April 8, 2013 – Despite high winds and fluctuating temperatures, hundreds of Hollywood job seekers converged on Universal’s front gates Monday afternoon in the hopes of moving on to the next round of auditions to become one of Universal Studios Hollywood’s World Famous Studio Tour guides. The impressive turnout was even more impressive when considering the rather short notice for the casting call – the listing was given on social media outlets and on Universal’s own job website just one week earlier.
The interviewees were diverse and came from all walks, giving a truly Hollywood feel to the auditions. People were seen in line nervously re-reading resumes and paper clipping their headshots to other paperwork, while some took the extra moments to fix hair and makeup, and practice their most inviting smiles.
The auditions began at 2 P.M., but by 1:30 P.M., there was a line from the VIP lounge entrance to the Universal Studio Store. At 1:45 P.M., the line was back to the security checks, with more arriving from the shuttle uphill. Just seven minutes later, the same line was halfway down the red carpet towards the main gate, and by 1:55 P.M., it was curling around near the Gibson entrance gate.
By the time the auditions officially began, there seemed to be no end to the line, and many park guests began to ask what all the excitement was about – and excitement was certainly the over-arching feeling. Universal employees assisting in the process seemed to be just as excited as the people auditioning, and their positive energy seemed to have a calming effect on the nervous crowds.
After lining up outside, the auditioning actors were brought up to the VIP Lounge to line up down the hall and on the balcony for a one on one sit down mini-audition with a studio expert. The mini-auditions last just a few minutes, and the studio experts make their selections based on things such as charisma, invitingness, and knowledge of the film industry.
The rigorous selection process that follows is much the same as it has been for years: two weeks of intense training and classes, with a large test at the end on Universal Studios history, the comprehensive Universal filmography, and the entertainment industry as a whole. Following the test for those that score well, there is an opportunity for an on-the-lot tram test, where the potential tour guide gets to host a segment of the tram tour for their fellow trainees and the studio experts. At the end of all of this, the best of the best are selected to join the ranks, and begin the rest of their tour training.
For this current pre-Summer season casting call, from the nearly 500 applicants, only “40-45 people, including bilingual Mandarin and Spanish speakers” will be hired according to Natalie, one of the Studios’ expert VIP Studio Tour guides.
Those that become guides enjoy perks unique to the Studio Tour attraction. As Universal’s original press release notes, guides can enjoy “intimate group symposiums with prestigious industry professionals, free professional acting classes, auditions for top industry casting directors, and free private screenings of Universal films.”
And as history has proven true, a studio guide position usually provides the foundation for higher positions within the company. Some of the industry’s best known personalities – including Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood’s creative director John Murdy – began their career as a tour guide for the Studio Tour. For many, this could be their potential big-break into the entertainment industry.
For more information on upcoming casting calls and job openings at the theme park, be sure to check out www.USHJobs.com. Special thanks goes out to Universal Studios Hollywood for giving us access to the interview process. Full press release is located below.
Universal Studios Hollywood Holds Open Call Auditions for English, Bilingual Spanish and Mandarin Speaking Studio Tour Guides as Theme Park Recruits Ambassadors for its Popular Behind-the-Scenes ‘Studio Tour’ and Enhanced ‘VIP Experience’ In Preparation for an Exciting Summer
Universal Studios Hollywood is hiring Studio Tour guides for its signature “Studio Tour” attraction, which provides behind-the-scenes access to a working production studio, movie set backlot and one-of-a-kind special effects attractions, including the award-winning “King Kong 360-3D” created by Peter Jackson, the world’s largest, most intense 3D experience.
Selected Studio Tour Guides will join a roster of seasoned professionals, many of whom will transition to roles of coveted “VIP Experience” guides. The enhanced “VIP Experience” puts the illustrious world of movie-making magic within arm’s reach of guests visiting from across the globe. It features an exclusive guided theme park visit and Studio Tour with unlimited front-of-line ride privileges, unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to movie and television sets, including the legendary prop house and a gourmet lunch prepared by Universal’s award-winning executive chef.
As Universal Studios Hollywood ambassadors, the Studio Tour guides join a dynamic program offering employees access to Hollywood-insider perks unavailable anywhere else in the entertainment industry. Highlights include: intimate group symposiums with prestigious industry professionals, free professional acting classes, auditions for top industry casting directors, and free private screenings of Universal films, to name a few.
To be considered, candidates must be enthusiastic and charismatic, have a performance and / or public speaking background, be knowledgeable of film and television, have an engaging stage presence, be friendly, outgoing, and be at least 18 years of age.
Adriana Morgan – also known by her internet handle Miss Betty Juice – is an editor and one of the field reporters for Inside Universal.
Adriana made her first trip to Universal in 1995 during Nickelodeon’s Big Help-A-Thon, and was hooked from day one. Since that first trip, her passion for films and for Universal Studios has grown, and she continues to enjoy the park and its history today as an annual passholder and a reporter for Inside Universal. Her areas of Universal expertise include Jurassic Park, the Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue, and the Studio Tour.
Adriana currently resides in Los Angeles. You can reach her at her blog on Tumblr at MyUniversalExperience.tumblr.com, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.