The Fallbacks of Callbacks


I’ve come to believe that everything worth achieving is beyond one’s capacity—or seems so at first. The thing is to persist, not back off, fight your fight, pay your dues, and carry on. Effort is all; continue and you may get there despite everything!            

Elia Kazan, director, producer, actor, screenwriter, novelist, acting teacher


 I would love to talk about the much coveted, Callback. 


  In Los Angeles, callbacks are often referred to as allbacks because it seems as if the director hasn’t narrowed down the selection at all—perhaps he even called in some new actors to see if anyone in LA hadn’t already been considered for this particular job.

It can be frustrating, but my sage advice is that you rise above it. Never show even the smallest hint of your frustration. Instead, be grateful. Have gratitude that you were selected to return; now you have a chance for some face time with the director and client. The callback is your opportunity to turn their heads and get picked for the job.

Another term for the callback is the fallback, for it is full of unexpected elements and factors completely beyond your control. The script may have changed; the concept may be completely different from your first audition. They may even have you read for another role you didn’t even know about.

 Don’t panic!

My callback credo is to always show up with the expectation that things will be different. You can jump up and down for the rare times that everything is unchanged from your first call.

Callback preparation is more internal than anything else

Get yourself in that "on top of the world space" The "I got this space"   Be like a tree in the wind that is rooted and strong but bendable and flexible to withstand anything thrown at you.

Prepare for a wait. 

Prepare for people you know or have seen on TV in the waiting room

Prepare for little to no guidance.

Prepare for ANYTHING

In other words have a way to go, know what you have in mind and be willing to drop it on a dime for another way. The best advice I can give you is have several ways to go. Don't be afraid to play around with choices, because they will throw things at you that you didn't expect.

Have a CAN DO attitude.. no excuses. Be willing to go for it 100%

My LAST BIT OF ADVICE IS repeat back what the director says to you.. If he says " try it again and this time as if you have had this happen to you a million times.. You repeat back.  sure you mean do it as if I had this happen over and over again....

Yes! he says.. Now you are collaborating and you have listened to the director and given yourself a second to process the note.

See how this works for you and let me know.. when you BOOK IT!


The Fallbacks Of Callbacks was an excerpt from I BOOKED IT , The Commercial Actors Handbook. The author, Judy Kain, opened Keep It Real Acting Studios in 2012.  She currently teaches The Business Of Acting, Advanced Callback, A-Z Commercial Class and Wednesday Workouts.