Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Commercial Callback! (Or The Anatomy of a Disaster. You Decide.)

Callbacks are always heightened situations. You’re that much closer to getting the job and the win is palpable – fun day on set, big payday, and national exposure.

All these thoughts and more were running through my head as I drove to my Dunkin Donuts callback this morning. The thought of having my face associated with one of my most favorite brands ever was especially exciting. (Did I mention how much I love Dunkin Donuts?!)

Simply put, I wanted this. Bad. That should have been warning sign #1 for me.

I walked in to 200 S. La Brea to find a much smaller crowd of actors hovering around the sign-in sheet, which had "Callbacks – Day1" written across the top. My nerves took another leap as a line from A Chorus Line jumped into my head – "I hope I get it! How many people does he neeeed?" Warning sign #2.

The casting director gave everyone an explanation. Same deal as the first audition – standing in line holding a jar of coins – except this time we’d then be walking up one by one and dumping our imaginary coins onto the counter.

Then he gave a pre-emptive note to everyone – "Don’t act!" Not an altogether unfamiliar note in the commercial world, which is moving increasingly toward real people, real people, real people. "Seriously, don’t act," he said again. "Don’t do anything. Just stand there."

What I should have done was listened to him. Unfortunately, the instinct to do something kicked in with a vengeance. Surely he didn’t really mean just stand there, I thought. I should come up with a few actions to separate myself from the rest of the actors, right? Warning sign #3.

I walked into the room, still struggling in my head between doing nothing and doing something to stand out. When it was my turn to dump my imaginary coins onto the counter, I tried to stay natural and not act, but I couldn’t. I imagined my coin jar to be especially heavy and cumbersome, requiring a big sweep of my arm to get the coins out. Too big, I thought immediately, TOO BIG!

The callback was over before I knew it. Who knows if I pulled it back in time. I wish I’d heeded all the warning signs and taken a deep breath before going in, but alas, that’s what callbacks can do to you.

And a love of Dunkin Donuts.


  1. I know, I miss it so much! Especially the hot chocolate. And the pumpkin muffins. And the breakfast flatbread sandwiches... :)