by Casting Director, Terry Berland
What part of our team does the lobby assistant play? Is it important for you to have a good relationship with them? Do they talk to the Casting Director about which actors impressed them or who were rude to them? The answers to these questions are… very important, yes and yes.
Here is the best advice a lobby director can give you. “Please always remember that you are interviewing for a job; maintain a level of professionalism.” —Jessica Ruvalcaba, Berland Casting
Ever come across grumpy lobby directors? Here are some thoughts from our lobby directors which can give you some hints as to why.
Don’t ask questions that are obvious to a working professional.
Here are a few questions that the lobby directors hear over and over again all day long that make them grumpy.
Is this where I sign in? When you enter a studio, there are always postings at the entrance of the studio indicating which studio is assigned to which product. When you get to that studio there is another sign indicating what session is taking place.
There will be a sign-in sheet with any directions you need. “Sign in and look at the sides.”
When is the shoot/callback? This information is usually listed on the sign at the sign-in desk.
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Have you called my name yet? Unless the lobby director happens to know your name they won’t remember who you are. A better question would be, “have you called Bonnie Casey yet?”
How long will it be? “This question can be really trying when someone asks the moment they sign in.” Don’t put pressure on the lobby director the moment you walk in, making your time problem theirs. I would suggest before you ask this question, settle down and access the situation. At best they have a rough idea, but any number of things could happen: maybe they are waiting for partners, maybe there are internet problems, maybe someone will take longer with one person than another, maybe categories were just changed and it’s going to take a little longer and then speed up. If you know coming into an audition that you cannot wait over 20 minutes and you’ve waited 10 minutes and it seems like there are still a lot of people ahead of you, then politely ask the lobby assistant about the situation. The nicer you are the more likely they will be to help you.
Now for questions the lobby assistant asks you:
What job are you here for? Before you walk in the door know the name of the product, the role and the casting company you are auditioning for.
What is your name? “Give us your first name and then last name. In that order.”
What is your call time? Give them your original call time and then the one it was changed to. The schedules they have are usually printed in call time order and they there is not usually time to put in the time changes. “This is not the time to tell the lobby assistant all the reasons you could not make it at the original time.”
If you are super early or super late and you have not informed your agent, and they have not informed the casting director, sometimes it is very difficult to get you in at the time you requested. The casting session could be in a different category and it’s time consuming to change back, or you have come so late that you have pushed the session way into the lunch hour.
“As lobby assistants we do our best to make sure the audition process is running smoothly and efficiently but we wear many hats. We are
checking times, keeping tabs of who has not shown up, coordinating with the back casting office and putting people in groups. Sometimes the session and category pairings are complicated. Please be patient with us and we will try to show you the same respect and professionalism you show us.” The lobby of a casting studio can be a really busy place with a lot of information that needs to get communicated. There should be a professional decorum in the lobby. “If we have to spend all our time telling people to quiet down it makes it hard for us to do our job and it actually makes your wait longer. Do us a favor, do your best to help maintain a calm and quiet lobby.”
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Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera, television, voice-over, and hosting. Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has lent to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development and is the co-author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.”