BWW Blog: How To Handle Callbacks Like a Pro
So you've gotten the email. You've been called back for the role you really want! Sheet music and Scene sides are attached. You're halfway there! But your palms start sweating as you realize the inevitable: There are 5 or more people out there who just got the same email as you and are up for the same role. You may be asking yourself: How do I stand out? How will I know what the director wants? How should I dress? Callbacks can be a stressful, tense environment and the important part is keeping your calm, placing your focus on the work you'll be presenting, and most importantly, bringing the authentic YOU to the table!
It's always good to arrive at a callback early. As often happens at an initial audition, you never know if they may start early. Being there ahead of time allows you to check in, get settled, and look over your callback material again. Everyone handles nerves differently at callbacks. I have some friends who feel best when they can talk with other actors there and share some laughs to get rid of stress. Other friends, myself included, feel better in an isolated area where they're able to be by themselves and focus. Both are perfectly fine! At the end of the day, it's about being polite, professional, and bringing your A game. As far as dress, I always think it's good to wear your initial audition outfit because it helps the director match the outfit/color to your individual audition.
How will you know what the director wants? The real truth is: You won't know. Every director is looking for something different and if you come in and present what you think they want, it'll turn into a guessing game that you can't win. The best thing to do is to present your authentic self and your interpretation of the character. Make bold acting choices. Who knows? You might show something of the character in your callback that the director has never seen before and therefore further sparks their interest in you. And if after the initial callback, the director asks you to do it again in a different way, take their note and do your best to go for it! If you go into every callback with the mindset to show them who you are, you'll win every time, regardless of if you book the role or not. The best way to stand out is by being yourself, as cliché as it sounds!
Once the callback is finished, the waiting game is truly the most agonizing part. You wait for days; you start to overanalyze what you did with the material, compare yourself to the other people and wish you had said the end of that one line differently. It's a never ending cycle! What I've always found beneficial after a callback is to reward myself with some good comfort food, watch some TV, and remind myself that I prepared well, it's now out of my hands. Every audition and callback is a great learning experience. Callbacks can be difficult to navigate but if you did your homework, came in with positivity and professionalism, it doesn't matter whether you book the role or not. And if you do happen to book it, that's great! Learning about yourself as an actor is a lifelong journey and every time you walk into an audition room, you're helping yourself to further discover that. Good luck and most importantly, enjoy yourself!