Callback Audition Day: What You Need to Know

For the callback auditions, repeat the same process you did for initial auditions. You’ve already gotten experience with the first round, so callbacks should go even more smoothly. You’ll also be dealing with a smaller volume of applicants, making things easier. Make sure both your location and your team are prepared once again. Do all the checks once more: do you have the sign-in sheets, the tables and chairs, and extra pens and paper? If the location has changed, make sure all actors have a revised map of the new space and don’t accidently go back to the first location.

The difference with callbacks is that you can take more time with actors on this second round. Leading role callbacks can take up to an hour, especially if you want to test them with supporting actors. You’ll want to see how they respond to different kinds of direction, if they know how to work camera angles, and if they’re good with close-ups, among many other things. Not all actors are the same; some respond better to direct, specific instruction, and some respond better when you ask them to try something and see what happens. Learn what makes each person tick. Different actors work in different ways, so be open and respectful of their personalities. Take lots of time with them, as you need to be totally confident with your final choice. Who will you work best with?

For smaller parts, 20 to 30 minutes is standard. Again, test the actors to see how well they respond to direction, and ask them if they have anything they’d like to try. Try to give positive feedback and stay professional. Don’t ever roll your eyes, laugh at them (unless it’s a comedy!) or do anything disrespectful. If their performance leaves too much to be desired, let them know you’ve seen enough in a positive and generic way. You can let them know later on that they weren’t what you were looking for. At the audition is not the place to tell them.

You may end up going through several rounds of callbacks. This is okay. It’s your project and you need to be completely confident with the actors you choose. Actors are used to going in multiple times for callbacks, so don’t feel like you’re taking advantage of their time. It’s completely normal and just part of the process. It may take time to weed through all of the applicants, particularly if you have many people who seem suitable for a single role.

Remember, never make an offer during the audition. Review all your materials and give yourself the opportunity to make a solid decision after a few days of thought. Consult your team. You’ll have to work a lot with these actors, so think it through carefully and don’t rush.

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