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The Callback: Something Scarier than an Audition

There’s only one thing in the world scarier than an audition. It’s the callback. Upon first learning you’re one of the chosen few it’s hard not to feel like a member of some sort of elitist cult, or the first kid picked off the field by the most popular boy in school who wants you for his softball team. Reason being is that it immediately differentiates you from the “others”.

The others are of course those poor, sad dopes who didn’t get a callback; who tortured themselves by learning their lines, sitting for hours in traffic to get to the audition, smiling politely at the casting director, and wasting a perfectly good head shot and resume only to return home to sit by the phone for the next 24 hours, hoping it will ring with the news “you have a callback!” Today that’s not me, though. Nope. Today I’m kicking it with my callback posse.

Once over the initial elation that comes as a result of feeling like I’m in a league far superior to those other actresses, a deep dark fear of bombing the callback crept in. Why? Because now I want it even more. The one bad thing about getting this close to a role is that you begin to envision yourself playing it; as if you’ve already won the role. You imagine everything – from the first read-through all the way down to winning your Oscar. It’s like writing a script without first buying the rights to the story but I can’t help it; I’m consumed by monsters and horror movies and glass-shattering screams. How will I look when I die on screen? Will I be wearing something stylish?

Horror isn’t exactly a genre I’m comfortable with. This makes me even more nervous. When I tell my TV boyfriend I think that huge smear of red on the kitchen floor isn’t spilled Cabernet or my foiled attempt at a lipstick art installation, how do I react? I mean, if this were real life I would run screaming from the house faster than you could say one, two, three. My boyfriend would be left eating the dust storm made by my high heels in the dirt. I know myself pretty well and will freely admit that if I saw a three-foot long blood stain in my own home I wouldn’t be any hero. Sorry, but even grandma’s on her own under these circumstances – survival of the fittest and what not.

It’s something that’s always bothered me about horror movies – how stupid everyone in them seem to be. They do things like see chainsaws hanging from the barn rafters dripping with blood and then call on their brother Joe or their “pa” to come and take a look. “Gee, Pa. What by golly do you think it is?” The man will scratch his head and take a step even closer to inspect it, bringing himself within inches of sudden death and then everyone’s surprised when a man in a red leotard and leather BDSM mask jumps out with a whale hook. I mean really, they couldn’t have been that surprised by the body nylon; all real psychos have one.

I know, I know, this is acting. That means I have to muster up the courage to be whatever they want me to be. As long as no-one’s ripping my shirt off and I’m not running through the woods in my Wonder Bra from the nut in the body stocking I’m resolved to do my best at the callback.

I’m going to look in the mirror before I leave today and tell myself, “I’m different than the others.” I’ll go over my lines once again, sit in traffic, smile at the casting director, hand them a glossy head-shot and then scream my little heart out until they’re satisfied. Then I’ll go home and spend the next 24 hours looking at the phone and wondering when they’re going to call to tell me, “You’ve booked the job!”

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