Types Of Auditions

Audition is a job interview procedure during the casting process. There are many kinds of auditions: open call, first-rounds, private appointments, callbacks, cold readings, etc., which are all part of the bigger picture of casting.

Open Calls

An open call audition is an advertised time and place where actors can show up without an appointment. Open calls are great when you need a lot of extras, or you are in a town in need of community support to embrace film production. Open calls can win the hearts of the community and generate buzz, media coverage, and other benefits to your marketing plan.

Open calls are also referred to as cattle calls. The metaphor is fairly clear: herds of people standing in lines, waiting to see someone, wanting to work on your movie. Open calls don’t have to be unpleasant, but when casting your leading and supporting roles, you can easily avoid them. Reality shows love open calls because it makes for great, cheap production filler and high ratings.


A scheduled appointment is the preferred way of meeting an actor for the first time. When you are serious about reading actors for a specific role, you are ready to take the time to schedule appointments and not have people standing around waiting to see you. Be respectful of everyone’s time. An appointment audition is a meeting with an actor who is a true potential for your project.

They appear right for the role based on their headshot, resume, and reel submissions, which you have already reviewed. You like their look and want to hear them read a scene, and they have the appropriate experience for either a lead or supporting role.

When actors have scripts ahead of time for an appointment with you, it’s called a script reading. When actors have very little time to prepare or are looking at a script for the first time standing in front of you, it’s called a cold reading. Try to avoid cold readings; everyone deserves to prepare.

Another type of appointment audition includes the use of improvisation. This is a great tool in the audition process to test spontaneity and confidence. You will quickly see whether the actor takes risks and is comfortable in the spotlight. When casting comedy, ask them to bring a few jokes or something comedic. You need to know if they can deliver a punch line. For physical comedy, have them show you something in their box of tricks. Set up scenes similar to the circumstances in your story and let the actors make up the lines.

You’ll find improvisation allows some actors to relax in the work, rather than working off a script they’ve had no time to study or prepare. Try to remember some actors are terrible at improvisation and prefer to prepare scripted material. You will want to avoid dropping someone from your possibilities if they were great at script reading but terrible at improvisation.


A callback is the next step after the initial round of appointments. You may have several rounds of callbacks until your mind is made up. Actors understand callbacks are necessary and expect it to take time. It’s not unusual to audition for projects with four or more callback rounds. It’s part of the business.

At the callback, the actors will read additional scenes from the script. Once you have your lead actor, you will bring in the candidates for the supporting roles, one at a time, to read with your lead, looking for the right match. Callbacks are exciting and you will look forward to hearing the script read well by experienced actors who will bring it to life.

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