The Actor’s Guide to Callback Auditions

You’ve received the email from your agent. Casting liked what you did and wants to see you again. First of all, congratulations! Now what? Not to worry, here’s a few tricks to help your second audition go just as well as the first.

  1. Memorize the script.

It’s a callback after all. You’ve had plenty of time with this material so there’s no excuse not to have it prepared to the best of your ability. Know what every word means and how to pronounce them. If you’re unsure about something in the script something, ask the casting director to clarify. 

During your audition, if you do mess up or lose a line, don’t panic. Gather yourself and use it in your scene without breaking character, you’ll likely get another shot. Even though they want you to know the script, acting isn’t a memory test. They’re more interested in the quality of your performance than getting the words letter perfect. And it’s hard to get a sense of your performance if you’re still reading lines off a page. 

  

  1. Don’t stray too far from your original performance.

They liked something about that first audition. That’s why you got called back. If they’d like to see something different, he or she will let you know. If they don’t have any notes off the top, do it exactly how you did it before. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. 

  

  1. Look the same.

Not only should your performance be the same, but the way you look should be as well. After all, it’s part of the reason you were called back in. Something about you on that day brought the character they see in their mind to life. Wear EXACTLY what you wore in the original audition. Same goes for hair and makeup — wear it the same way.  

  

  1. Listen to direction. 

They will let you know if they’d like you to try the scene in a certain way in the room. Take the direction in and apply it to the best of your ability. They understand that you’re nervous and that it’s hard to listen when that adrenaline takes over, but the ones that can do it stand out from the pack. 

No one wants to work with someone who can’t take direction. Time is money on a set and they need to know that you can listen and make those adjustments BEFORE an incredibly expensive crew is standing around waiting for you to do your thing. 

  

  1. Less is more.

It’s a common mistake that actors go too big with their first read. Show them how you’d act in your close-up. Don’t move around too much or distract from your performance with large gestures. Save the big stuff for your next theatre audition. Don’t worry about being too small, trust yourself and draw them in with the simplicity of your performance; it’s all about knowing how to act for the camera. 

  

  1. Don’t talk too much.

Be polite and friendly, but don’t treat everyone in the room as though you’re old friends looking to catch up. They have a lot of people to see and a schedule to keep on top of, so don’t start making jokes as soon as you walk in and eat into your performance time. They want to find “the guy” or “the woman” who is right for the role, not a new best friend.  

  

  1. Be ready for anything.

It’s quite common during callback sessions that casting will take this opportunity to see how you’d fit in other roles for the project. The more they see of an actor, the more they can start to picture them playing other characters. That’s a good thing — it means they may not think you are right for the original role, but they like you enough that they want to see if they can find a spot for you. 

If this happens don’t freak out! Ask for some time to go out and get familiar with the new script. Do your text analysis and learn the lines as much as you can in the time you have. Don’t come back in until you feel ready to do it well. 

  

  1. Be Awesome.

We hear it all the time, but it doesn’t make it less true: everybody in that room really wants to see you nail it. They are rooting for you. They’ve been in that room a lot longer than you have, waiting for someone to come in and blow them away. Their job doesn’t end until they find someone who is right for that role. You could be the one they’ve been waiting for who let’s them go home and get some sleep. 

  

  1. The rest is out of your control.

There are a million factors that go into casting decisions. They may have somebody else in another spot that is already your type, or you may be just a little too young or too old, or too short or too tall, or any number of things. Everybody in the room may want to cast you…but the network may need them to go with somebody else. It’s a crazy process and we’ll never be able to know all the ins and outs of that final decision. All you can control is your prep and your delivery on the day. From there it’s out of your hands. 

If you’re having trouble letting it go, check out our previous blog on Post-Audition Self Care for some helpful tips. 

Break a leg!