, but a movie;
a movie complete with a beginning, middle and end. The "plot" of my movie detailed the role I would play
in taking up the cause of the only classmates I have, the children of the Entertainment Industry.
Nothing in the past Ten Years has surprised me because I am, like Dr. Lewis Thomas who wrote "Lives
of a Cell," permanently startled by Life's wonder.
My first recruit was my dear wife Rana, who immediately grasped...and more importantly supported both
financially and emotionally...the task I set for myself. My second recruit was Dr. Jeannie Russell,
"Margaret" to Jay North's "Dennis the Menace" who was crucial in the rescue of our mutual friend.
Television's "Dennis" was a killer waiting to erupt. Jimmy Hawkins and I had heard him issue the threat,
and we saw his Hit List.
"I call them Divine Appointments," says my friend, Gary Busey, remarking on the incredible series of
contacts that started that morning of Rusty's suicide as I reached out into a community which had largely
washed its hands of the children it had employed since Hollywood's beginnings. Just as I have been
'permanently startled' by what Shelley Fabares says is "the ultimate fiction," meaning the entire tapestry
of Life's amazing twists and turns, so too have I been "permanently humbled" by the role that Higher
Power plays in our lives.
God was not finished with me back in January, 1990. I had to get Sober. That happened a few months
later when I nearly killed my life-long friend, Lee Aaker by somehow enabling him to fall off a wagon he'd
been riding for thirteen years. I realized, then and now, that I had the power to do Good or Evil. It is no
longer a struggle to be Sober. The hard part is listening to that Guiding Voice when it would be so easy
to think it was me and not Him.
We have accomplished things we were told were "impossible" by no less than the Hollywood Executive Director of Screen Actors Guild, Leonard Chassman. We have unwound some of the thorniest knots ever seen.
We're not finished. Not by a long shot. But look at what we've done.
The 1st YOUNG PERFORMER'S CONFERENCE. Thanks to a grant from the Industry
Advancement Cooperative Fund the members of A Minor Consideration and the Young Performers
Committee at SAG chaired by Dr. Jeannie Russell undertook the mammoth task of assembling morethan 600 participants for a September, 1995 Conference that identified Six Action Items. Five of the Six "action items" have been addressed in Law and Regulation. The first-ever scientific Survey of the effects of Early Fame headed by Dr. Lisa Rapport of Wayne State University was part and parcel of this
AB-776. Despite state-issued work permits and decades of labor, every kid who ever worked in show
business was considered a Truant under the Ed Codes of California...because "work in the
entertainment industry" was not considered "an excused absence." Working within the structure of the
Young Performers Committee at Screen Actors Guild we wrote and passed the new Law that ended this shameful reality.
AB-744. When we learned that Hollywood was employing younger and younger infants we took
action. The practice of hiring Preemies came to a sudden halt when the members of A Minor
Consideration wrote and passed "The Preemie Bill" which insured newborns would be Full Term and Full
Birth Weight...plus 15 days...before they could be used in the film business.
STUDIO TEACHER CREDENTIALS. When we discovered that the State of California, for reasons
unknown even to this day, had unilaterally decided to issue state credentials to more than 600 "teachers"
on the strength of a test that no one had ever failed, we rallied the troops to roll back this ill-considered
and threatening action. No one who was there will soon forget the scathing letter written by Jodie Foster to
the Department of Labor read by Guild President, Richard Masur. More than twenty former kid stars, all
members of AMC, appeared at the hearing that killed this attempt to lower the standards of our gang's
most important ally on a working set, the Studio Teacher.
AB-884. For years Hollywood had turned a blind eye to the endless parade of "management
consultants" that preyed on rookie stage parents and their children. These scam artists wildly
over-charged for photos and useless "lessons" and made promises they could not keep. With the help of
City Attorney Mark Lambert we helped write and pass this urgently needed legislation.
SB-1162. The Revised Coogan Law came into being with the support of dozens of people we had
recruited over six years of relentless effort in the media, in Committee, within the theatrical unions where
a professional Staff needed to be educated, and with ground-pounding lobbying in the halls of both
Sacramento's and Hollywood's power structure. This landmark legislation finally covers All children
in California who work in the Entertainment Industry from Day One and Dollar One, making the ownership
of the money the property of the child who actually does the work, and guarantees a portion of that child's
income will be saved in a Coogan Account. Coogan Money can now be invested in a wider range of
financial instruments. Parents now must act as Trustees.
AHA LEGAL SURVEY. This critical examination of the laws and regulations which vary so widely
across this nation is currently underway thanks to another grant from the IACF. The exemption from
Federal Child Labor Laws found in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 has resulted in a hodge-podge
of rules...largely unenforced...that treat some children less well than others, depending on their location.
The Producer's Association (the AMPTP) has already agreed to implement this Report's conclusions.
Screen Actors Guild has already voted unanimously to seek Federal Unification of the child labor laws for
Entertainment based on a motion raised by Paul Petersen at the January, 2000 Plenary Session
of Screen Actors Guild.
This work has led to AMC's President to be named the National Co-Chair of the AFTRA Young
Performers Committee which works in conjunction with the SAG Young Performers Committee.
Our work has attracted the attention of international organizations, chief among them, the World Safety
Organization of the United Nations. Both Rana and I have studied for and passed the difficult
examination of the WSO to become Certified Safety Experts in the Entertainment Industry and are in the
midst of the United Nations credentialing process to become accredited Delegates to that august body.
Rana's deep commitment to Health and Safety within the Entertainment Industry has led to an honor
bestowed only on the most trusted and committed Industry insiders. Rana Platz-Petersen, RN,
CSE-WSO, is now a Trustee of the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan.
I serve on the Board of The National Drug Prevention League, the American Foundation for Drug
Prevention, the California Governor's Committee for Media Access (for the Disabled), and the Donna
My friends, it is no longer a question of IF we'll make things better for professional children, but WHEN.
We remain committed to our intervention and support mission as well, acting through several vehicles.
We are tied to many delivery systems for help in substance abuse and treatment, we continue to offer
financial aid and no-cost counseling and mentoring programs. We continue to serve on the Young
Performers Committee (now starting our 7th year) and attend the continuing Orientation Meetings for
young performers and their parents held every 3rd Tuesday of the month at Screen Actors Guild
headquarters in Los Angeles.
Legislation is working its way through the process in KANSAS and NORTH CAROLINA, plus Iowa,
Arizona, and Texas. We will have an up-date on those endeavors shortly. House Bill 2838, just so you'll
know, passed out of the Kansas Assembly 122-0 in late-March.
We're on a roll.
Let me close this report by asking for your financial support. A Minor Consideration is no longer a small
concern. Our interests are global. I would not have to ask if our mission had remained just caring for
former kid stars down on their luck. We are into Prevention now. Our initial charter and mission
statement remains in place. It's the work that has changed. We are using the tools of the electronic
generation to make contributions a bit easier for you. Your financial assistance is vital. We take no fees for any of our services. No one has yet to draw a salary. As our record of accomplishments grows you can be sure that we'll put your money to good use.
We already have.
President & Founder