PART ONE – BEFORE
I don’t actually know what compelled me to look into being a Scareactor. It was early August, and I just kind of Googled it on a whim. When I suggested the idea to Karen she kinda laughed at it and said “sure, why not?” I certainly didn’t have any expectations – I had no park experience, and my performing credits are…sparse (but hey, I do have an imdb page). Even if I didn’t have a chance, though, I thought it would be interesting to get a look at how the process works, because that’s something about the parks that I find really fascinating. The whole organizational structure of an event like this – almost like having a park that runs on top of a park with so many departments having to work with each other – it’s incredibly complex stuff that pushes my buttons as a business analyst. But that’s just my nerdy self.
I submitted an application on August 6th, and was scheduled to come in on August 7th. I don’t know if I just had perfect submission timing or what, but a 24 hour turnaround is pretty sweet. I would NOT recommend applying this late in the game, though. Auditions crank up several months earlier, and you have a better chance of getting cast when there’s a larger pool of available positions. I got really lucky that they were lacking a sufficient number of older dudes with no discernable talent.
I pulled into the Universal Orlando human resources parking lot at 7:45pm – my audition appointment was scheduled for 8:30, but the confirmation email recommended getting there a half hour early. Obviously if a potential employer recommends doing something, you probably oughta do it if you really want your job (I mean, within reason. Don’t let a potential employer influence your vote or encourage you to do meth. Only let true love have that level of influence).
I passed through security and took a seat in the lobby for the next 45 or so minutes. Perched next to a statue of Woody Woodpecker, I observed dozens of people moving around the room – there was a circular station in the middle that served as a divider between folks who were due to go in for an audition and folks who (I would learn later) had made the cut and were going to be processed as hires. A DVD of Stranger Things was playing on loop in the televisions in the room, a constant reminder of what this year’s Headlining House was going to be.
Promptly at 8:30, we were called up to the circular station and asked to sign in, get some paperwork, get our interview number, and have a photo taken. From there, we followed blue arrows out of that main lobby, down a corridor, and into what felt like a large college classroom. Rows of tables, chairs, you know the schtick.
The paperwork was pretty basic. General contact information, a list of stuff that they wanted to make sure you were cool with if you got the gig (“this job may require you to…” type stuff). We were brought stickers with our pictures on them to affix to our contact forms. My picture was unfortunate. I guess my shorts hadn’t settled properly when I stood up so it looked like…well, like I was a bit too excited to be there. Luckily my posture was miserable too so my freakin belly managed to misdirect. Hashtag Swipe left.
Now for a SUPER important note about that paperwork. One of the key parts of that paperwork is your availability. Yes, they’re asking you what your availability is going to be for the duration of the event. It’s hard to sit down in August and decide what you’ll be doing throughout September and October, but you have to be able to say something. I was deeply conflicted here – of course I’d want to have time off so I could enjoy the event, but what if I requested the wrong time off and it negatively impacted my chances? What if I was going to be hired, but they decided to go with someone else who was available on the third Wednesday of October? I bit down hard and submitted myself with near-complete availability (there was one Sunday in September that I couldn’t work due to a concert). I felt like that gave me the absolute best chance at getting in the door. Was it a good idea? Well, we’ll talk about that in Part Two…