Universal Studios Hollywood is looking for a few quality candidates to join its ranks for the coveted role of Universal Studio Tour guide. It’s not as easy as it looks. There’s a lot of training that goes into leading the daily runs, which can last anywhere from 45 minutes to just over an hour depending on the filming schedule and re-routing of the tram tours through the famous and very active Universal back lot.

The theme park is hosting an open call audition for Studio Guides from 1-4 p.m. on Monday, April 9, at the Garland Hotel, 4222 Vineland Ave., in North Hollywood. Those interested in trying out can find all of the details and can register for a spot at USHauditions.com.

Will Simons, 35, of Claremont, has been a Studio Tour guide for 13 years. When he first came to an open casting call, he was in a room with 600 other candidates and after the audition, he thankfully got a call back. He returned and impressed tour managers with his improv skills and knowledge of Universal films and NBC television shows. He moved on to take a three-week training course before he was put to the test in front of theme park guests on the tram.

“After our first test day where you perform a portion of the tour for the training managers and supervisors, literally, no joke, the next day you’re put out on the tour,” he said.

 

  • Will Simons is a tour guide on the studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Will Simons is a tour guide on the studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The studio tram enters King Kong 360 3-D at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The studio tram enters King Kong 360 3-D at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Will Simons greets visitors as he leads a studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Will Simons greets visitors as he leads a studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Will Simons is a tour guide on the studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Will Simons is a tour guide on the studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Will Simons greets visitors as he leads a studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Will Simons greets visitors as he leads a studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The studio tram tour travels past the world’s largest blue screen at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The studio tram tour travels past the world’s largest blue screen at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The studio tram tour drives through the backlot at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The studio tram tour drives through the backlot at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The studio tram tour passes an old tram as it enters King Kong 360 3-D at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The studio tram tour passes an old tram as it enters King Kong 360 3-D at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Will Simons greets visitors as he leads a studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Will Simons greets visitors as he leads a studio tram tour at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City on Monday, Feb 12, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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His first day, he was pretty nervous and stumbled a few times, even hitting the wrong button for a video clip, however his improv skills kicked in and he saved himself.

“You just have to make it fun so I said ‘Oops, that was a blooper, everyone’ and smiled,” he said. “To go from doing it in front of your peers to then the training managers and supervisors to immediately having your first tour with 167 people staring at you, yeah, it’s nerve-wracking.”

Simons now does anywhere from three to five tours per day, depending on the routes the trams are allowed to take given the busy and ever-changing back lot production schedules. He said that having some hosting or improv training is definitely beneficial when coming in to audition, however a smile and a bit of confidence can go a long way.

At this point, he’s given thousands of tours, and has offered his guests unique experiences. He once had Kim Kardashian join him as a co-Studio Tour guide and has spotted out celebrities such as Will Ferrell and director Steven Spielberg for tram guests to wave “hello” to on the tour. During our tour, actress and comedian Fortune Feimster, who is currently starring on the new Mindy Kailing show, “Champions,” gave us a quick wave while returning to her sound stage with her lunch.

“We have the freedom to make the tours our own,” Simons said. “I’m a big history buff so I love the history of the tour so I never leave out the Universal monsters, you know, the classics that got their start in the late ’20s and early ’30s. We can pick and choose what we bring to life for our guests but if someone in the front car shouts out a question or if someone is in the front with a birthday pin on, I’ll ask them what their favorite movie is and then I can kind of cater to that. For the most part, we’re able to go off and do our own thing.”

Simons says that Studio Tour guide hopefuls should just really be themselves and also, go back and watch all the classic Universal films and really inform themselves on the current NBC show line-up to familiarize themselves with the stars.

“There’s nothing worse than seeing someone famous on the back lot and not remembering their name or what TV show they’re starring in,” he said. “And watch ‘Jaws,’ watch ‘Psycho’ and ‘Back to the Future,’ ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘King Kong.’ You need to see those movies, if you haven’t, anyway.”

David Valdez, manager of guide training and development, is a former Studio Tour guide himself and said his staff is really looking for people with a lot of personality, charm and the maturity to handle giving tours that provide the overall best park guest experience.

“To me, it’s not just 167 people at a time jumping on a tram,” he said. “It’s preparing to give them an experience that’s literally an insider view of what a back lot production does from film and television to commercials, music videos and photo shoots – we can do everything here in these 400 acres. It goes from start of production and that can begin with the conception of ideas and casting all the way to post production. This really is an all-inclusive studio and there’s very few places that give you that kind of access to get a little peek into that.”

Universal Studios Hollywood

Where: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City

When: Open daily; Hours vary by date

Tickets: $105-$116 single-day general admission; $179-$259 Universal Express; $329 and up for the VIP Experience; $129-$159 two-day general admission at 866-258-6546 or UniversalStudiosHollywood.com

 

https://www.dailynews.com/2018/03/16/how-you-can-be-a-tour-guide-for-universal-studios-hollywoods-world-famous-studio-tour/

On – 16 Mar, 2018 By Kelli Skye Fadroski

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