How To Deal With Rejection & Stay Motivated
Constant rejection is the name of the game in this industry. And the worst part is, we’re rarely if ever told why we didn’t book a gig. There have been times when I’ve had a wonderful audition, the casting director asks me questions and seems genuinely interested about who I am, where I’ve trained and my availability. 2 weeks later, I’m still waiting on the phone to ring when I see a colleague posted on their Facebook page they’ve booked the job I thought I had for sure.
Cue devastation. Your mind opens up and all your insecurities come swimming into the foreground: “Maybe if you were more skinny you would’ve booked the role.” “Maybe you shouldn’t have said that thing that made you look awkward.” “Maybe you’re just a bad actor.” When, in truth, none of these statements are true. The truth is either you weren’t good for the part, somebody else had a better audition, or the director/casting agent knows the actor and they have an in.
In order to keep pushing forward and succeeding as an actor or model, you have to be able to deal with the pain that comes with constant rejection and persevere … and here’s what to keep in mind after every rejection.
If you aren’t right for the role, you don’t want it anyway.
Can you imagine being cast for a role then showing up to set and NOT being what the client, director, etc wants? They’re going to be unhappy and you’re going to feel it, even if your performance is stellar. Remind yourself that if you didn’t book a job, it could be because you aren’t right for the part. Recently I auditioned for a tech industrial. The casting director is a friend of mine and he sent me a text a week or so after the audition letting me know I didn’t book the part but I was in the top 2. When I asked if there was any particular reason I didn’t book it but the other actor did he stated: “Truthfully, it was between you and an asian woman. The client was trying to decide if they wanted a white girl or somebody who wasn’t white and they decided the latter.”
There’s nothing I can do about the color of my skin/ethnicity. It sucks, obviously, but I let it go and move on. It had nothing to do with my performance and the fact I was in the top 2 let’s me know I had the right inclinations, they enjoyed my work, and I’ll likely be called in again by the same casting agency.
Walk in with confidence, audition with talent, and walk out with somewhere to be.
Bryan Cranston said, “18 years ago I was going into auditions trying to get a job. And that simply wasn’t what I’m supposed to be doing. An actor is supposed to create an interesting and compelling character that serves the text. You present it in [your audition] and you walk away … and that’s it. Everything else is out of your control. You’re not going there to get a job, you’re going there to present what you do. You act. And there it is, walk away. And there’s power in that; there’s confidence in that.” (The whole interview can be seen here: https://youtu.be/v1WiCGq-PcY)
This is my ABSOLUTE favorite quote about auditions; you aren’t going to an audition to get a job, you’re going there to present what you do in a compelling fashion that serves the text, then you walk out of the room with somewhere else to go. That’s your job. If the casting agent/client/director senses your desperation to book the job, they aren’t going to want to give it to you. But if you go in there, drop BOMBS, then leave like you have other stuff to do, they will remember you. Don’t get caught up on booking the job – that is totally out of your control. Go into the audition room and do what you do: act.
If it’s out of your control, let it go …. or get a coach.
If you are booking here and there, then you obviously are doing the right things in the audition room. If you aren’t booking at all, perhaps there is something going on when you audition that you need to identify and work through. If that’s the case, I absolutely recommend getting a coach or taking an audition class. They can assess your ability and determine if you’re doing something to bauch yourself and your audition.
Always remember that casting is COMPLETELY out of your control. The only control you have is your performance and your preparation. If you do both well, walk out of the audition room with confidence knowing you did your job as an actor, and you did it well. You’re not going to be right for every part, you’re not always going to have the best audition. Just remember why you started this work in the first place – not to book a job, but to be a great actor.