Co-Founder and Carson’s mom
Christie brings more than 25 years of experience in advertising, marketing, communications and social media to her role as co-founder of Theatre Audition Advisors. Her primary focus is on increasing brand awareness and educating students and parents about the college audition process. She has daily oversight of marketing, social media, and finance.
Christie was a founding partner of MAX Advertising, where she was vice president of operations & social media for 20 years. Before founding the advertising agency, she worked for the Portman Companies in-house advertising agency, overseeing all internal & external print, digital & executive communications and marketing efforts.
Christie’s “mom” credentials are also impressive, her experiences led to the inspiration for creating Theatre Audition Advisors. Her youngest son, Carson, showed a gift for musical theatre in middle school & honed his skills through vocal, acting & dance training as well as lead performances in high school & community theatre.
After her initial surprise at the extensive process of choosing and getting admitted to a top-notch college performing arts program, Christie quickly became something of a pro at navigating the myriad steps of applications, auditions, pre-screening videos, competing deadlines and school visits. The hard work paid off. Carson is now a rising junior at Coastal Carolina University, where he is majoring in musical theatre and is a member of the barbershop quartet, Fortissibros.
Christie holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Georgia. She and her family live in Johns Creek, Georgia.
Co-Founder and Aidan’s mom
Lisa brings a wealth of sales, editorial and business acumen to her role as co-founder of Theatre Audition Advisors, where her primary focus is sales, content marketing and customer consultation. With 25 years of experience working for companies like BellSouth Advertising and Publishing Corp, The Atlanta Journal & Constitution, and Mars Petcare, Lisa has written for print, digital and direct marketing mediums, as well managing new business generation and sales to local and national companies. She has a B.S. degree in educational psychology from the University of Georgia and is a recipient of the Jack McDonough Editorial Award from The Southern Company.
As an active mom, Lisa has been involved in all aspects of the business of theatre and in supervising the college audition process as a parent. Her son, Aidan, has been involved in theatre since 5th grade and will be pursuing his love of musical theatre in college this fall at Wright State University in Ohio. This process inspired Lisa to help simplify the experience for other parents through Theatre Audition Advisors.
Lisa, herself, has been involved in performance art and music throughout her life, performing in school and community theatre, as well as traveling and competing with her church choir. At 15, she landed a lead role in an adult band and performed professionally. During college and after, Lisa sang as a lead in a bluegrass quartet and in a pop band, performing at festivals, parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs and other venues. Her love of music and the performing arts has remained a passion!
Lisa and her family live in Johns Creek, Georgia.
Lisa and Christie met and became friends in 2011 after their sons were cast in a middle school production of Once On This Island. Over the years our friendship grew as well as both of our son’s love of musical theatre. Christie’s son Carson went through the college audition process first, 2 years ago. I remember talking to her throughout the process and hearing the stress in her voice. She would tell me they were flying here and there! She described for me in detail the unified audition experience in Chicago and kept telling me to start saving my money!!!
When it came time for my son Aidan to begin preparations I relied heavily on Christie and her past experience. I was on the phone constantly asking her questions and advice.
Both of our sons participated in their high school drama departments at Northview High School and both had lessons and training. They both took lessons at The Performers Warehouse in Alpharetta as well as private vocal and acting lessons during the months leading to auditions. Their vocal and acting coaches helped them pick appropriate songs and monologues. That’s not in our wheelhouse. We are not coaches, teachers or instructors.
We are moms. As mothers, we saw the strain that this process put on our sons and felt the stress ourselves. The statistics for getting into a performing arts program are shocking! Many of these programs take 10-16 kids per year and there are thousands applying. Thus…..it becomes somewhat of a numbers game. A student trying to get into one of these programs may be juggling 20 different applications at once. In Aidan’s case, he was taking AP classes, had a part-time job and went straight to training after school often not getting home until 11 PM. I had no choice but to help him manage these various applications.
I ran into an administrative nightmare! Many schools now require a pre-screen video (an audition to audition) before they even grant you permission to audition to their program. Those pre-screens had varying deadlines. In addition, every school had admission requirements with multiple deadlines. He had audition dates with logistics that had to be managed as well. There were on campus, regional and unified locations. Where, When and How became my life AND I have a job!!!
Christie had created multiple spreadsheets and I took them and cut them down to the information I needed. I spreadsheets for my spreadsheets. There were moments where I sat on my laptop and toggled back and forth between 5 different websites trying to upload videos and input information. No matter how organized I tried to be, I kept missing things or screwing things up.
I called Christie one afternoon in early November in 2017 frustrated beyond belief. During that conversation I said to her….there has to be an easier way to do this….I think you and I should start a business and help other parents/students with this process. Christie replied…let’s do it!
We met several times over the next few months to discuss the concept and what we would like the flat form to be able to do. We created a solid business plan and met with investors, programmers and financial planners. Our idea was now a reality and we were on our way….
In January of 2018, we began the journey and started creating our web-based platform STAR (Student Theatre Audition Route). STAR guides both parents and students through the information management process of applying to a performing arts program. This is NOT about training. We are NOT telling students what to sing or how to dance. We are helping them navigate the myriad of information that is necessary to get into a program. Managing an extreme amount of information IS part of the process….WHY not make it easier? Being organized builds confidence.
In addition, we saw a need to connect students to resources. Finding a vocal, acting coach or dance studio to train is not always easy. For some it’s logistics. Is the studio convenient to my residence and for others it’s financial. Can I afford to sign a yearlong contract? How could students find local resources that fit their needs? We added an Artistic Partners page to our website to help form those connections in local areas. We started here in our backyard but it’s our intention to launch this across the country. We will have pages for each state with local resources for students and parents. We have an events page as well that will promote events, camps, intensives, and auditions in local areas.
The performing arts is and should be a community that supports each other. We want to convey that sentiment on our site. We strive to help promote and support that community!
We have had unbelievable support from family and the arts community throughout the last 6 months. We have been in awe of the people who have jumped on board before we even had a working product. Many were shown a mock sample of what we were doing and were blown away! The finished product is amazing and we are so excited to roll this out! We launch on July 9th. STAR should be something that every student/parent going through this process uses. It is a complement to any training program. This tool will help every student and parent navigate their way.
To contact Theatre Audition Advisors, see their website at https://theatreadvisors.com/ and like and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Fabulous, informative article!