A list of thoughts about actors and rejection:
1. Professionalism means a way of handling the rejection in an acting career, all along the way. Often, that requires a change in your interpretation of meaning:
Do you interpret rejection as ‘they don’t like me’ (unhealthy, fruitless, inaccurate response) -or-
It’s all in a day’s work/It’s part of the process-?-.
2. Perspective of rejection as determined by your overall expectation of your creative path, and overall perspective of your life as a creative…It’s acceptance.
3. Constantly remind, practice, and discipline yourself. In other words… a thick skin takes upkeep.
This is something that I notice many actors don’t do. Having an overall perspective that sounds healthy when it’s related to someone else can be as effective as a politician that promises ‘no more taxes’ before he gets into office.
Skip down to 5, for a sec. Sometimes, using the rejection as a teacher and tool is necessary to actively keep perspectives in check.
4. Visualize your success.
I think this is important for acting career success altogether, not only for handling rejection. One by-product is a relaxed sense of professionalism. When an actor expects to succeed, well, then they usually do. That confidence helps a lot when auditioning, and it also diminishes the sting of rejections.
It does a funny little thing with the tight demands of expectation- control. Keeps partial control over your success, while simultaneously giving up total control. Letting go enough to do great auditions.
Successful actors let rejections roll off their back. Why? Because they expect to get something ‘tomorrow’.
5. The lesson.
Each audition is an opportunity to learn what it is you need to do to be a better actor, do better auditions, better casting director interviews; be more professional, be a better artist.
6. An overall attitude of growth.
Wins and losses both are that, and are in different ways. In direct ratio to how much you wanted that part, determine to grow as strongly.
That’s a very different view than the actor who sees their career as getting that one big job, right away, to get famous. For that kind of actor who carries that perspective about their career, I wouldn’t know how to advise. I don’t know how that kind of actor survives auditions.
When an actor perceives their acting career as a long road of constant growth, as an actor, as an artist; then auditions are the growth opportunities and growth accelerators all along the way.
Rejections, therefore, are big opportunities for growth.
7. Accept that rejection can be about things you can’t improve upon or change, when that’s true. That’s using wisdom.
It’s a mature person, and working kind of actor who knows when it isn’t true, and has the discipline to make the changes and growth necessary, so as to succeed at the next audition.
Without beating yourself up. In either situation.
With the commitment, integrity, and sense of responsibility, that an professional actor can take on.
Remembering all the while that rejection in acting is to be expected, and maturely accepted.
8. Handling rejection responsibly and maturely, is essential.
Why? Because any actor who gets caught up in the undertow of rejection can’t survive the business. Sooner, or later, the actor experiences emotional burn out.
Every actor needs to shore up against acting-career-burn-out.
Each audition requires absolute readiness to get that acting job, to expect it. If an actor is carrying a sore soul from the rejection they got the day before, or a week before …then the fresh auditions will be reduced by the sore soul. As will commitment.
Sometimes, though, a little rejection can have a positive effect; like a sobering tool that lends a bit of professional detachment and makes the auditions a little better. Equalizes the importance.
But most of the time, poorly processed rejection can make the primary quality that an actor gives off a more desperate, victim-y impression. Which gets an actor into a bad cycle of more rejection as a result of not handling, well, the rejection that is part of it all.
Ditto for those actors who are in denial about not processing reject well, with psychological maturity, or as an acting professional.
When an actor can’t keep riding the waves, and gets caught up in the undertow of rejection, they feel like a loser victim of the business. That’s who they bring in to an audition: a loser victim. Loser victims don’t get acting jobs.
Professional types do. Ready-to-act types do.
It’s professional to expect a lot of rejections in the acting business.
An actor never succeeds without rejections. Lots and lots of it. It can take 100 auditions or more, before an actor gets a job.
That big job, that is, that’s meant to be. That big job has no interest in whatever rejections you’ve had before. Nor does any audition have any interest in what you didn’t get before it.
Rejections are part of the acting business, and are best when processed in a business-like way. Not taking rejection personally can be hard work. Sometimes, it takes constant ongoing work, to keep them in perspective.
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