By Aaron Marcus
The first thing actors need to know is what a callback actually 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. When that happens, they call the actor back for another read.
When you receive a callback, you are not booked for the job. You are not even close to booking the job. You simply gave an audition that interested people and they want to see you again. 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 physical changes to your look. Keep your hair the same. Don’t comb your hair differently for the callback. Don’t make any drastic makeup changes. 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. They want others to see that they are so talented and have such a wide range that they 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 that you initially read it.
I understand that we are not robots and can’t simply read things the exact same way in which we initially read them. But you will remember things about your character, what your character wants to get out of the scene, whether there are any obstacles blocking the character from fulfilling their needs, and so on.
So do the best you can at reading things the same way.
The third mistake actors make is not understanding the reason for getting directions at the callback, which sometimes happens. It is easy for some actors to get upset or distracted when receiving an audition note, and 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. The casting director and the director know much more about the storyline than you do. They can share this information with you to see what you do with this additional information.
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You are able to make some great decisions with the initial information, which might only be a page or two. But others involved in the project know a lot more. So, don’t take their notes as criticism. It is just the opposite. View them as people who are rooting for you and want you to be great. That is why they are sharing the additional information with you.
Another reason for giving you a performance note 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 the set to make slight 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 skills to make changes if needed.
So, just like at the audition, your goal for the callback should not be booking the job. Instead, set simply having a good time as your goal. At the callback, you will have the opportunity to act and play. What a fun thing to do.
Watch Aaron’s quick-tip video about 3 Mistakes Actors Make at Callbacks – and How to Avoid Them: https://youtu.be/PP5OTfG7Qmg
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ABOUT AARON MARCUS
Actor, Model, Author & Coach
Aaron has been a full-time actor for over 38 years with nearly 1,300 bookings. He had a scene with Tom Hanks (being saved at the train station) in the feature A Man Called Otto, had a week contract in the Netflix feature White Noise, was in the HBO mini-series We Own This City, and was cast in the ABC pilot Heart of Life.
He also worked on the Steve Carell feature Irresistible, the Amazon show Thespian (recurring), the Netflix show House of Cards (recurring), Gotham, Mr. Robot, Do No Harm, Law & Order: CI, and The Wire, to name a few examples.
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Aaron Marcus has written How to Become a Successful Actor and Model. This book is considered by many to be the most important book for the industry and has more than 100 five-star ratings on Amazon.
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