Tips for a Successful Callback
Receiving a callback for a role is incredibly exciting. That very first callback is an important moment in an actor’s career — it’s a sign that you’re on the right path, and that producers and casting directors recognize your acting abilities. Before you pick up the phone to tell your mom that you’re a star, take a breath. A callback means that a casting director noted a specific actor as a good candidate for a role, but it doesn’t mean the actor nabbed the part. Casting directors often call a few top picks, and then narrow their choices down to the one best fit — so when you do receive a callback, you need to bring your A-game. Here are a few tips every actor should follow after receiving a callback.
1. Remain Calm
First and foremost; take a deep breath! Of course receiving a callback — especially your first one — is tremendously exhilarating, and it’s good to be excited. But do your best to contain that excitement in conversation. Casting directors need to know that you’re professional, reliable, and that you understand the business. Coming across as too excitable may cause a casting director to think you’re not mature enough to handle the challenges of the craft. Keep in mind that receiving a callback is not the same as landing a gig — it just means that the casting director liked what they saw, so it’s good for an actor to be a little guarded.
2. Be Proud and Confident
When an actor receives a callback, it means that the casting director recognized that actor’s skill and talent. Validation like that can be invigorating, and an actor should channel that positive and motivational energy into their acting. When an actor walks into a callback energized and confident, the casting director will pick up on that — and that positive attitude can help to sway their opinion. Remember: confidence and professionalism go hand-in-hand.
3. Be Flexible and Open to Suggestions
While showing confidence is key, it’s critical to also remain humble. Casting directors may provide feedback and direction, and actors should always be open to constructive criticism. In fact, you might find that simply being open to feedback is enough to sway the casting director, since it shows a high level of professionalism and commitment to the craft. Oftentimes an actor receives a callback because director liked the candidate, but wanted to see if a certain aspect of the performance can be tweaked. Being flexible can help an actor snag a sought-after role.
4. Read the Whole Script (and the Right One, Too!)
Always read the entire script, and do your best to pick up the most recent copy. Scripts (especially television scripts) often undergo multiple drafts and revisions, so reading from an out-of-date script might signal to a director that you’re out of the loop. Casting directors may ask an actor to cold-read for a role — this basically entails acting out a scene for a role that they didn’t audition for. Cold-reading is challenging in most cases, but cold-reading from a script that you haven’t completely read, in front of an entire casting team, is even worse.
5. Understand the Tone of the Show
Is the production a comedy or a drama? Is the focus on action, or romance? When auditioning for a show, an actor should have a good understanding of the show’s overall tone. When you receive a callback, brush up on your audition a bit, and check to make sure you have the right tone and approach. If you had the right tone during the first audition, stick with it — unless told otherwise — for the second audition.
6. Be Polite and Professional
Show up on time, maintain eye contact in conversation, and address everyone by name (don’t use slang phrases, like “dude” or “man”). When you arrive, double-check that the casting team has your headshots and your resume — and just in case they don’t, keep extra copies on hand. Make sure that the casting director has your contact information, as well. Being professional extends beyond the audition room as well; casting teams may check you out on social media or online platforms, so keep make sure your online persona shows you in a good light. Presenting yourself in a polite and professional fashion leaves a good impression on the casting team, shows that you can be a good team member, and will boost your chances of landing the role.
7. Move On
Even if your callback goes well, there’s a realistic chance that you might not get the role. Actors lose out on roles for hundreds of minor reasons — the casting director simply liked the look of another actor, or maybe someone else was a better fit for the overall tone of the show. A good actor will quickly move on, and keep auditioning for other opportunities. Casting directors appreciate resiliency and professionalism. And remember, casting directors usually cast for a wide range of shows and productions — an actor who doesn’t fit well for one show might be ideal for another.
When it comes to nailing a callback, actors should strive to deliver the same performance they did in the initial audition. But they should also work on being flexible, confident and above all, professional. If you can keep all of these tips in mind, there’s a fantastic chance that you’ll be able to land that big role.