Letters to the Editor

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2003

Thanks to all who made N.C. trip possible

Dear Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped support me on my recent trip to Charlotte, N.C., October 3-5, for the Millie Lewis International Talent Search Convention. I was truly overwhelmed by all of the support I received in the form of telephone calls, cards of encouragement, financial sponsorship from local businesses, and financial support from my family and friends. There are no words to adequately express my appreciation!

This was an experience in which I felt honored to participate and something I will never forget. It was a three-day event held in the Adam's Mark Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. There were 400 participants of all ages auditioning for over 32 top talent agents and casting directors from New York City, California, Atlanta, Japan, Chicago and others in various talent reviews, such as modeling, dancing, singing, and acting. All of us had been chosen at our regional reviews held during the summer for a spot to participate in this national review in Charlotte. We attended seminars and workshops being taught by talent agents and other professionals. We also had rehearsal workshops to help us prepare for our final auditions in front of the agents.

There were several talent agents and/or casting directors who showed an interest in me personally. Mrs. Evelyn Dysart was one of them. She was the actual casting director for the movie, "Fried Green Tomatoes", as well as various television shows. Needless to say I was extremely excited when she gave me "her card" and asked me to send her a video and some pictures, which I am in the process of doing. (Thank you, Mr. Mike Russell of Andalusia Cable 12 for being gracious enough to offer your help in shooting my video!). Another talent agent/casting director I met with was Mrs. Lesley Collis. Mrs. Collis gave me my very first one-on-one acting lesson! She and her husband live in New York City and have actually performed on the Broadway stage, and since being on Broadway is my dream, it was an honor for me to receive advice and positive feedback from such a prominent person in that field. She also casts commercials for Fisher Price and Mattel, including ALL the "Barbie" commercials and advertisements. She has also worked with Lauren Graham of the "Gilmore Girls", and Vin Diesel of "Saving Private Ryan". But I guess my favorite talent agent/casting director that I met with would have to be Mrs. Man Lyn Henry. She took up so much time with me, wanting to know all about me, where I live, college plans, etc. Mrs. Henry lives in New York City and oversees all the daytime casting for ABC TV, including soap operas. She also wrote a best seller, "How To Be a Working Actor", and personally autographed my copy for me! She offered me such valuable advice and even invited me to participate in an acting workshop called "ACTeen" held in New York City during the summer. It was also VERY exciting to meet Vinnie Potestivo, who manages the Talent Development Department at MTV in New York City! He books appearances for special events at MTV like the Video Music Awards, the MTV Movie Awards, and Total Request Live (TRL). All of these agents gave me their addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses to keep in touch! Vinnie told me to let him know when I'd be in New York City next summer after graduation, and he would get me on TRL and show us around the MTV studios!

Most importantly, I know this trip would not have been possible for me had it not been for all of the support I received from everyone locally, and continue to receive from so many people. Therefore, I would like to thank the following people: My mom (for driving the 950 miles and for always being my biggest fan), my grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Bobby (Merle) Hill, Uncle Chip and Aunt Robin Hill (& Linda Elizabeth), Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Lister Hill, Aunt Gladys Posey, Mr. and Mrs. Danny (Barbara) Posey, Aunt Jackie and Uncle Billy Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Mark (Patty) Hill (& Adam and Peyton), Mr. Craig Hill, Aunt June Dubose, Aunt Brenda Harrelson, Aunt Cora Mae Lankford, Aunt Willie Mae Wells, Mr. and Mrs. Leamon (Fosteen) Hudson, Ms. Barbara Macon, Dr. Angelo Agro and Ms. C.J. Forry (also for the "ice cream" money and letting us drive your "Beemer"), Mrs. Vickie Hanks and Mrs. Angelene Hanks Naro (also for the "goodie bag" you made me for the trip!), Darby's Pharmacy, Dr. Mark Gable, Mr. Jimmy Faulkner, Mr. and Mrs. Earl (Pam) Steele (& Lindsey Miller), Mr. and Mrs. Lamar (Beverly) Sanders, Mandy Sanders, Mrs. Katie Sue Wells, Mrs. Angie Sasser, Mrs. Paula Sue Duebelt (the BEST Mary Kay consultant in town! wink wink), Mrs. Elizabeth Wise, Mr. and Mrs. Jim (Debbie) Kyzar (& Jad), Brian Capps, Sheryl Cook, Mr. and Mrs. Bobby (Louise) Norsworthy, Mrs. Lynn Shiver, Mrs. Judy Bozeman, Jennifer Bowman, Mr. Kenny Craig, Ms. Linda Bybee (also for your offer to help me with my performance outfits and for being such a good friend. You KNOW what I mean!), Kelly and Katherine Finley, Mrs. Bonnie Stokes, Mrs. Jennifer Beam (for the laminated copy of my newspaper article you made for me), several members from my church (Southside Baptist), Matthew Sellers and everyone who came to my car wash and Advance Auto Parts for allowing us to have my carwash there. Thank you Jeffery Biggs, for the newspaper article you did on me in July, after my initial audition in Montgomery. A special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Merrill (Shanna) Davis (our Youth Director at Southside Baptist Church) & Corbin, Hope Owen, Brandy Mooring, Junior Cintron, Sam, Katie, Cara Kirkland, and Cody Warren for sacrificing part of your Saturday in September to help wash cars at my carwash! That was a TRUE act of friendship and one I will never ever forget! Thank you so much! And one more thank you to my friends, Hope Owen, Sarah Wofford, and Shacoya Wilkerson for the "good luck charms" you sent with me on my trip. That meant a lot to me and I kept them with me the whole time!

Thank all of you again for your support and for helping me take this very important first step in pursuing my dream. I will cherish these memories always! God Bless each and every one of you!


Merelee Robinson