We take it you’ve clicked on this post because you’ve been given the bad news, or worse, no news at all. You don’t know why you didn’t get the part, or what they were looking for, and you probably won’t until you see it on screen a year from now – but don’t be disheartened! Even if you don’t feel it right now, you’re here because deep down you’re determined to keep acting and for that you should be applauded.
It’s been said that it takes a new actor 40 auditions to book one job and a more established actor 10 auditions to one booking. That’s a 90% rejection rate!
Auditioning is such a huge part of the job, and the reality is, you will hear “no” many more times than you’ll hear yes. This is why it’s so important you learn how to process it.
We’ve got 7 tricks up our sleeve that can help you deal with, learn from and even get motivated by audition rejection.
Here they are…
1- Acknowledge how you’re feeling
Slapping on a happy face and pretending you didn’t want the gig might make you feel tougher for a minute, but trying to convince yourself and the people around you that you don’t care is probably doing more harm in the long term. It’s okay to admit to a close friend or family member that you feel disappointed, embarrassed, or hurt. Author Brene Brown says that “shame cannot survive being spoken about” so talk about your pain with a friend who’ll understand and empathise. or if talking isn’t your thing then write it down in a journal. Let yourself feel crap for a day, then promise to move forward, because nothing is gained from focusing on the negative.
2 – Be Kind To Yourself
As tempting as it is to turn up the drama and conclude that this one rejection will lead to a life of loneliness, despair and tinned beans for dinner – stop yourself! Entertaining thoughts like “I’ll never book a job”, or “I’m not good / pretty / tall enough” for the role will only keep you stuck. Pay attention to these self-defeating thoughts as they creep in and stop them in the their tracks. Instead, try one of these ways to be compassionate with yourself:
- Ask yourself, “If a friend were in my position what would I tell them?” Wouldn’t you give them credit for stepping outside their comfort zone and giving their dreams a good crack?
- Do something nice for yourself, like taking a yoga class, getting a massage or cooking a favourite meal.
- Repeat positive statements out loud to let yourself know that you are worthy and you should be here doing what you’re doing. When you tell yourself something often enough, you’ll eventually start to believe it, regardless of how true it is.
3 – Know that it isn’t personal
Being cast in a role has less to do with an actor’s audition performance and more with things like body type, height, hair colour, ethnicity and age – all factors beyond your control. On top of that there are production needs, scheduling and budget restrictions. The issue might even be that you look exactly like another actor that’s already been cast, or the casting agents ex! You may never know the reason you weren’t chosen, and no good will come from trying to figure it out. Remember, your sole job as an auditioning actor is to prepare the role to the best of your ability and let go of the results – that part’s not up to you. So let it go, and know that what’s meant for you will be yours.
4 – Get comfortable with failure
Again, such a huge part of an actor’s job is trying and being rejected, so it might be time for you to look at failure from a different angle. It’s been said that “failure is just another word for education”, meaning if you take the time to learn from your failures, they are no longer failures but lessons. Keep this in mind the next time you’re turned down and be willing to step into the ring again for the sake of learning.
5 – Ask “What could I learn from this”?
By now you should be clear that there are a lot of factors outside your control, which means you can better focus on what’s within your control. So, look back on your last audition and see what you can improve on next time. You can do this right now. Take a pen and paper. Draw a line down the middle. Being completely honest with yourself, write down on one side the things you did well in your last audition and on the other, anything you could work on. If you do this after every audition you’ll build up a little tool book you can refer to each time you come to prepare for an audition.
6 – Decide to feel good
As an actor, your ability to feel good should not be dependent on whether or not you book a job. If you let this be the case, you’ll feel bad way too often which will only lesson the chance of creating a positive outcome in your career. Feeling good and optimistic is a choice, and you can decide to feel good right now. Here are a few ways you can get there:
- Step away from acting for the rest of the day (or week) and do something you enjoy. It’s important to have a life outside of acting so that you can bring the other full and varied parts of your life to each character.
- Use your imagination to think about, visualise and feel how great booking a role would be. Do this often, as by being in this powerful headspace you’ve got a much better chance of attracting the outcome you want.
- Do some exercise. Countless studies have proven that exercise helps you to relax, increase your brainpower and even improve your self-image.
7 – Plan your next move
Once you’ve had enough time to feel the feels and move past the initial sting, start planning your next move. It’s so important to keep showing up and trying if being an actor is your goal. Try any of these things to get moving:
- Hunt for the next audition opportunity
- Enrol in a class to build a new skill
- Create a plan to train more frequently
- Try out a new look
- Read a self-improvement book
- Invest in some new headshots
- Update your showreel
- Take action on a creative project you’ve had in mind for a while
- Create your own work (this is now easier than ever to do and the experience you’ll get from this will boost your confidence. Also, it’ll feel great to have the power back in your own hands)
So there we have it. Rejection is always going to be a part of your life as an actor. The most important thing to remember is that you are not defined by it, but by how you deal with it when it comes.