A screaming baby or toddler is never great for a casting, either for your own well being, or for the other auditionees. But let’s face it, we can’t pay for a babysitter for every audition (when they usually command a minimum of at least three hours), and society just isn’t fully set up for freelancing mothers – right mums?
Which means those gorgeous little munchkins are most likely gonna have to join you at an audition or two. And take it from me – having taken said little munchkin to at least half a dozen auditions + some – there are definitely some tricks to getting these little people to stay calm and keep quiet.
I promise you this is NOT where you want them to learn any new skills or practise any baby training.
Today I decided to put together a handy lists of do’s and suggestions if your tiny other half is coming with you to an audition:
- Tell your agent: make sure your agent knows you are planning to take your baby or child with you to the audition. They know the casting directors and (most likely) the studios better than you and can check that it is okay if they’re in any way concerned. Plus it’s just good manners that you tell your agent everything you are up to. Then they can have your back. *The only caveat to needing to tell your agent is if your child is old enough to sit alone quietly in the foyer with an iPad or book unsupervised. Then you’re good to go!
- Try and schedule the audition to fall around your baby’s nap time: It seems obvious right – but you know how hard it is to know what sort of mood your little baby is going to be in on any particular day, so it’s unlikely you can guess how they’ll be for your audition. If in doubt, assume they’ll be a total jerk, and likely scream the house down. (HA! Better to be prepared right). If you are lucky enough to have a basic routine for your bubba, and know roughly when they’ll sleep (give or take 30 minutes), then try and schedule your audition around that time. Agents are understanding folk. Just let them know what’s best for you both. Communication – it’s not hard!
- Give them milk, a dummy, anything: If you know that you can get your baby to sleep with a bottle, or by rocking them, or by using a dummy, then use it. An audition is not the time to play martyr. If you’re gonna take the little bundle to a casting, I promise you this is NOT where you want them to learn any new skills or practise any baby training. I REPEAT – do not decide now is the time to do any baby training, sleep training, milk training or food training. Your mission is to get that baby quickly in and out. That’s it! Do I make myself clear soldier?
- Avoid peak hour like the plague: nothing will unsettle a mummy and baby like hundreds of commuters trying to cram onto a busy tube as if they’ve been told there’s a winning gold ticket to the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory if they get that tube right now! It will stress you out. And it will stress your baby out. And it’s not good energy for you to be carrying pre-audition. Save yourself the heartache, sweaty armpits and cranky baby. OR take a bus all the way in.
- Toys are great: As little ones get older their taste in toys, along with their attention span, changes. If you notice they have a particular flavour of the week, then pack it and bring it with you. That way, if they are awake, and if the food/dummy/milk isn’t appeasing them, you can crack out the winning toy and distract them for another minute or two.
- Other mums are like magic gold dust in an audition foyer: as a wise industry mum once told me, if you gotta take your baby to an audition, see if you can thrust them onto another mummy for a few seconds. Commercial castings will rarely have you in the room for more than a few minutes so asking someone to keep an eye on your little one usually won’t be seen as an awful hindrance. Plus everyone loves a cute little baby – when they aren’t their own! Just look for the friendliest face in the room and then gently say, ‘would you mind looking after my little one for a few minutes while I am in the room?’ If they are totally terrified, they can say no and you can ask someone else.
- Don’t cancel your audition because you’re worried about taking your baby along: I can’t even begin to tell you how nice people have been to me since I had my baby and took him to auditions. Everyone is so nice to you when you have a littlie. And the other cool thing is some casting directors are even nicer to you than ever. Suddenly you’re there with a much much cuter version of yourself and you’ll find them saying hello and asking you questions and goo’ing and gaa’ing over your little cutie. YAY!
Hopefully these little tips will help you brave your audition on those times you don’t have a sitter. And hey, if the worst happens and they do cry (mine did once!), it’s okay. Sometimes babies cry and no one is going to get angry at you. Blame teething. They’re always blooming teething after all! (How many more teeth I ask!!!!)
And if you make it out alive and with your baby cool, calm and collected, then I think you’ve both earned a nice little coffee shop visit, don’t you!