Christy Carlson Romano, the Disney star best known for voicing Kim Possible and for her starring role on Even Stevens, visited Old Dominion University to give a lecture on the evolution of television culture.
“To say that trends have changed since the ‘90s is an understatement,” said Romano.
She went on to describe the ‘industry’ as a three-phase development: preproduction, production and postproduction.
Preproduction was described as the development of the script, funding, casting and picking a location. Production was the filming of the movie, something that does not really involve film anymore. The advent of cheaper and high quality digital cameras has changed the way films are produced.
Romano said that the cost of production had gone way down. She said, “Anyone can make a movie and see if Tosh.0 picks it up.” She went on to talk about post production, the clean up and distribution phase; talking of the distribution power of television. “TV is sensational,” said Romano. “Cable is king.”
The rise of cable revolved around cable’s ability to react and produce programs that were relevant to their viewers. She described the reaction to war, reflection of culture, and other issues told through cable programming as the source of cable TV’s success. She said that shows about super heroes may comfort a country at war.
Comparing the programs of yesterday to today, she noted that cable creates its own shows now, like Walking Dead. The lecture touched on what some lament as the lack of quality in current programming on channels such as Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Much of the programming on these channels has changed to ‘slapstick’ live action shows. Romano said the changes were driven by cost reductions. The live action shows are cheaper to make.
Romano described herself as ‘lifer’ in the industry that grew up without problems and is not jaded by her experience. Her first audition took place when she was only six years old for a Warm and Tender doll commercial, “A doll that was recalled,” she laughed.
I was of many teens used, not exploited, to build the industry,” Romano said. She described the process as synergy, developing her skills and taking on larger roles as she got older. Hilary Duff’s transformation from TV star to pop star by the powers of Disney was cited as another example of synergy.
During the panel questions a student described some Disney girls as being into ‘some really dark stuff.’ Romano remarked, “I pride myself on being humble.”
Referring to the breakdowns of some Disney child actors, she said, “There is not one particular factor. They may not have the family structure. I was blessed with a great family.”
She hypothesized that a lack of support possibly led to some of her fellow Disney alumni’s self destruction. Speaking of one actress in particular, “The things I hear about that Lohan girl… I have met her and she is not nice,” Romano said.”
Romano spoke about showing respect for the film makers and that the film making process. She was perplexed as how actors and actresses that seem unstable find work. The lecture ended after the panel questions came to a close and Romano hosted a meet and greet for her enthusiastic fans.
By: Patrick Reilly