Our daughter Christina has been acting in small film and stage productions here in Singapore since she was 6 years old. It was just for fun, but she always enjoyed it, and as she grew older she appeared to take it more seriously. She actually seemed pretty good at it, but we never really took it seriously, that is until the Premiere event.
We came across Premiere’s ad for the December 2015 event on Facebook last year and decided to enroll Christina for the Singapore auditions. On audition day, Marina Bay Sands was buzzing with excited children practicing their audition scripts with their nervous parents while waiting for their assigned group to be called in. A couple of thousand kids were competing for a handful of places in this incredible showcasing event…
The Premiere team was well organized and the auditions carried on smoothly throughout the day. Michael Palance evaluated every single one of the children personally, but these were no normal auditions. Michael was very effective at eliminating the kids’ jitters by turning the audition process into what looked like a live sitcom. He was extremely comedic, yet dramatic at the same time, making it a truly fun experience. We could tell that behind the comedy, Michael was very carefully evaluating each candidate.
Christina loved taking on Michael, and it was wonderful to see her confidence shine through as she went right back at him when he tried to overwhelm her with his bellowing voice and “in your face” attitude. It was really fun to watch.
The rest of the day involved a lot of nail biting, as we waited to see if the phone would ring with an invitation to return the following day for the second round of evaluations. The phone finally rang and we struggled to hear Michael, who was being drowned out by Christina’s excited screams!
Day two, and we were back at Marina Bay Sands. It was noticeably a smaller group, reflecting a number of eliminations the day before. This time, the candidates were told immediately after their performances whether they were being invited to the Premiere showcasing event or not. Those who were invited to attend, including Christina, were briefed in a separate room where the Premiere staff sat down with us and discussed the various options within the program, helping us select the best modules for Christina.
Once signed up, we were granted access to the Premiere website, which offers a tremendous amount of information that helps participants learn about the program, access resources to help them prepare, and takes them through the entire process, step by step. The website also offers special links to discounted theme park tickets, hotel rates and headshot / resume printing rates.
We were soon contacted by Christina’s Premiere coach, Dru West, to arrange our periodic Facetime calls for training and preparation ahead of the December event. Christina had plenty of time to select her monologues and music, and there was more than enough time for her to learn her lines and songs. She was totally prepared for Orlando. Now it was time to get excited. The entire family could feel the energy levels rising!
We arrived in Orlando a week before the event, giving us all time to overcome the jet lag and spend a bit of time on sightseeing. There’s so much to do in Orlando and the surrounding areas, especially with those discounted theme park tickets!
Before we knew it, the big day had arrived.
On day one of the Premiere event the Swan and Dolphin hotel was transformed from a peaceful retreat to a bustling universe of talent, with kids and parents running around in all directions, to register, collect their printed headshots, resumes, and timetables. It was extremely convenient to be able to email headshots and resumes to Spotlight printers and have the printed copies waiting for us at the hotel, especially since we were traveling from very far, and the extra space in our luggage was needed for other things.
Since we arrived in Orlando several days early, we were able to take advantage of the early registration session the day before. So on day one, Christina was able to go straight to the Celebrity Intensive sessions, which involved the children getting up close and personal with the attending celebrities and asking them questions in a small group format. That evening, everyone attended the opening ceremonies, which officially kicked off the event.
Day two began with the Industry Q&A Seminar. This was a fantastic opportunity to hear directly from talent agents and managers about the industry, and to get a better idea of what these professionals look for when evaluating talent.
Following the Q&A session, the kids all rushed off to their various modelling, acting singing and dancing workshops, timetables in hand. It was a busy day, which ended with the much anticipated Dance Party. After a long day of hard work, all the kids and parents got to let their hair down, relax and have some fun on the dance floor. Everyone was all dressed up and having a great time.
Day three kicked off with the Black and White event, where all the children got to strut their stuff for the industry professionals, making that ever so important first impression. What followed was a full day of auditions. This was the culmination of months of preparation and hard work. It was also an opportunity for parents to see not only their own children perform under pressure, but also to appreciate how many talented kids were there from all over the world. By the end of this long day it was evident how tired talent, industry professionals and parents all were. The evening wound down with the children having their pictures taken on the red carpet with the attending celebrities.
Lots of excitement, tension and nail-biting marked the start of the final day of auditions. Kids and parents once again were frantically scrambling from room to room and energy levels were high. Once the auditions were over, everyone was able to take a break and prepare for the big event; The Awards Show. There were various categories of awards that went to children, ranging from best singer and dancer to most call-backs. Christina received an award for high number of call-backs!
We were finally at the moment of truth, Call-back Day. All the children were given the opportunity to briefly meet each industry professional and drop off a headshot and resume. From there, they were directed to the call-back desk, for their letters of invitation to pursue further discussions with those agents and managers who had shown interest in them. Christina was fortunate enough to receive several call-backs, so we were later directed to the designated hall to meet our interested industry professionals.
Discussions between agents and chosen talent were kept brief, but it was a good opportunity for us to meet them and discuss next steps, which usually involved getting in touch by email and formulating a plan from there. There were agents and talent from as far as Singapore (yours truly)and even Australia. Christina enjoyed meeting everyone and she subsequently signed with an agent in Singapore and a manager in Los Angeles.
By late afternoon, participants were preparing for their journeys home. It was a bit of sad time, but the children took comfort in bringing home their fond memories of the Premiere event, not to mention a long list of new friends!
We chose to stay on in Orlando and celebrate Christmas at the Magic Kingdom, which was an incredible time and a perfect finale to an unforgettable experience.
Prior to returning home, we were advised by the Premiere team to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. We were also invited to join the Premiere Families group on Facebook, which is only available to Premiere attendees and staff. It’s a great way to keep in touch and seek answers to questions that inevitably come up, not to mention that Michael’s on-going tips are very informative and helpful. Most of all, it still keeps us in the Premiere family.
Staying in the family goes beyond social media. Michael, Dru and all the Premiere staff are just an email away, and recently we were invited as Premiere alumni to attend a private gathering at the Premiere Singapore auditions. We enjoyed a lovely buffet, met up with other Premiere families and even got to spend time with guest celebrity Lauren Taylor and her wonderful mom. Needless to say, the kids really enjoyed their selfie time with Lauren! It was a lot of fun and we’re already looking forward to their next visit.
Premiere offers children unparalleled exposure to industry professionals that would otherwise take weeks, if not months to achieve. It also teaches them the value of commitment, hard work, and confidence building, all wrapped up into an unforgettable experience.
But as Michael often points out, Premiere, as the name states, is just the beginning…
Since Premiere, Christina has been involved in several projects, and has recently landed a role in a popular Singapore TV series.
And so, the journey begins. Thank you Premiere!