The Producer Log #3: Tips for Actors to Handle Call Backs
“Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.”
~ Alan Rickman
This is chapter 3 of The Producer Log, a journal written by writer/director/producer Alison Kathleen Kelly as she advances on her journey producing a micro-budget feature film. You can find all the installments on the Make a Film page.
Tips for Actors to Handle Call Backs
STEP 1: CALL BACK’S
When an actor/actress receives a callback, it means that their performance in the initial audition was spot-on. The producer/director/casting director liked your choices, your look, and also they probably like your attitude! There are many things that are out of your control, but you’ve come this far, so enjoy it and be prepared!
I’d recommend that when you come back you don’t change your choices in the scene, and don’t do anything totally different, unless you are specifically told to do so.
I would recommend you wear the same, or similar outfit that you wore to your original audition. Your look can be a deciding factor, so why change it now?
I’d also suggest you remember to bring your headshot/resume – it’s another way to stick in their minds and show your professionalism.
STEP 2: WHO’S IN THE ROOM?
Don’t get thrown off if you walk into the audition room and are greeted by half a dozen people…
Who are they? And why are they in there?!
Depending on the project, there are likely to be people who are involved with the upcoming production, including directors and producers, an assistant, casting director etc.
Don’t let this scare you. They are there because they’re looking for the right actor for the job – YOU!
In our case, there were four of us in the room. Each actor came in and acknowledged everyone in the room and then we moved on. I think a couple of people were a little thrown by this but they handled it well and did their job.
“I always tell actors when they go in for an audition: Don’t be afraid to do what your instincts tell you. You may not get the part, but people will take notice.”
~ Robert DeNiro
STEP 3: OTHER ACTORS
We brought in actors we’d seen and new actors, we made them share scenes and overlap, we tried different people in different situations, so even though each actor is in competition with each other, they also worked well together, and the ones we thought worked really well together and were the most natural pairings are the ones we will pick.
I did notice that a couple of the actors who came in were chatty, at times this could distract another actor, one actor even started asking the other actor how their Christmas was – big no, no, stay focused on WHY you are there. To do a great job and nail it!
STEP 4: WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR
– We want to see you again because we think you’re the right fit for the character
– We want to see how well you would fit with the other actors and actresses
– We want to see that you can take direction
– We might ask you to do something differently this time, just to further see your range, so be open to this
STEP 5: CONCLUSION
Focus on winning over the room.
Show them that you can take direction well.
Don’t brag about it on social media, some casting people will make you sign an NDA, but really, wait until you get the job, then you can post something (carefully worded) about it, remember it might be a secret project so the producers might not want it to get out into the webiverse!
Ask for feedback.
At the end of Call Backs we spent a couple of hours discussing who we’d seen, who we liked, some people who came back were better than before, and some people who were good the first time were disappointing this time. It’s hit or miss. You never know what’s going to happen, but I do know that we have finished finding our cast and are very happy with the choices we have made.
Now we will send out our job offers and secure the actors as soon as possible and they will get their contracts, and it’s onto the next stage…
In the next Phase I will discuss contracts, setting dates, test days, equipment, finding locations etc.
Alison Kathleen Kelly is an award winning writer/director/producer from London. Alison studied directing at UCLA Extension and went on to produce several successful short films, she is now producing a horror feature film in France and preparing to direct her first feature, a gangster film set in London. You can contact Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org