ACTOR STORY | My First Zoom Callback 

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    My First Zoom Callback 

    Let me tell you how it all went down… 

    (The Anonymous Actor)

    (Photo: CoWomen | Unsplash)

    I just had my first virtual callback audition! Let me tell you how it all went down.

    Like many of you, I’m used to old-world acting. I’m old enough to remember a world where your agent sends you a breakdown and you prepare for your audition the night before. Then, the next day, you drive to your audition location.

  • That was the world before Covid-19. These days, we don’t drive to an audition location. We send in self-tapes. If casting directors like our self-tape, they invite us to do a virtual callback, usually over Zoom.

    I recently sent in a self-tape for a commercial, for a popular gaming company. Even though my tape was hastily thrown together, the casting director must have really seen something they liked, because they invited me to do a Zoom callback.

    I wasn’t nervous about the callback. I was nervous about the technology.

    I was ecstatic and nervous at the same time. But I wasn’t nervous about the callback. I was nervous about the technology. You see, I never use Zoom. I’m not very familiar with it. I was afraid I would screw things up.

    In the end, I don’t think I messed up too terribly. But it was a trial-by-fire introduction into our new virtual callback lives.

  • Let me give you a brief tick-tock of how it all went down:

    11am: I read over the details for my callback. My audition timeslot was 1:30pm in the afternoon

    12pm: I ate lunch

    12:45pm: Tried to remember what I wore and what I did during the first audition, so that I could do it again for my callback

    1pm: Set up my self-tape equipment, including my tripod and ring light, and I mounted my cellphone.

    1:15pm: I went to go pee, just to get that out of the way. 🙂

    1:20pm: I set up my backdrop.

    1:30pm: I signed in for the callback

    1:31pm: I began waiting for the host to bring me into the callback session

    1:45pm: Continued to wait…

    1:55pm: Finally, it was my turn!

    1:56pm: After a brief “Hello” and slating my name, the casting director told me he could hear a humming sound in the background. It was my refrigerator. I had to unplug it.

    1:58pm: Next, the CD told me to press “Start Video” on the Zoom app.

    1:59pm: I was a bit thrown off. I wasn’t prepared for the screen to go totally black when it began recording. I had to pause to make sure they could still hear and see me. I quickly regrouped and did the first read.

    2:00pm: Completed the first read. It was awful! I wasn’t in character at all. Wasn’t in the moment. Luckily, I got a second bite at the apple.

    2:02pm: My second read was better. This time I was prepared for the screen to go black. I didn’t get flustered. I got into character and did a pretty decent job with it.

    2:03pm: “Ok. We got it. Thanks,” said the casting director. My time was up.

    2:03pm: I made sure to press “Leave” on the app. I didn’t want them to accidentally record me undressing or anything. 🙂

    2:04pm: I took a deep breath. It was finally over. “I did my best. That’s all you can do,” I told myself.

  • Conclusion 

    (Photo: Markus Winkler | Unsplash)

    The Good: Not having to drive to an audition location.

    The Bad: Dealing with the pressure of a big callback while simultaneously getting used to the Zoom technology.

    All in all, I would say my first Zoom callback was definitely an interesting experience. Can’t wait for the next one!

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