Minnie and I

Minnie and I

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Getting Crushed: My Disney Character Audition Experience

About two weeks ago I attended my first Disney character audition and I want to share my experience.

I applied for the Spring 2017 Disney College Program (DCP); haven't herd if I got accepted or not. For the program I choose two main roles: character performer or character attendant. Shortly after I sent my online application and completed the online interview, I scheduled my phone interview with the DCP. My phone interview went great, it was about 20 minutes long. The Disney representative asked many questions about my work experience and what would I bring to the Disney Company. By the tone of the interview, I felt they want me to be a character attendant more than performer. The reason is because I'm fluent in Spanish, and the lady interviewing me was asking questions like "Are you willing to help guests who speak Spanish? Are you willing to wear an "I speak Spanish" label on your name badge?" I answered yes to all of those questions. Before the interview was over, the lady scheduled me for a character audition being held near where I live. In order to become a pefromer, you must go through an audition first. Regardless if your going to be a parade performer, a dancer or a meet-n-greet character.

The day of my audition came, I was ready to go. My hair was neatly combed, had my best workout clothes on, I was pumbed for the audition. It was a 40 minute drive from my home to the dance studio having the audition. On the way there, I was listening to relaxing music and to a motivational speaker. The audition website said that they would being at 10:30am and don't come any earlier than 9:30. I got to the dance studio at 9:32 and I was #71. Easily, there was more than 300 DCP applicants auditioning. When I walked into the dance floor I saw many young, talented girls whom where professional dancers. There were a handful of guys there, whom to were skilled at dancing. Before I go on, let me state that I'm not a dancer. I cant dance. I can perform, as a character in a fur suit, but I cant dance. I felt so puny compared to these young, brilliant dancers.

Because of the large amount of people present, the casting directors were taking in groups of (about) 60 people at the time. I was in the second batch of people to meet with the casting directors. When our group was called, we went in to a separate dance floor to meet with one of the casting directors and the choreographer. Before the choreographer started to show us the dance moves, the director gave us a pep-talk and told us what they are looking for in our performance that day. The main thing he was looking for was energy. Energy in our face and our performance. After that, the choreographer started showing us the dance moves. It was a simple dance routine, but for a non-dancing autistic kid like me, it was as she was speaking German. She only spend about five minutes showing us the routine. After that, we went in groups of four to perform the routine in front of the casting director. I was in the second group to perform. I bombed the routine. After everyone was done, the director was calling out who was picked to move on forward with the audition process. Needless to say I didn't get picked.

When the director didn't call my number, I almost started crying. I wasn't surprised because I knew I failed the dance routine. I was surprised to see that many guys auditioning got picked, when their dancing was great, but their facial expression was awful. I remember one guy in particular that rocked the dance routine, but his facial expression was scary looking. He was forcing a smile to the point where he look like the Joker. I was thinking to myself "there's no way he's going to get picked." He got picked. Why? Anyways, as I was exiting the dance floor, something happend. As I'm about to go through the door, the choreographer stopped me and held my hand. She was holding my hand and she said "Thank you for coming, thank you, you're brave for coming today!"

She must have seen something in me, something different. Her holding my hand and saying those words to me, was a powerful moment to me. She had sympathy over me and gave me some of her strength to move on forward. I left the dance studio and as I'm leaving the building, I could see the picked performers getting their picture taken, getting measured and filling out applications. Inside of me was crying "I should be in there right now!" A close friend of mine called me later that day asking me how my audition went. I told him the whole story, and he has auditioned to be a performer several times before, so he knows what I went through that day. He told me "Its such a crushing feeling when you don't get picked." I agreed with him, it was a very crushing experience.

I still have a chance at entering the program. Hopefully I'll be a character attendant. I'm slowly growing my performing skills, and I'll get better. I need to focus more on dancing and how to be more confident when performing in front of a director. Im not giving up, I'll keep trying and accomplish what I set my mind to.