You receive a call for your four-year-old son to be at an audition in two hours. You haven’t showered, haven’t fed your son yet and there’s no time to find a sitter for your three-month-old baby. You accept the audition because you know if you pass, you may receive fewer calls in the future. You’re a hot mess!
There’s so much to keep track of that it’s easy to forget things. It’s also important to make sure you have full details about the audition.
Joan Lynn, a NYC powerhouse casting director, has been casting television commercials for almost 30 years for major National Advertisers and Award Winning Directors. Her clients include Disney, McDonald’s, Home Depot and many more.
When your agent or manager calls, advises Joan, ask the following questions:
1. What should my child wear?
2. Is there copy? (script)
3. When is the callback?
4. When does the commercial shoot?
If there is copy, arrive a half-hour early and do NOT sign in, says Joan. Take the copy and then come back five minutes before the audition time and sign in. You will probably have to fill out a ‘size’ card. Always know your children’s sizes and every time the sizes change, let your agent or manager know.
There will be times when your child is not available for auditions. Examples are sports practice, doctor’s appointment, vacation dates and important celebrations and religious holidays. Agents and managers work hard to market your child and the last thing they want to hear is that your child is not available.
Joan advises that you should always tell your agent or manager in advance when your child is booked out.
Here are some other tips to help you through frenzied times:
ITEMS TO KEEP IN THE CAR OR IN A BAG BY THE FRONT DOOR AT ALL TIMES
I highly suggest using a backpack instead of a hand-carried bag. Keep reading to find out why!
1. Baby wipes. These are not just for wiping bottoms! It’s good to wipe your child’s face, hands and nose right before an audition. Kids drool and food is always getting stuck in those creases on the sides of their mouths.
2. Snack choices. The less messy the better! Always keep snacks that your child loves ready. But also put in a NEW type of snack that he’s never seen before! Example: If your child loves M&M’s, pack M&M’s and another chocolate treat such as Sno-Caps. If your child is used to Cheerios, change it up a bit by adding Fruit Loops so he sees different colors. Some miniature boxes of raisins keep for a long time, as well. Stay away from things that squirt juice such as oranges. For infants, the powdered formula is a blessing in disguise because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. You can buy small pouches or cans that you can re-seal. Always have two or three water bottles packed so you can mix the formula. If you use breast milk, always have some spare bottles in the fridge and keep a small cooler bag in your backpack by the door or in car. When you return home from the audition, always add a NEW type of snack in the backpack because you may not have time to do so when the next call comes in.
3. Spare clothes. It’s important to remember what your child wears to each audition. If he gets a callback, you’ll want him to wear the same clothes. You should always write down what he wears. Carry the same exact clothes he wears in your backpack as spare clothes. He may spit up or spill a drink or another child may spill something on him. Don’t forget to pack spare diapers, underwear and socks! I’ve found it easiest to have “audition” clothes. Find a few outfits your child loves to wear and every time it’s time for an audition, let your child pick out the outfit for that day, but only out of those clothes. That way you have the matching spare clothes already in your backpack. Stay away from clothes with logos, crazy patterns and that are the color black.
4. Hairbrush, comb, hair gel, hair spray, clips, headbands and hair bands. Even children can have bad hair days. There’s always a piece of hair that won’t stay in place or hair that covers your child’s eyes. Keep hair out of the eyes!
5. Small toys. Little items such as a Matchbox car or a coloring device (the kind that don’t DOESN’T use markers or crayons!) are nice choices. Always put a NEW toy in the backpack when you return home. Keep a small stash hidden in a drawer that you can pull from. A casting director prefers to see children who are outgoing and bubbly. If you give your child a new toy while you’re in the waiting room, the toy will not only keep him entertained, but also keep him happy. Mention to him that he can show the casting director (“our new friend”) the toy.
6. Nail clippers! If you get an audition call during the day, you may run out of the house not remembering to check your child’s nails. Now you won’t have to worry.
Often when you arrive at an audition, there are steps leading into the building or the elevator is small. You may even see a sign that says no strollers.” But all of your stuff is in the belly of the stroller! This is where a backpack, as opposed to a hand-carried bag, is suggested. Yes, it may be heavy with everything you load into it, but it’s just until you get upstairs to the audition room. Plus you may need your hands FREE to carry your child.
It’s a lot of fun to have strollers with every gadget, but for the audition process, it’s not practical. If you have an expensive stroller you don’t want to lose or have damaged, it’s best to have a “junk” stroller. First, if you have to leave it downstairs, you won’t be worried that strangers are looking at it or touching it. Second, if there are a lot of strollers being stored in the same area, you wouldn’t want your prize stroller getting dinged up. If you drive, keep your junk stroller in the car at all times. It’s easy to forget to pack it if you’re in a rush!
For auditions and castings, there’s an unwritten rule that states “One adult per child.” This means do not bring grandma and grandpa to the audition unless you have more than one child auditioning at the same time. The more hot and crowded a room gets, the more chance of your child getting cranky.
I’d love to hear more tips from YOU! Please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joan Lynn teaches Workshops for Kids. After the kids’ session is over, Joan will speak directly to the parents to let them know how their child is perceived and if there are any items to work on. Joan’s workshops are highly recommended by agents and managers. If interested, please contact Joan at 212-535-5305.