Pandemic or no pandemic, virtual callbacks are quickly becoming the norm. While this may be exciting for those who don’t want to leave the comfort of their home, it comes with its own set of challenges. Chances are you may not have access to a studio and are planning to do the callback from your living room. Here are some tips to help keep things professional during a zoom callback.
1. Cover the Logistics. Read and reread any material sent to you. It’s easy to get complacent when you don’t have to go anywhere for a callback, but it is extra important to stay on top of things. Remember, casting directors now have the added hassle of organizing online callbacks. Check and double check zoom links. Have them up ahead of time. Make sure you’re reviewing and prepping sides like normal. Remember casting directors may be in different time zones, so double check that you have all the information correct. Think ahead to how you will be filming yourself: Laptop? Cell phone? Make sure you have a sturdy and reliable way to mount your device for a good angle.
2. Control the Environment. Distractions abound in your own home. Try to troubleshoot possible interruptions. Secure pets, alert family or roommates to stay clear, and make sure all devices (not just your own) are silenced. Has anyone ordered something that may arrive during the callback time? Scheduled maintenance? Try to clear the decks as much as possible. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, do your best to dampen the sound with rugs or blankets, and try to find a quiet space to film. If you have washing machines, a loud AC, or any appliance that might make a lot of noise, try to neutralize it ahead of time. It’s a lot of preparation, but it’s worth it to make sure the only thing they are focusing on is you.
3. Treat it Like a Self-Tape. Just because it’s not a self-tape, don’t skimp on presentation. Make sure you have a solid backdrop, good lighting, makeup, the works. You want your visual to be just as strong as the initial audition. Try to keep home details out of frame to eliminate distraction. Don’t forget to pay attention to eye lines and framing!
4. Plan Ahead. It can be difficult to get in the professional mindset in your living room. Do what you need to do to “tune in.” Listen to music, do a physical and vocal warmup, all the things you might do before going to a regular callback. Mentally prepare yourself for the fact that they might be running behind. If possible, have a backup plan for any technical difficulties. Put effort into giving yourself the space to have a full professional experience. You need room to focus on the work.
5. Don’t Forget Your Personality! You might not be in the room, but they still want to know who they might be working with. Do what you need to do to be relaxed and friendly, and greet them with the same warmth you would in person.
While virtual callbacks may require an adjustment, there’s no reason you can’t have fun with it. You have the home court advantage. You get to arrange and craft your own professional environment to suit you. Own your space, breathe, and have fun!