In the middle of November, after months of prep, correspondence, and organization, it was finally time for the Discovery Spotlight National Expo. The scouts were arranged. Contestant packets were stuffed. We were ready to go, and amid the whirlwind of workshops, competitions, and award shows, it turned out to be a success!
The venue: the historic Sottile Theatre in the middle of downtown Charleston, SC. Opened in 1927, The Sottile is an iconic venue in the city, with it’s impressive auditorium and large backstage area for talent to get ready.
On Friday, Day 1, you could find me at the registration table where I was able to meet the models, actors, dancers, and singers face-to-face after months of corresponding over email and phone. After signing in, all the talent was able to mingle, get to know each other, and make new friends. The comradery and relationship networking are defining features of our Expo.
It was time for the workshops before we even knew it. Most of the agents and scouts had already arrived from New York and Atlanta, and the ones leading the teaching sessions were ready to go.
First up was Michael Good’s workshop on professional audition techniques. The casting director and acting coach offered some great tips and got the crowd excited for the weekend.
After that was international model and former contestant, Allison Millar, who gave some great advice on runway walks and offered insights into her experience working both domestically and abroad.
Jenni Lubo from Click Models talked about commercial and print modeling techniques during her session. She gave great insider information about the modeling industry and what she and her colleagues look for in new model talent.
The Broadway Bound workshop led by Jeremy Sickles was a great information session about the world of professional theater and how to succeed in it. He had a volunteer from the audience perform and offered tips on how to improve her performance and stand out.
Matthew Prescott from Joffrey Ballet and IAMT brought high energy and great dance moves to the stage in his interactive workshop where he taught the dancers a new routine.
Day 1 also included the beginning of our showcases. Judged by our panel of agents and scouts, our performers took the stage one at a time to show off their talents. We started off with our performance division including expressive musical theatre acts and heartfelt Harry Styles covers.
Our dancers lit up the stage and got the crowd energized with many different styles and attitudes. Some audience favorites were multiple Michael Jackson dance mixes and a handful of impressive acro-dance routines.
Day 2 featured the other two divisions in our competition: acting and modeling. From commercial reads to heartfelt monologues, the actors brought their A-game.
Our competing models strutted their stuff afterwards. Cute kids (sometimes with the little encouragement from a parent) took the stage and the crowd loved them. Our teenage and adult models put on their best Tyra Banks attitude and showed off their skills in our Jeans, Swimsuit, and Fashion Runways.
All of our participants got a metal to remember their time at the weekend Expo but in the end, we had three winners, one from each division, who received our iconic Elie trophy, a cash prize, and opportunities for special training from industry professionals.
Meeting the Scouts and Agents
On Day 3, our final day of the weekend, we offered something unique to Discovery Spotlight. The contestants were able to meet the scouts at the host hotel and be interviewed by them. This provides a great opportunity for the scouts to get to know the contestants and talk to those who impressed them the most.
Out talent also got great feedback and experience interacting with professional agents from the entertainment industry.
Looking to the Future
The weekend flew by smoothly (except for the accidental fire alarm going off) and the contestants had the time of their life. Even if they didn’t win, the friendship and support in the Expo was something special.
After the high of the weekend, it was back to work in the office and we’re currently getting ready for 2018’s National Expo at the Charleston Music Hall. We’ll be back in downtown Charleston this September for another great event and we can’t wait to see what talent will be there.
If you want to sign up for our upcoming Expo head over to our register page! Don’t miss this chance to be discovered.