From Santa Hollywood

Insight into Christmas, the Holidays and the World of Santa Claus

Preparing for 2011 – The Mall or Photo Company Santa

posted by SantaTim On March - 31 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

Two weeks ago, I wrote about job searching for the Private Party Santa.  Now I would like to cover some information for those Santas searching for a Mall based position. 

For the Mall based Santas, most of the photo companies are trying to confirm all of the Santas they liked last season.  And they are also starting their search for additional Santas to replace those who are stepping down or retiring from being a mall Santa.

Now whether you have worked for a photo company or mall before, the simplest way to get started in searching for a mall position is to call on your local malls and shopping centers.   The second way is to contact all of the Photo companies.   Let me address the local Mall approach first.

Sometimes the mall needs to replace someone.  This is usually due to retirement or changes with their photo company.   Usually the Mall has the final approval on the Santa they will use for the season.  And if they can find one locally, they can save thousands of dollars. 

Normally if they depend on the photo company supplying the Santa, and if he is coming from out-of-town, the mall has to pay all transportation and lodging costs for the entire season.  This can include round trip airfare, hotel lodging for 30 to 45 days, and possibly even a rental car for the duration.

If the mall can find a suitable Santa in their own backyard they can often save those thousands of dollars and sometimes even pay the local Santa a bit more.

When planning a call on your local mall, be sure to look your best and dress as though you were going on a job interview.  (You don’t need to wear your Santa Suit for this!)  

I don’t recommend an appointment as if you call ahead you may get the cold shoulder.   Instead, plan on dropping in only to say hello and drop off your business card and a simple one page resume.  Your goal is to get an appointment for an interview.  And even if you don’t get an interview, you should leave your card and resume behind as you never know when something will change.

Say hello to the receptionist and mention to him or her that you are a ‘Professional’ Santa and were wondering if they were looking for a Santa to work this coming Christmas Season.   Usually the receptionist will not know the answer and will have to refer you to the Marketing Director or General Manager. 

Your resume should only show your work experience as a Santa, not your entire life history.  You can include info about any Santa Experience and training you have had, Santa Schools, private studies (you bought a book), etc.   If, in your previous life, you worked with children or had a position that allowed you to work with families, you can list or mention that experience also.  Even volunteer work with the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, your church or a school can show some additional insight into your character. 

If you have had a background check or carry performers insurance, list that also.  It shows you are a professional. 

Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to be interviewed or at least say hello to the Marketing Director or General Manager. 

Now, should you find that the local mall or malls already have their Santas confirmed, remember to leave your card and resume anyway. 

Your next step will now be to contact the major photo companies.  Again, they will want your resume and you will need to supply them with a photo or photos of yourself.

In most cases you can contact these companies via email and send your info along with a jpg photo of yourself.  Often they will also take phone calls.  I recommend sending your info and then waiting one day before you call. 

Somewhere in this process, they will ask for one or more photos of yourself.  This is where a great photo can make the difference.  Remember the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  If you photo is dark or too amateurish, it can hurt your chances.   Please make sure that the photo you send is exactly what you look like, right now!

Here is a list of contacts for the major photo companies:

Cherry Hill Photo Enterprises – Considered to be the largest supplier of Holiday Photos at Malls.   Dianne Plover, Director of Contract Talent. (800) 969-2440   Santa application at: http://www.cherryhillphoto.com/employment.htm

Santa Plus/ Kodak Event Imaging Solutions – Considered the second largest photo operation.  East Regional Office, Millie Favaloro, (800) 400-9008 : mildred.favaloro@kodak.com.  West Regional Office, Becky Norman, (800) 435-6996 : beckyanne.norman@kodak.com

The Noerr Program – Digital Event Imaging – Based in Colorado with operations all over the U.S.  Hosts a Santa school each July for all of their Santas.  Judy Noerr, owner. Santa application at: http://noerrprograms.com/employment/SantaApplication.html

Sepia Photos/I-P-I Photos/Worldwide Photography – Over Forty years in the Holiday Photo business working with over 200 locations in 41 states.   Jeffry S. Angelo, (800) 444-7525  ext 200:  jeff@sepianet.com

Amusematte – One of the pioneers in Green-Screen photography they operate at malls nationwide and even create CD’s with customer photos.   Mike Bordeleau: (800) 210-7698   mbordeleau@amusematte.cc

Good Luck in your job search!

©Copyright 2011, Timothy Connaghan, RealSantas.com

2 Comments

  1. This is something I would like to do, however, since we just started in Jan and am enrolled in the June Santa School should we wait until after the classes to have my cards and resume filled out? I have a Santa suit coming in about 2 weeks from Christy’s. I have a new SKYPE picture made at home this week for my facebook page. I also have insurance policy with my State Farm Ins, an umbrella policy (1M). We, Ms Claus & I, will be at the I.E. chapter meeting on the 9th of April.

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