Do you remember when YouTube was new? I was in high school and I would watch these videos that young people were making using mediocre cameras to imitate cool cinematography or even try out things like green screens. None of the video quality holds up to today's standards in which everyone is expected to have a good camera and professional lighting, but the creativity was great. It was exciting and so much fun.
That's kind of what the Disney Family Singalong on ABC tonight reminded me of. On the one hand, it's absolutely nothing like the quality that Disney/ABC would put out on TV. A bunch of people filming themselves in their kitchens or bedrooms with their phones. Everything all spliced together with the song lyrics stuck onto the bottom of the screen. Absolutely nothing, right? Nothing compared with a big production on a stage with a live audience and then added digital effects, right?
Except that it was so much fun.
I thought I would turn it on just to see what it was and then either keep it on in the background or turn off the TV. But I was hooked. Obviously, of course, the opening song was great. Derek Hough and all put together a creative piece that still had costumes and choreography and cinematography even if it was just filmed in their kitchens. That was a YouTube video there, such fun.
While the other songs didn't keep up that same quality level because of course you can't really do that on all of them, they were still creative and just positive and encouraging. Whether it was the multiple screens of one performer like with Darren Criss or Ariana Grande, or the use of the green screens like with Amber Riley, the editing kept the screen moving even if there wasn't much to actually film. Or sticking Luke Evans and Josh Gad on a frame on Alan Menken's piano--stuff like that is cool.
Then as you do get into the group stuff, the possibilities are all there. The High School Musical cast brought in the feels, Jordan Fisher brought in lighthearted fun and all the choreography, and the Donny Osmond bit put all the family emotions out there. And of course I'm sure we all loved the pets that made their appearances. I think Christina Aguilera's dog just sleeping on the bed next to her was my favorite.
The things we can do when everything that we're used to relying on is gone. No, you can't all practice this scene together and perform it live on a stage. But yes, you can all film yourselves dancing with your phone and we'll edit it together so that it looks like you're all dancing together. Isn't that great? This is nothing profound of me to say and this one hour show was nothing profound, either. But it was fun, despite being nothing like what Disney would normally put out--and I just can't get over how wonderful that is.
It's a reminder of what makes things enjoyable. Yes, we love Disney because of their superb quality level, and I'm sure we'll all be happy to have big productions back. But they could do something like this because these are songs that we all know and love. They came up with a creative way to do something, and it worked. That's the way so many things are right now: we're kind of just reinventing our way of approaching it all. That's why many of the ideas that have come up or new ways of doing things are going to stick around even after the world normalizes again.