More VO Vocab: Callbacks

I’ve explained auditions and bookings, today we’ll talk about callbacks.  When I audition, sometimes I audition with the client’s script, sometimes I audition with a generic script that gives the client a feel for my sound.  Clients can hear literally hundreds of voices in a single audition.  A callback occurs when I’ve gone on the initial audition, and the client would like to hear me again.  Maybe they narrowed it down to three and they’d like to hear all three actors again before making their decision.  Maybe they used a generic script and would like to hear the actor voice their specific script.  Maybe the client is just having a hard time making a decision and would like to audition the actor a second time.  Or a third time.  Or more.  Callbacks can go on for a while, depending on the job.

Callbacks can be both exciting and heartbreaking.  Most of the time, when I don’t get a job, I just never hear from the client again.  That’s the nature of the biz.  Unless I contact the client and ask for direct feedback, I may never know why I didn’t get a job.  And it’s not always kosher to ask; it depends on the client.  To never hear feedback may sound callous, but remember, we’re talking about hundreds of auditions.  It would be pretty time-consuming to contact each person and let them know they didn’t get the job, or why.  Callbacks are exciting because when I get one, it’s direct, positive feedback.  The client liked me enough to at least ask me to audition again.  Sometimes I get more direction with the callback, e.g. We liked what you did, but could you make your voice sound younger/older/sexier/more professional, etc., etc.  Sometimes I get no feedback, the client just wants to hear me voice the exact same script again.  Then I have to ask myself, do I voice it the same way as the first time to show my consistency?  I mean hey, they liked it before, right?  Or do I try to interpret the script a little differently this time to show my range and flexibility?  What if they don’t like my new interpretation?  Could it lose me the job?  These are the kinds of decisions I have to make.  Callbacks can be heartbreaking because it’s still not a booking.  Even after multiple callbacks, the client could hire another actor.  All that work and no gig.

Still, it’s important to me to make each audition and callback count.  Not only with the voicework I’m doing, but with the opportunity each callback offers to meet again with the director/producer/client of the project.  Even if I don’t get the job I’m currently auditioning for, maybe they’ll like me and think of me for another project down the line.  I try to remain professional, positive and hopeful throughout the entire process.

Another (sometimes frustrating) side to callbacks is that they can take a long time.  In my last post a month ago, I mentioned I was waiting to hear back from a client.  I’m happy to report that I’m booked on Monday for the next phase of the audition process!  I don’t think I’m officially hired yet, but this is a step in the right direction.  Keep your fingers crossed for me and I’ll keep you posted on my progress.


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