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Universal Studios

  • December 26, 2011

Hi friends

I hope this post finds everyone happy & healthy on this beautiful sunny boxing day.

So as always its almost the start of a new year, which also means the start of a new contract.

Back in August 2011, I auditioned for Universal Studios Japan. I have auditioned for this company in the past, once back in 2003 & in 2010. I always made it to the end of the audition and from there i was put on the final consideration list, however i had never secured a contract with Universal Studios Japan.

Until this year….

I received a phone call from the casting director of USJ one morning back in November. He offered me the position of a Super Swing Stunt A Performer. Which is pretty much the best positon in the park.

I play “Helen from the stunt show “Waterworld” and i play “Sarah Connor” from the “3D live Terminator show”. I also occasionally perform in the night parade.

The contract goes for 13 months from February 2012 to March 2013.

So What Does A Stunt Performer Do?

A Stunt Performer jumps off high towers, rides jet skis around, gets in lots of fights  & sets themselves on fire!

Sounds like a fantastic way to spend the next year!

I was so excited when i heared the news, as i used to work at Tokyo Disneyland in Japan and absolutely loved living there!

Lots of people ask me what kind of things i have to do in auditions. So i decided to write about the USJ stunt audition and what goes on.

The Audition Process

The Universal Studios Japan casting team travel the world to look for the best performers. Some of the audition cities include:

Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, London, Orlando, New York, Toronto, Las Vegas & Hollywood.

The 2011 Sydney stunt auditon had mainly guys & only a few girls. However in Melbourne in the previous year it was full of girls with only some guys.

It is a little intimmidating when you first walk in the audition room as there is a lot of Japanese officials dressed in business suits & there is a few Americans & some Aussies who run the audition. There is also people from the costume/wardrobe department there who measure up the succesfull candidates.

The audition consisted of lots of cardiovascular & strength work.

We stared off with some shuttle runs at maximum speed, performing a push up at each end – about 10 laps. Then it was straight into some push ups- all on feet X25. We then did some stunt rolls- shoulder rolls, dive rolls & some jumps/tricks off the mini tramp. Next was tumbling where we could perform one tumbling pass of our choice.

After the first component, most of the people auditioning were let go, with only 6 people remaining.

Next we we put into pairs.Since  i was the only girl left,  i was partnered with a guy. We then learnt a choreographed fight scene, which we had some time to practice, before performing in front of the audition panel.

After fighting came the acting where we had to learn a script with our partner & perfom for the panel. I found this part the most difficult as acting is not really my thing. I love performing but when i have to open my mouth in front of an audience is when the nerves come!

After the acting more people were let go. It was down to just 3 of us.

Next was pull ups- 15 for boys & 10 for girls. Usually i can do 8 pull ups on my own, but it must of been the adreneline or something because i managed to pump out 12 that day!

The 3 of us that were left had our photos taken & were measured up from head to toe. They like to measure us at the audition because then our costumes are already  made when we arrive in Japan.

Next was the interview process which was a little bit scary. This is where they check if we are mentally ready & mature enough to live in another county without our family or friends for 13 months. Questions that are asked are things like “What challenges or obstacles have you dealt with in the past in your workplace?”, or “Why would you like to live in Japan?”  I tried to answer the questions the best i could. The fact that i had already lived in  Japan for 8 months back in 2006 made it a little easier to understand their culture & where they were coming from with the questions.

Lastly we were told that we made it to the final consideration list. The casting team still needed to travel to America to do many more auditions. We were given paper work which had to be filled out returned to Japan & were told that we would hear sometime in November/December if we would be offerd a contract.

So thats a little bit about how the audition works.

At the moment i am in the middle of obtaining a Japanese Visa & confirming flight details.

When i get to Japan & start rehearsals i will write another post to let you know how it all going.

Laura Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Comments on Universal Studios

  • Adiva Wayne says:
    July 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Hi Laura. I’ve been interested in auditioning for USJ for several years, and I finally feel that I’ve become capable enough to possibly fill the role of Helen. Reading your audition experience, I’m definitely going to be working on those shuttle runs into push-up drills! Thank you so much for putting up an article about your experience with the process.

    However, in all my searching, I’ve found very, very little information about how it is to actually live in Japan, working for USJ, what they do and don’t provide for their cast members, etc. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind my asking a few questions about your experience?

    I’m sorry for popping out of nowhere, and I absolutely understand if you prefer not to/can’t (worked for Disney a few years ago, so I get the secrecy policies) but if you could, it’d be really appreciated. There’s just so little out there!

    Thanks either way,
    Adiva

    Reply

    • laura says:
      July 23, 2012 at 3:46 am

      Hi Adiva

      Yes i would be more than happy to help with any questions you may have.
      As far as what USJ provide for their performers, we have our accomodation provided (a small appartment in Kaigandori House), a gym membership, a push bike to get around, a cell phone and park passes for friends and family.
      On top of our monthly salary we also get a living allowance in Japanese Yen.

      Go to the below link to find out more info
      http://www.usjauditions.com.au

      Hope this helps
      Laura

      Reply

      • Adiva says:
        July 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm

        That’s really cool. I had a guy sort of yell about the salary being not very good, but I don’t think he quite got the fact that living accommodations, gym membership, cell phone, etc, were also provided.

        If I may ask, do they cast more than one girl to play Helen? I’d think that they’d cast at least two or three, in order to be safe for days off and sick days, etc. (…which also would mean I’d have more of a chance.)

        And the diving and swimming portion of Helen’s job, did you go in with diving experience, or was that something that got taught once you were cast for the show?

        Thank you so much for answering my questions. I went to the website (and even emailed the team to ask if I had a shot since, at 5’7″, I’m not really “petite” like they describe Helen), but there wasn’t a lot of more-than-vague info. I really, really appreciate being able to not go into the audition blind.

        Reply

  • Shanea Fulks says:
    August 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Hi
    My daughter (18) was just sent an email that she was put on the consideration list as a singer. She just graduated HS and is very excited about the possibility. As her mom I am concerned about the city and people and her safety. How much down time is there between shows. Will she be safely escorted to and from the apartments? Are there rules about staying together as groups? We do not know much about Japan. What is the best advice you can give based on what you have learned in your time there? Do you get travel discounts for family to come visit???

    Anything you can share would be great!
    Thanks so much!
    Shanea Fulks SLC Utah

    Reply

    • laura says:
      August 17, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Hi Shanea
      You can jump on the below website to find out more information. The website is very accurate and i am on the testimonial video!
      http://www.usjauditions.com.au
      Japan is a very safe country and everyone usually sticks together in groups. We live in appartments with lots of other performers and there is security there all night.
      We ride a bicycle to a ferry and catch the ferry to work which only takes 10 mins.
      We do not get discounts for family to travel however they are welcome to stay in our appartment with us. We are able to give them complimentary guest passes into the park.
      It is a great place to work sometimes the hours can be long but we are well compensated.
      I hope this information helps.
      Laura

      Reply

  • Justin says:
    August 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Hello. I’m an Los Angeles-based actor/stuntman who’s made an audition appointment for this weekend. Been trying to study up on Universal Japan as much as the role I signed up to audition for (Terminator).

    I’m not sure it’s the right opportunity for me. I love Japan – I’ve been there 9 times – but the thought of leaving my wife for a year is not super appealing. Perhaps continuing to audition for roles out here in Hollywood is a better idea…

    But regardless, I just wanted to say I appreciate your journal entry about the process. And I just now realized you’re the same gal who’s in the USJ testimonial video. Neat!

    Reply

    • laura says:
      August 17, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Thanks Justin
      Thank you for your comment. I would definitley recommend working at USJ. I also have a husband who i have left for 2 years in order to work here. You are allowed to have visitors for about 70 days out of the year so i would recommend for your wife to visit you some time during the year if its feasible for you both.
      There is not many “stunts” in the Terminator show. However they like you to look the part and be great at acting!
      Hope this helps.
      Laura

      Reply

  • Steven Isaac says:
    August 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Hey Laura and guys who have messaged. USJ is coming to Sydney on September 15th and I’m auditing for terminator role. I just a few questions if i was successful was it worth it? I take my dream very seriously to become an actor. Is there a lot of acting with this usj though because I still don’t know when they mean male actors and hosts, if you could just give me a brief and more understanding of how it all works and would it be a good acting experience to put on my resume and take on to my other acting endures? Thank you so much.

    Reply

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