Tips for Choosing the Best Mascot Performer

So you’ve just unpacked your brand new mascot costume – now what? Your next important step is choosing the best mascot performer to meet the needs of your organization. Recruiting the right performer can be challenging; they have ‘big’ shoes to fill to effectively represent your school, team or company.

Donning a mascot costume can be tough, and it’s definitely not for everyone. That person will need an amount of tolerance (to heat and enclosed spaces) and the energy or the acting chops for performing in an over-sized character suit, sometimes for extended periods of time. So don’t just assign mascot duty to your summer intern, instead take the time to recruit a professional or someone with the skills and temperament who will truly bring your mascot to life and wow your audience.

To help you find outstanding mascot talent, we’ve compiled a list of the top tips to consider when determining the perfect performer for your needs:

1. Duties and Responsibilities

What duties and responsibilities will your mascot need to tackle? Not all mascots have the same list of to-dos. Clearly outlining your needs will guide the selection process.

Some mascots have simple tasks like interacting with people, while others may need to be part of dance routines and perform stunts! Will your mascot performer have additional duties outside of performing, like booking appearances at events or featuring regularly on your social media accounts? Cross reference their skills with your list of needs to find your perfect match.

Another aspect to consider is the mascot work schedule. Will they need to perform once a day or once a week? Ensure they’re available to meet scheduling requirements, so they don’t miss important appearances.

Understanding the fundamental expectations of the role will help keep you and the mascot performer on the same page.

2. Size Specifications

Some mascots are designed with a certain size range in mind. This means the mascot performer you choose will need to fit the size specifications of the costume.

If a candidate is too tall or too short, they may not fit in the costume comfortably. You want to ensure your performer is able to see and move around easily. If the costume is ill-fitting the overall look of the mascot will have less impact (e.g. in photos), and it also will ultimately impede the performer’s ability to bring the character to life.

Be sure to include the size specifications right on the job posting to filter out candidates that simply wouldn’t fit comfortably into the role. Your mascot maker will provide guidance on the correct size range, based on character design.

3. Personality and Acting Abilities

Can your candidate put on a great show?

Obviously you’ll want to recruit someone who is a performer at heart – someone who will embody the role and effectively convey all the personality traits of your mascot character. Consider the entire potential range of your mascot’s interactions with the public; will they just be handing out flyers? Maybe you’ll need them to entertain a large crowd or walk in a parade. Perhaps the events will be geared more to children. If your mascot performer is both high-energy and intuitive, they’ll be able to meet the changing demands of the position.

To properly evaluate a mascot performer, you will need to assess their abilities in costume, in an audition. Keep in mind that some people may not immediately reveal themselves as natural performers. A person may initially appear to be shy or low-key (as many great performers are), but will truly transform once they’re in costume and in the spotlight. Try to reserve any judgements until they are fully dressed and in character. Only then you can judge how they bring the character to life.

What kinds of bodily expressions and gestures do they use?  Are they able to interact in a fun way? Can they keep up with a dance routine?

Every gesture needs to be exaggerated in a mascot costume in order to get the full effect. You’ll want to see how they bring emotion to their movements while performing in the costume.

Mascots often need to improvise and be able to adapt to different situations. Test their improv skills by giving them various scenarios and role-playing exercises to see how they would react.

Any mascot performer must stay in character throughout the entire event, and it demands being constantly engaged until they are no longer in public view. Ensure they are passionate performers and have a high level of fitness and stamina to meet the physical demands of the position.

4. Collect References

Since your mascot performer will be engaging with all kinds of audiences, it’s ideal if they have solid references from previous mascot jobs. It’s the best way to be certain the performer you choose will be up to the job. In addition, many school districts and other government bodies already have policies in place designed to screen candidates for suitability.

References can confirm if the candidate is a people-person and is adaptable to different situations and environments. An effective mascot performer is also able to read the room and interact with people of all ages.

If there are a lot of scheduling demands, then references can vouch for their reliability and that your organization can count on them to show up for events and appearances.

Always ask for a few references from candidates – it will help to increase your confidence in the person you choose.

Reach out to your local Toronto mascot design experts at Hogtown Mascots and let’s start creating your dream mascot. After we create your mascot, use these tips to find the perfect performer to bring your mascot to life.