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3 Mistakes Actors Make at Callbacks and How to Avoid Them

By Aaron Marcus

The first thing actors need to know is exactly what a callback is. This term refers to when a director, producer, or other person involved with deciding which actor is booked for a role shows interest after watching someone’s audition and wants to see them again. So, they call the actor back for another read.

When you receive a callback, you are not booked for the job. Not even close to booking the job. You simply gave an audition that interests people and they want to see you again. So, don’t start telling anyone that you are hired or almost booked. A number of people can be called back after the initial audition. The first mistake some actors make at the callback is to look different than they did at the initial audition. You have to remember, they liked your look and thought that it was right for the character. So, look the same way you did for the initial audition. I always wear the same clothes to the callback as I did for the audition. Don’t make any drastic hair changes, use makeup to give yourself a different look, or even comb your hair differently. Give them the same look that they liked and expect to see.

The second mistake actors make at callbacks is to let their ego get in the way. Some actors like to show off during a callback. Their intention is to let those watching them know that they are so talented and have such a wide range that they decide to read their lines in a completely different way than at the initial audition. Don’t do that! They brought you back because they liked how you read the lines. They found something interesting in your audition. So, read it the same way you initially read. I understand that we are not computers and can’t simply read things the exact same way we initially read. However, you will remember things about your character, what you want your character to get out of the scene, if there are any obstacles blocking you from your character’s needs, and so on. Read again with those same concepts in mind. If they want a different read, they will let you know.

The third mistake actors make is not understanding the reason behind getting directions at the callback, which sometimes happens. It is easy for some actors to get upset or distracted when receiving an audition note. They think that the casting director or the director didn’t like their read. Keep in mind, you would not have been invited to a callback if they didn’t like your performance at the audition and think you were right for the role. The casting director and the director know much more about the storyline than you. They can share new ideas with the actor and see what he or she does with this additional information.

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Don’t take their request as a criticism. It is just the opposite. View it as someone rooting for you who wants you to be great. That is why they are spending the time to give you additional notes. Another reason for wanting to see a different read is to make sure you have the ability to make changes in your performance. It is not unusual for a director to ask an actor on set to make adjustments to their performance. Even though they might have loved how you read at the callback and believe this would be the way they will have you read during the shoot, they just want to make sure you do have the acting skills to make changes if needed.

So, just like at the audition, your goal for the callback should not be booking the job. Instead, your goal should simply be to have a good time. At the callback, you will have the opportunity to act and play. What a fun thing to do!

WATCH THE VIDEO Aaron Marcus created a quick tip video on the three mistakes actors make at callbacks – and how to avoid them.

You can watch the video and subscribe to Aaron’s free Acting and Modeling Quick Tips Channel at

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