Once you walk into the casting office, look for the sign-in sheet. Typically it will ask for your child’s name, the role they’re auditioning for (sometimes the project if the agents are casting more than one project that day) and the time they arrived, as well as the appointment time. It may also ask for their representation/agent. If you don’t have one yet, just say “self” and list your OWN phone number. NEVER list your child’s phone number (if they have one).

In the waiting room, you’re likely to see other kids who are clearly there to audition for the same role as your child. This can sometimes be both funny and a little disconcerting if they all look very similar. Once we walked into a room where literally every young woman in it looked like clones!! In our case– petite, blonde, and dressed as cheerleaders-! Hilarious and weird.

Waiting rooms outside casting offices can be stressful places. Do what you can to help your child feel relaxed. Find out where the bathroom is so they can use it before going in to the audition. If you’re there fifteen minutes early, there is time for this. Bring water. Nerves can make for a remarkably dry throat. Little snacks for the car can be good, but probably better not brought into the office. If your kid needs to run lines, it’s better to do this where you won’t disturb the other people waiting.

People I’ve talked to are divided about whether it’s better to talk to others in the waiting room or not. I’d let intuition be your guide. I’ve seen some parents and kids deliberately try to psych other kids out in various ways, which is as astonishing as it is horrible. I’ve also seen kids make long-term friends in a casting room—a process that can be aided by the fact that after a certain point, you are likely to see the same people over and over again in different rooms across town. Generally you can’t go wrong being quiet and polite, and keeping it at that.

Finally, your child’s name will be called! At this point, they should take their headshot and resume and follow the casting director’s assistant back into the casting office. You will NOT be following. This may seem wrong to you, but it is absolutely standard and very important.

Kids—especially younger kids– often behave quite differently when their parents are right there—and it is critical that the casting director gets a feel for how your child acts in a professional situation when their parent is not directly influencing them. Some kids are more relaxed when their parents are out of sight and some are much more shy. But when it comes down to it and your kid is in front of a camera with the director calling the shots, they need to be reliably comfortable and professional, and this is the first opportunity a casting director has to test that.

You will be nearby waiting in the casting room along with the other parents and kids. It should go without saying to never make phone calls in the waiting room. Auditions go surprisingly quickly, given how much time it takes to prepare for them, and drive to and from them! Your kid will be out before you know it.

When they do come out, make sure to thank the casting assistant as you leave. They work very hard and have stressful jobs.

NEXT: After the Audition

My book, The Hollywood Parents Guide, available on Amazon contains everything I wish I’d known when Dove and I started this journey, and will save you untold amounts of time, money, and stress. Full of information you MUST know, it also features stories from parents of other kids who’ve made it!

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