Auditions are tough. Self tapes are time consuming and technically challenging. Not mentioning the character preparation time and learning our sides. Plus, if you are an emotional or anxious person, dealing with a roller-coaster of emotions can sometimes affect our well-being.

Rejections after a self tape or a re-call can undermine our self esteem, confidence and our will to keep trying as actors in the acting industry.

Even actual bookings can become a heavy pencil, then a pencil and finally a rejection!

The amount of preparation time and emotional involvement that we put in our auditions and tapes and not seeing any results or even not getting any feedback make most actors consider other career paths or even quit.

In this article we have asked several actors, artists and performers from different backgrounds worldwide about how they deal with rejection after a casting and how they minimise the damage in order to learn from their previous experiences.

Alison Garner

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same…” good old Rudyard knew what he was talking about!

Commercial Portfolio at Studio (Ether Package)

I guess I’ve become somewhat of a fatalist from working in this industry, trying to look at rejection philosophically, and accept that I just wasn’t meant to get that job because lady fate had a different plan for me… not that I’m leaving it solely down to her you understand… I’m still working my ginger butt off, but she does seem to have the final say. I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and even if that’s a reactionary coping mechanism to stop me from going crazy then so be it!

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Christine Allado

Studio Headshots - Carbonite

I feel like in acting and entertainment in general, rejection must be the most common place occurrence. I might be bold and say that it is in our industry that it happens the most. And in the most brutal and insensitive of ways even.

However, I also think that our industry can provide the most life-affirming victories too. Sometimes small, sometimes truly life changing, but always always incredibly satisfying and rewarding. So for me, I am able to cope with rejection by finding the right balance. By finding the joy in small victories, like a callback or memorizing your script in record time, or getting your lighting just right for that perfect self tape. And then soaking it in when those very rare big victories do come. And then you’re fully aware of how much sweeter the victory is because of all the hard work behind it. And by remembering that every stumble, every hiccup, every missed step only gives me the strength to get up and keep fighting towards that destination while enjoying the ride.

It takes a lot of personal courage to do what we do, a lot of faith and trust and blind hope sometimes. So I just harness that as much as I can when times are not the brightest. And look forward to when the stars will smile on me again.

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Paolo Montalban

Studio Refresher Headshots - Adamantium
Studio Refresher Headshots – Adamantium

Getting cast in a role is a small miracle in of itself. There are too many factors that go into whoever gets the part in the end. I come to terms with this the same way I do with anything that I’m not fully in control of. I think of the proverb “There but for the grace of God go I”.

I put my faith in God and the universe putting me in the direction I need to be focusing my attention and energy.

And whatever rejection or disappointment comes my way, I put it in God’s hands because they are big enough to hold it.

Sara Alves

Sara Margarida Alves
Sara Margarida Alves

I apply for several jobs. Some I am very excited to get the job, others not so much. I think the key is to not build high expectations. Once you apply, you continue the hunt for jobs and if you are lucky to receive a message, you will be filled with joy, if not, you will not even remember it. I think the more rejections you take the more you know it is not personal. It comes down not only to your acting skills, but also the appearance and how good you fit in the character a director envision. That part you don’t have the full control of it, so it is better to let it go.

You can always improve what you can, but there is so much you can do.

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Marianne Buck

I usually just brush it off, I get disappointed but I tell myself that I worked hard, and if there was no rejection it wouldn’t be exciting waiting to hear results!

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Sephora Mars

Commercial Portfolio - Cinematic Shoot (Mithril Package)

Dealing with rejection is something that you have to do almost on daily basis, and as overwhelming as it sounds, it is also a nourishing emotion helping you grow.We easily forget that what we want is not always what we need. We do an audition and we really hold on to the hopes of getting that part, because we really want that job, we know we worked really hard, we spend hours of training, classes, reading books, practicing on our free time… However, we weren’t selected. Another bittersweet email wishing us the best of luck on our career. You probably heard it, or read it thousands of times, but it is true, the reason why you were rejected is not personal, is not because you are not enough, it is not because of all the self-destructive reasons you build up in your head to explain why, why it is happening again.

How do I deal with rejection? I remind myself that there are things which are not meant to be, that what matters is to keep working hard, and the most important thing: to enjoy the adventure, because the more we get lost overthinking the future, the more we lose touch with the present, the ‘here and now’ that we actually need to keep on growing, and to transform the rejection we received into a powerful tool to make our way to the top.

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Arun Kapur

In order to deal with rejection, you must accept how real it is. It is all part of the journey we take, it is merely another stepping stone. Take the rejection as it comes, absorb it in and use that energy to create more potential for yourself. Stress can bring you down and ruin you, but you can take it for the kill and make you grow.

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JIM W-ski

Take rejection like a learning tool. Stive ahead and learn from the past. God has a reason for Everything that goes on. A time n purpose for Everything.

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Scott Brent

I would say well to be expected but it’s hearing u didn’t get the part is depressing, specially if the part is exactly what u been looking for.

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Camilla Bates

When I first graduated drama school I use to be really affected by auditions and could feel myself shrinking in confidence.

I actually found that by finding other interests and passions in my life outside of performing helped. So for me this was working with Autistic children and qualifying as a personal trainer.

Having these other responsibilities in my life kept me grounded and I saw the industry in a different way and now when I book work I see it as a huge privilege. I can separate myself from an audition. A rejection is just something that isn’t meant for me. I did have to learn this the hard way when I lost a tv job I really wanted but it taught me strength and resilience is key and continuing is worth it if you truly believe in yourself. I am currently touring with Mamma Mia the musical around Germany, Austria and Switzerland and I am very grateful. Rejection will always be rejection but it’s keep that sense of self that will be key to your survival.

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Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole – singer, scriptwriter, stand up comedian. I usually deal with the possibility of rejection with 3 different things (sometimes just one is needed, sometimes all!):

Firstly, when I know I have an audition, I plan other things around it to make a day of it; go costume shopping in that same town, or look for a singing or stand up booking that same night, or sit in a nice place nearby writing for a while, like a beach or an old church. That way the whole day is not just about the audition, and if it goes wrong then it’s not a whole day wasted or ruined.

Secondly, I need to keep reminding myself that sometimes an audition isn’t about who was “best”, but about who was most fit for the role; maybe they went away thinking I was brilliant at something, but just not the something they were looking for. Maybe they’ll remember me for another role somewhere down the line.

Thirdly, I will often write what I call “response material”: if I’m a bit cut up about a role I really wanted, but at least they were kind and polite about it, I will sometimes go away and write a short play for myself and others, on a similar theme, so I do get to play the role after all, in some fashion. But if they were rude and stuck up about it, and I go away thinking they would have been horrible to work with anyway, I can come up with a stand up sketch to poke some fun at them for it.

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Mia Scozzafave

Mia Scozzafave is a brazilian actress who moved to the USA in 2011. She has a bachelors degree in Journalism and worked as a TV Host for 8 years back in Brazil. Right now living in Los Angeles, Mia is fully committed with her acting career and currently working in 7 different movie projects.

Even tough all aspects of being an actor can be tough on people, I guess auditions are, most of the time, one of the hardest subject for actors. The waiting room, the comparison with fellow actors, the emotional availability you have to feel inside the room with “strangers”, the memorization of lines, the fear of a “blank”, are altogether a sensitive spot to all of us. And why?
The fear of rejection.

Mia Scozzafave
Mia Scozzafave

Of course, every actor will have to find a way to deal with this, after all we are more “rejected” than accepted in this business. So if you want to last long fighting for this career, you will have to figure it out how to deal with this.

In my case, I found myself dealing with rejection at a really young age. Being a journalist host on TV and having people judging you, talking about you (not only good things about you) all the time, made me create a thicker skin and most of the time I just see as “part of being a public person”.

I realize casting directors can be looking for specifics that it won’t be me. It’s not personal, it’s not because I’m a bad actress, or because my nose is too big or my accent is too thick (really, these are only our own insecurities, not everyone else).
It just because they are looking for something that is not me. So, I keep working on my passion, trying to be in every single audition better than the last one, feel more available, less insecure, ready to “expose” part of myself that is needed for that character. If I don’t book the job I don’t thing too much of it, I just move to the next one and try all over again, but better. Until that audition that you book the job and you realize you are on the right track, You are being a better version of yourself already and that’s beautiful.

You realize is not about the end point, but about the journey that is taking you there.

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Anastasia Deloret

French actor and voice-over artist based in London working on films (Stan and Ollie, Hurricane, Yardie, R.A.T.P). Also a former dancer and musician.

Even though I have been pretty lucky so far, I’d say that the main thing I keep in mind is not to take it personally, because it is not. There is just so many things that come in line when it is about to cast or to be cast and it is not the actor’s doing that changes anything. I just go there as if it is a 1 shot performance and try to enjoy it as much as I can. Then I go home and carry on with my life. As I don’t expect anything I’m not disappointed if nobody calls me back, but when it happens I just feel even more surprised and happy.

If I feel like I fucked up somewhere then I work on what the problem was, if I wasn’t prepared enough, or if I let myself stress out or even compare myself to others, which is an easy trap to fall in.
It might sound cliché, but I am focusing on the moment and enjoying the journey instead of obsessing over a goal that may end up being different from what I want.

Always remember: you are one audition closer to getting the part.

How do you cope with rejection? Please leave a comment in the comments section below.

 

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Hoping this article will help performers to gain confidence and minimise stress and anxiety with auditioning.