Trevor Donovan has been very busy this holiday season.
He's already starred in Nantucket Noel for Hallmark, and this Sunday, he's sharing the spotlight with Merritt Patterson for Jingle Bell Christmas on GAC Family.
Trevor took some time out of his day while driving north to share Thanksgiving with his family to chat about his latest projects and an exciting new fan experience that may soon be coming to a city near you.
You probably haven't heard of it yet, but RomaDrama gets a lot of your favorite talent from TV rom-coms and holiday movies together in one place and offers you a chance to meet and greet talent and hear from them on a variety of topics.
The first was in Nashville, and Trevor was thrilled to be a part of it. "I've never been to a convention like this, but it went really well. We had a bunch of live performances, a lot of local musicians, and then actually some of the actors got up and played.
"We didn't have quite the slate of actors we have this time, so that'll be nice. We got a nice, full slate of people. It was awesome, and the women running it are fantastic."
Trevor says there are on-stage panels for individuals and groups of talent who have Q&A sessions or play games, and booths are available for conversations, selfies, and meet and greets.
The next RomaDrama lands in Palm Beach, Florida, just after the new year, and Trevor urges you to follow him and RomaDrama online to stay informed of all the latest details.
"They should follow me because anytime this event goes anywhere, I'll be advertising the heck out of it. So, that is one way; another way is to go on the RomaDrama website, which is just romadrama.com."
Trevor has been enjoying his time with GAC Family, and he's signed a two-year deal to star in and produce content for the fledgling network.
His first pairing comes with Jingle Bell Christmas, and he shared with us what to expect.
"Merritt Patterson plays a princess from a fictional Eastern European country. And she gets stranded at an airport in Maine, where my character's mom happens to work, and invites her to stay with us until her private jet can come back and retrieve her.
"But, unbeknownst to us, she's a princess. Our assumption is she's just a very rich, snooty girl, but she turns out to be a sweetheart, who my character's daughter really connects with and bonds with, which inevitably helps me bond with her.
"And she talks me into getting on my remodel for my house, which I've been procrastinating on since my wife passed away two Christmases ago. So, there is some background drama and tragedy that leads to a love story."
In Nantucket Noel and Jingle Bell Princess, the very single Trevor plays father to a young girl, an experience he values because the young actors bring so much excitement to set.
"Especially for these holiday movies because once the cookies and all these things start coming out... They're still in the prime of their Christmas years, so they actually do get excited, and it's contagious."
Trevor thinks others can learn something from the fresh faces on the scene. "Acting with kids, especially kids who are somewhat experienced and stuff, they just go out and have fun, and that's what we should do on these. And sometimes we forget."
With an entire catalog of similar fare on his resume, Trevor admits that he enjoys creating an almost utopian world that they get to live in for a few weeks during filming.
It's enjoyable. I like to challenge myself. I have other projects outside of this that are challenging, and maybe darker, and stuff, but to do this and to tell kind of a light story like that, it's a feel-good project.
"And then, not to mention this convention, where you get to meet extremely passionate fans in person and see how much these movies mean to them. And that's another little reminder of what you're doing. It really does mean a lot to a lot of people."
We agreed that the content they're creating is unique and one of the few remaining vestiges of genuine happiness that never disappoints audiences craving love and light and that despite knowing a happy ending is coming, it never gets old.
Trevor loves it. "I think it's interesting because it's actually challenging as an actor. Because, like you said, there aren't a lot of surprises in these movies, and people sort of know they're formulaic and know where they're going to go. But as an actor, or as a producer, as a writer, you want to try to make each one unique in its own way."
Trevor continued, "I thought Nantucket Noel did a good job of that. I think Jingle Bell Princess does a great job, but it's a very fish-out-of-water story where this very affluent princess is in this tiny little town with very humble people and treated so normally. There are many sweet little messages in there."
Trevor has some other irons in the fire, including a role in an upcoming film about Ronald Regan, starring Dennis Quaid. He's excited about it, and he'll be sharing more thoughts on it when it gets a release date.
When he's not acting, Trevor loves spending time with his dog, Tito, who very much enjoys getting in on dad's conversations. Trevor has also gotten involved with spreading the word about a degenerative disease that affects dogs. He had to put his beloved German Shepherd down as a result of it.
He describes Degenerative Myelopathy as ALS for dogs, and his experience with it was devastating. With his dog, he first noticed he was dragging his legs. "And within a year, he was completely paralyzed from his mid-torso back. And that was gradually getting into his organs and paralyzing his organs."
What shocked Trevor was how little he knew of the disease, which is preventable. "It can be prevented and bred out. Any breed can get it, but it's very prominent in German Shepherds, Shepherds of any kind, Corgis; there's a list of them. But, I've been talking with senators across the country," he said.
"I started with Senator Tillis, North Carolina, and I'm talking to several others and trying to get at least awareness and accountability to breeders. Because if you are a breeder, you can test for $60 to see if your dogs have the gene; if they do, you shouldn't even be able to breed them.
"Because it's just not fair. It's not fair. It's knowingly putting a dog and a dog's owner in a horrible situation. So, the idea is eventually making these breeders accountable and, ideally, passing a law that wouldn't allow you to breed these dogs with those genes in them. That's kind of my main cause in the dog world right now."
Trevor has chosen this specific cause because it's close to his heart. He's shared his experience with his fans to help bring awareness of the devastating disease to others.
"Ever since I went through that and posted the pictures of the responses I got and people that went through it. It's overwhelming. It's just shocking that it still goes on, so if you can prevent something like that.
"Because it was the most heartbreaking thing ever. You could see in my dog's eyes. He was not even nine years old when I put him down. So, he was in his prime; he was all there mentally. You would see him look at his back legs and look at me like, 'What is going on,' and it was horrible."
Trevor also got involved with an anti-bullying initiative before COVID. He had plans to visit schools so students could learn to be the kind kid and stick up for others not as fortunate as them.
Trevor got involved when a fan and follower of his on social media, Jackie Jaros, a middle school counselor in Deer Lakes, Pennsylvania, challenged him to a conversation after he suggested he wanted to make his social media platform a positive place.
She started sharing about what she experienced in school, and Trevor thought how awful it would be to be a kid in that position. "It's bad enough when you go to school, and you know you're going to get bullied, and then you go home, but now, because of social media, you can get bullied from anywhere.
"You can't get away from it, so that sort of started this initiative. I went and visited that middle school, hosted an assembly, had the kids interact, and anonymously write stories of either being bullied or bullying someone else.
"And the response I got was unbelievable, and so we read stories anonymously so that no kids were actually picked out of the crowd. And it was amazing how much these kids interacted with the whole thing and took part in it.
"So, that was something I wanted to continue doing, possibly visiting schools in towns that I'd be shooting these movies in, and then COVID hit; obviously couldn't visit any schools after that."
Bill Abbott and GAC Family have started collaborating on the initiative with Trevor, and Trevor plans on visiting a few schools in 2022, should all go according to plan.
"We're even discussing special events or special opportunities at the towns where I'll be shooting any of [the GAC Family] movies. That has yet to be set in stone, but it's an idea of involving kids in the local community and stuff when we're around shooting a movie. So, see how we can work that out."
The original name of the program could no longer be used, but they're in the process of rebranding, and it suits the agenda perfectly.
"We were drafting these scripts for part of the assemblies to do little skits with kids and stuff. And one of the characters in the skit, there's one called the bystander and another one called the upstander. The upstander being someone who stands up and is that an example of how to be the kind kid, so now it's called The Upstanders."
After determining the right audience for the initiative, the program is aimed at middle schoolers. "I really feel like, with this middle school age, they were so receptive and so involved.
"And I really feel like this is the right age to communicate this sort of thing with them. They're still impressionable enough, yet they're developed enough to understand."
And as if Trevor didn't already have a lot of irons in the fire, he's still formulating ideas for more. "GAC also has a lifestyle channel where they're going to do sort of unscripted shows, and I've got a couple of ideas for that as well. Possibly one in the vein of dog rescue and stuff, so we will see how that pans out."
With Trevor's big heart and capacity for sharing positivity with his fans, we have no doubt there are big things on the way.
For now, be sure to tune into GAC Family on Saturday, December 4, for Jingle Bell Princess.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.