Thursday, January 3, 2008

The "What's up with Abby" post you've been waiting for...


On Monday the seventh I’m flying to Los Angeles for IMTA, a week of auditions and workshops with managers and agents. I was supposed to go to IMTA in NYC back in July, but totaled my car and broke my collarbone just days before, thus postponing the trip.

However, being an ultra-safe homebody is not an option! I’ll be driving to Dayton this weekend for three days of training with Monster’s Making It Count Program. (Unfortunately that means I won’t immediately be writing about "Reality Check" and can not attend Roberta's send-off.)

Many pageant fans question if former contestants actually continue their platform work; in my case, I may be getting paid for it! Making It Count presents high school and college students with the same type of useful information and encouragement that BGSU’s Springboard program (my pageant platform) does. In my audition video I spoke about my experiences with Springboard and am now one of 250 candidate driving and flying to Dayton from across the nation. For the training I am required to memorize two of the program’s 40 minute presentations! 80% of the candidates will become certified contract speaker; depending on area, interest and availability most speakers delivery 15 to 20 presentations per academic semester.

“Depending on area” is a huge variable for me! Armed with my theatre degree, I am anxious to start my career, but many areas of my life are settled in Toledo, making my future very scary! My hope is that IMTA can in some ways ease the transition.

What is IMTA? Well, it’s a little like a pageant, and a little like a Forensics tournament- at least that’s what I’m telling myself!
IMTA’s website explains:

The International Modeling and Talent Association, or IMTA, is a professional organization of the finest and most successful modeling and talent training centers in the world…. IMTA produces a week of modeling, acting, singing and dancing competitions in New York and Los Angeles… Hundreds of fashion and talent agents, personal managers, casting directors, network representatives and music producers judge IMTA Competitions while searching for new models, actors, singers and dancers…

IMTA lays claim to stars including Eva Longoria, Katie Holmes, Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott, Jessica Biel, Elijah Wood and tons of models.

You can’t directly go to IMTA; you have to go through a school that is a member. I’m going with Toledo’s Starbound NYC, where I’ve been teaching youth acting classes.

The week long convention includes competitions as well as workshops, seminars and awards ceremonies. It’s like a Forensics tournament in that you’re competing in multiple types of events; five of the fifteen competitions offered are included in your registration, but you can compete in as many as you want for additional fees. I’ll be doing a monologue, commercial, sitcome scene, cold read, singing and a few others.

It is my understanding that it’s a relatively tiring and hectic week; that’s where my pageant experience comes into play! I am quite used to having to look my best and remind myself of my lifelong dreams and preparation, despite the immediate desire to be in a familiar place with familiar faces, where you can sleep! Also like a pageant, you are scored and awards are given. Pageantry Magazine has published several articles about the event, mainly following the modeling competitions. Click here, here and here for a few of their articles.

But much like BGSU’s Forensics team, it isn’t about the awards as much as doing it right and doing it with heart. The owner of Starbound is most interested in getting you signed; who cares about an award if no one wants to represent you!? In fact we won’t even be sticking around an extra day to go to the final long, boring ceremony.

By “signed” I mean finding an agent and/or manager who wants to represent you. This can happen three ways- high scores from your events could be noticed, an agent judging you in a specific event could like you, or by mingling in the lobby and working hard to constantly networking.

Throughout college I had a mentality that entertainment hopefuls were supposed to do it the "hard way" by living off popcorn while you knocked on lots and lots of doors trying to get an agent to see you and hopefully, eventually, catching your big break! At this point in my life though, it does not made sense for me to move to NYC or LA without a lead or ounce of security. While it is costly to attend IMTA, I figure that same amount of money would be gone in a month or two of living expenses, while making only a fraction of the contacts by trying to do it on my own. Agents and managers at IMTA will also help take the guess work out of it by letting you know in which city you’d do the best.

Starbound has a high signing rate, and if you have multiple interest the owner will help you figure out which representative is best for you. The obvious question is, will I be moving away right after IMTA? No, not necessarily. It would be amazing if a casting director said “I want you in my movie, now!” But that’s not as likely, especially considering the current writers strike. It is my understanding that most people sign with their agent from home in the weeks following IMTA. You can travel to auditions once you’re signed, but clearly you’re able to audition more if you live in the market you’re pursuing.

People also ask if Loren is going with me to IMTA; no, unlike a pageant the competitions are closed. I did check into it, and there’s not enough free time to make the trip a vacation. In most cases having someone with you distracts the competitor and keeps them from valuable networking and the guest is alone most of the time.

Although my accident gave me an extra 5 months to continue preparing for IMTA, I can’t believe it’s here! It’s complicated by my preperations for Making It Count; I have spent the past week and a half memorizing their scripts and I feel I've confused my priorities by focusing less on IMTA, but I have to pursue every opportunity that comes my way. That has been the hardest part of my life since graduating- trying to balance my current life in Ohio with my hopeful future in the entertainment industry. It is difficult to commit to things, and try to find a good job here with the looming reality that the career I really want is elsewhere.

But how awful that I would use the term "looming." My career goals are exciting, and they're dreams I have honestly had since I was a very little girl, but as I grow older the realities of realizing them grow harsher. Never mind the negative talk… after next week I can breath a sigh of pride that I finally took a major step toward the place my head and heart have always been!

Here are the theatrical headshots I’ll be using (I’m actually not sure which two of the three Starbound’s owner decided to submit) as well as my demo reel, which you may have already seen on YouTube.

Demo Reel Part 1- Photos
Demo Reel Part 2- Commercials
Demo Reel Part 3- Live spots
Demo Reel Part 4- Singing


  1. Abby,

    Good luck in LA I know you will do great. You will have them in lines wanting to sign you. I will be cheering for you!


  2. GOOD LUCK ABBY!!!!!!


  3. Good Luck next week!

    Even though we are in very different fields, i can definitely relate to the anxiety that comes with not knowing where you'll end up. I'm finding out now it's even more complicated when you have to factor in a relationship.

  4. Best of luck!! I bet you will be amazing!!

  5. Thank you everyone! :)

    I'm still memorizing, and have to be on the road at 6 a.m. tomorrow... so I'm going to need lots of luck staying awake! LOL!

    I forgot to mention, I plan to take my laptop to LA, but I don't know if I'll have time or an internet connection.


  6. Thanks again everyone!

    The speaker training in Dayton went well, despite the boring business meetings and minimal sleep. I actually met three other pageant women, including a former Miss State...

    I'm now repacking and doing last minute things for IMTA. Hopefully I'll be able to get some sleep tonight before my morning flight. Once in LA I'm crossing my fingers for even a half hour that I can relax, which to me means Starbucks and blogging. :)



    I know you'll be GREAT!! When you get back will meet to get ready again for the next prelim....



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