The Callback Checklist

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  • The Callback Checklist

    Check these items off your list before you go in for your next callback

    (by Carmichael Phillips)


    (Photo: Emma Matthews/Unsplash)

    Are you ready for your next callback? Check these items off your list before you go in for your next callback.

  • Callbacks can be very exciting to receive. But they’re even more exciting when you put yourself in the best possible position to actually book the job.

    When you go in fully prepared and fully equipped, your confidence in the room, and thus your chances to book, go way up.

    Here is my list:

    #1: Celebrate and appreciate

    First and foremost, celebrate! Don’t take for granted the fact that you got the callback in the first place. You have just received a positive affirmation from the industry that your skills, talent and look are marketable and desirable. Appreciate that, even if you don’t ultimately book the role!

    Besides, if you only appreciate paid bookings, then you don’t appreciate how difficult it is to be a working actor.

    So, appreciate every agent meeting, every audition, every callback, every avail – every indication that the industry values your talent.

    Plus, celebrating small victories keeps your optimism high enough to deal with the inevitable defeats and low-moments endemic to the #actorslife.

    #2: Do additional research

    Now that you have a callback it’s time to do some extra research about the project, even more than you did before the first audition. Your chances of booking the role have now gone up. So, too, should the amount of time and research you devote to obtaining the gig.

    So, do more research – on the show or the film or the play or the brand, the casting director, the producers – anything you can think of. Research, research, research!

  • #3: Check for changes

    There are sometimes changes between the initial read and the callback. Make sure you are prepared for these kinds of changes to the script or changes to the audition set or changes to the format of the callback.

    You can check with your agent and check the callback details for changes. Or you can simply arrive early enough to the audition location to give yourself time to adjust to any changes that might have taken place from the initial audition to the callback.


    (Photo by Glen Carstens-Peters on Unsplash)

    #4: Do the same thing

    Don’t make radical changes from your initial read to your callback. Why would you? They are bringing you back for that reason, even though they might want to see some adjustments.

    Whatever you did the first time worked. So, do it again!

    Unless otherwise instructed, you should:

    *Wear (pretty much) the same clothing

    *Make the same character choices

    *Bring the same positive attitude and professionalism

    As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

  • #5: Be prompt and professional

    While the initial audition might have been an unmitigated, disorganized mess, most callbacks are well-oiled machines. The audition times are more precise. Actors are carefully selected and matched with other actors. The format is more thoughtful and planned-out.

    Therefore: Don’t be late! Don’t have the assistant wondering around looking for you. Don’t have them matching the actor(s) you were supposed to be matched with with someone else.

    Be prompt and professional!

    #6: Have fun with it!

    A callback can be a nerve-wracking experience. You are a “finalist” after all. You are one of the special actors who were chosen from the herd. But you can’t let the pressure of the moment affect your performance.

    No matter how much you need the work, no matter how much you need the paycheck, no matter how much you might want the role, undue stress is not going to make you perform any better.

    Don’t forget to have fun with it!

    #7: Don’t look back

    Once it’s done, it’s done. Don’t look back. Don’t have unnecessary discussions about it. Don’t dwell on what you did right or what you did wrong.

    Hey, you’re an actor! You’re gonna win some roles and you’re gonna lose out on some roles, for any number of reasons!

    All you can do is lay it all on the line and walk the f@$k away!

    So that’s my list:

    1. Celebrate
    2. Research, research, research!
    3. Check for changes
    4. Keep everything the same
    5. Be prompt and professional
    6. Have fun with it
    7. Don’t look back!

    You might want to add a few items of your own to this list. Do whatever works for you, as long as it gets you to the place of preparation you need to be at to have a successful callback!


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