Casting: Deciding Who Gets Picked and Organizing Callbacks

The days following your first auditions will be spent reviewing your notes and the audition tapes. Take your time going through all of your materials. You should have taken notes about each actor during the audition, so review them to remember what your gut instincts were. After reviewing and comparing tapes, it’s possible that your feelings have changed. However, your initial impressions are very important, so don’t forget them.

This process of review could take as little as week (if you already have a good idea of who you want) or a few weeks (if there are many contenders). After you’ve been through everything, divide the actors into three piles. One pile will be for definite callbacks. These are the people you have no hesitations about and whom you can clearly see playing the role. Another pile is for rejections. These are the actors who are unsuitable for any role. The last pile should be for maybes. These are the people you are unsure about, and want to have a second look at. With the confidence provided by getting a callback, sometimes someone in the maybe pile can seem wholly different the second time around.

Send emails out to all of those in the rejection pile, and keep it classy and professional. Thank them for taking the time to come in, but let them know that you can’t offer them a callback at this time. They might be a great actor, but they’re just not what you’re looking for right now, so let them know politely. You never know—they could be perfect for a role in the future. Even if they don’t get a role in your production this time, if they have a good experience with you, they may audition again for another role they’d be perfect for. Keep these people in mind and their resumes on file.

For the people who are definite callbacks, give them a proper phone call. If you get a voicemail, keep the message short and save the details for the actual conversation. If you don’t want to receive a slew of voicemails, ask them politely to call you back at a later time instead of leaving a voicemail, should the occasion arise. When you do speak to them, schedule their callback and ask them if they have any questions. Good communication between actors and directors is crucial, so if they have questions they should feel free to ask. Let them know this.

For your maybe pile, you can contact them through email or by phone. This list is for people you can see in the role but not as clearly as those in the definite pile. Seeing them again in callbacks may make things clearer, and as mentioned before, sometimes people can surprise you on their second chance. You don’t need to let them know they’re in the maybe pile instead of the definite pile. Just tell them you’d like to see more.

Once all of these emails and phone calls are taken care of, you can begin planning your callback session.

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