Planning your route of travel whether it be a casting, a costume fitting or a booked job is something that I have started to do without fail. Believe me, I have learnt the hard way and when you’re are travelling with children, getting it wrong is not fun.
It may sound crazy, but actually try working it backwards for a while. Stick with me here it because it works and it might actually shock you when you try it, just how much time you need to get to where you are going. By doing this you have everything mapped out in advance, hopefully relieving you of any stress.
An example, This is just an example of a casting made up just for this explanation of how I will be calculating my journey….
Casting: Spotlight, 7 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7RJ
NOTES for my journey
This is how I may note out and plan my journey for this particular casting working it out backwards….
16:45 – Try to arrive 15 minutes early to fill in any paperwork and allow for toilet stops.
Time to walk from Nearest Station to Spotlight: 2 minutes. (allow 5 – 10 minutes as your child will enevitibly be distracted by street artists, The lego Store, Nickelodeon Store or M & M World)
Nearest Tube Station: Leicester Square Station (PICCADILLY LINE)
16:15-16:30 arrive at nearest tube
Time from Kingscross Station via Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square Station: 6 minutes (Allow 10 – 15 minutes as you will have to negotiate crowds, escelators, delays and barriers)
Main Train journey from Stevenage to Kings Cross London: Appx 28 mins
(Try to get the Direct Fast Train – Don’t make the mistake of getting on the first train that goes to London, it may be a slower train that stops EVERYWHERE)
Using my TRAINLINE APP I can see there is a Train at 15:36 from Stevenage that arrives at London Kings Cross at 16:04
Allow 15 minutes to buy tickets unless you pre buy them online and collect from the machine…
Distance from home to Stevenage Station: 23 minutes (Allow 30 as you may not be able to park)
Actual Journey Plan
- Leave home at 14:45pm
- Park at Stevenage Station
- Collect or Buy Tickets
- Get the 15:36 direct train from Stevenage Station to London Kings Cross
- 16:04 pm Arrive at London Kings Cross
- Get Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square
- 16:15-16:30 arrive at Leicester Square
- Walk to Spotlight
- Arrive at Spotlight 16:45pm!!!
What I have learnt is that it takes time and precision planning to get a child from home into London on a Casting calmly. This whole planning process may seem a little mental and a little bit obsessive but casting directors are doing a job, they don’t want people running in 15 minutes late because you have missed the train. When you sign up for your child to attend castings, you are entering a PROFESSIONAL ATMOSPHERE. It is not a joke and a laughing matter when someone rocks up ridiculously late.
DO remember your child’s age when travelling. Archie has been doing this since he was 6 and it is definitely getting easier. The younger your child is, the more likely it is that they will require toilet stops, or snacks or refreshments and that takes time. My time guide is based on knowing that I can speed up when necessary with Archie. Your child might not be so fast and you might want to factor in a little extra time for travel and refreshments.
Now Archie is 11 he is faster at running than me. He is also really good at navigating around London which really helps me, especially when I go wrong (it does happen). We have both learnt some good shortcuts around London which do make a difference at rush hour.
Have an idea of the area
Do look at Google Maps and the surrounding area of where you are going.
So many people rely on the underground, but it does go wrong.
A few weeks ago, we did have a casting at Spotlight. When we arrived at Kings Cross the WHOLE of the PICCADILLY LINE was shut.
Top Tip: If push comes to shove you can walk very easily around London. We couldn’t take the PICCADILLY LINE which meant we couldn’t go to LEICESTER SQUARE STATION or to PICCADILLY STATION. Both being the closest stations.
Did you know you can walk very quickly from COVENT GARDEN and OXFORD STREET to Spotlight?
The weather was nice so that is what we did. We went to OXFORD STREET STATION and walked down via Carnaby Street, through SOHO coming out in PICCADILLY which is right next to LEICESTER SQUARE. Even with the diversion and the walk, we still made it to the casting with time to spare. Others were not so fortunate. People were running in hot and bothered, very late because of the Tube closures.
I am not judging people, please don’t get me wrong. It has taken me a long time to get this organised and I have many many many tips to give you on Castings in the future to help.
It is really just that. Castings can come in at such short notice and being prepared to the best of your ability can only be a good thing. If you are still a little nervous coming into London, then buy a small street map (I have one in my bag as backup). They do handbag size ones that you can pull out in an emergency.
Also I would recommend buying a portible Charger for your phone. Keep it charged and in your bag. If you are using google maps on your phone to navigate around town then your battery will drain quickly.
Recommended Apps that I use all the time.
Handbag size Street Map of London
Portable Phone Charger