We are sitting in a neighborhood park in Santa Monica getting some fresh air after Paloma's third baby modeling audition. Her second audition was for the role of a baby boy for some reality TV show. This morning's audition was for the role of a "Hispanic Baby" for a national insurance company. With three auditions under my belt (and still no jobs), I think it's time to compile a list of things I've learned.
For background, we have experienced an easy time finding parking and a difficult time (thank goodness meters take debit cards). We've been in the room alone with one or two casting people and in a room with another baby and a panel of casting people. We've had a 10-minute audition and a one-minute audition. I have had to sing the baby a lullaby, interact with her on a mat, set her on a mat in her most uncomfortable position, and just stand in front of the camera and tell what time she naps. At least the baby has no clue why I have been dragging her all over LA.
*Make silly faces or whatever it is that makes your baby smile and laugh right before she goes into the casting room. She will go into the room happy and showing off those cute bottom teeth! (We did not do this today, and she was so serious in the room. For her first 2 auditions, she entered the room talking and smiling. She seemed to love seeing new faces. Maybe this time the panel of casting people made her nervous, but the other baby we went in with was a little charmer!)
*Give yourself 45-60 minutes as a cushion to find parking, change diapers, feed the baby, relax, and sign in early. (The first two auditions we arrived 45 minutes early. Today we were parked 15 minutes before the audition and I still needed to feed the baby. We barely walked in right at the call time, and I was out of breath from running!)
*If the casting director asks you if the baby can, for example, crawl, be honest and say no, but start talking about what she can do. Focus on the positive. e.g. She likes to sit and play with toys in baskets. She likes to rock on her knees.
*When "reading the slate" (i.e. holding the child in your arms and stating the child's name and age for the camera), hold the baby in front of you like a baby carrier facing outward rather than on your hip. They will see more of the baby this way.
*Be ready to discuss your baby's schedule.
*Be ready to sing your baby's favorite song or lullaby.
*No complaining! If you engage in small talk with the other parents in the waiting area, leave out any mention of your commute time or anything that sounds like a complaint.
*No unnecessary information! Unless specifically asked, leave out the fact that the baby does not like to be on her tummy because if you do mention it, they will ask you to put her on her tummy and she will cry.
*No food! We have waited 5 minutes before being seen and we have waited an hour to be seen, so I know you and the baby might get hungry, but you don't want food on her face or in your teeth.
I will update this list if anything else comes up, but even if we have the perfect audition next time, this whole business is a total crap shoot. You really don't know what is going to make the casting director say, "She's the one!"