The fear of rejection is one of our deepest human fears.
Biologically wired with a longing to belong, we fear being seen in a critical way. We’re anxious about the prospect of being cut off, demeaned, or isolated. We fear being alone. We dread change.
Once upon a time we as humans all travelled in tribes. Our tribe was our entire existence. We did not know what lay outside our tribe. If for whatever reason we were ostracised by someone within our tribe then the whole tribe could well reject us as well.
It’s for this reason that fear of rejection as a human being is built into our DNA. It’s part of our survival instinct.
Our bodies tells us to avoid rejection at all cost.
We all strive for acceptance. Acceptance by our peers. Our audience. Casting Directors and Directors.
Remember – Going to an audition is not going to kill you. I understand that it hurts to be rejected, but if our worst fear comes to fruition (“Oh No! I didn’t get the part!”) you know you can move on having learned from it.
THIS IS A BUSINESS
The best way of overcoming rejection is to understand and KNOW that acting is a business.
More than 9 times out of 10, you did not get the role because you screwed up the lines, the character etc. Most of the time it is because they are looking for a character that is different to the one you have given them.
Maybe you are London based when they now need you to be LA based. Maybe they have just cast your child who is blonde and blue eyed whereas you bare no resemblance.
There are so many reasons beyond your control. Accept that this is a business not a test of your talent.
GET A STRATEGY
One thing you don’t want to do is sit and think of all the things you should have done, or the things you didn’t do or the mistakes you made in your audition or…. Or….
So organise something to take your mind off things immediately after the audition. Visit a friend, organise a meeting, go to the gym etc…
THROW YOUR SCRIPT AWAY
When you’ve executed your audition, be sure to not look at that script again (unless of course you have a call back). When you have heard that you did not get the role – either toss it, shred it or even give it a sacrificial burning if you like. Just don’t be tempted to go back and relive that feeling of rejection. Get it out of your life and forget about it.
I heard a farmer the other day speaking of the drought that is ravaging Australia’s Northern NSW who said “Every day is a day closer to getting rain!”
This is how you must feel. Every audition is one closer to you getting the gig.
It’s not very often you hear of an actor straight out of drama school who went straight into that lead role that launched their career!
Think of your next audition as just another piece in the puzzle which is getting you that much closer to solving the puzzle. Your next audition is another piece toward the whole.
And when you walk into that audition space – don’t forget your positive energy. Negative vibes are worn like a mask over your face. It permeates the room; as does a positive “I can get this” attitude!
LEARN FROM THE REJECTION
Once you have come to terms with your lack of success in your last audition, be sure to get back on the horse.
What can you learn from it?
Contact your agent and work out a strategy. Do you need new headshots? What workshops can you do? Do you have a good library of self tapes at the ready? How can you create your own work?
Know that rejection is all part of the business and that the most successful actors in the world have gone for years of rejection until finally they were given that magic opportunity which gave them the break. This too can happen to you, but the most important thing I want you to remember, is that all good things take time. Be patient!
There are many other people in exactly your position.
And last but not least…..take a deep breath and get over yourself. Remember, many rejections have nothing to do with you!
That said, a big part of rejection is taking responsibility for your mistakes in the moment. If you walk out of every meeting and make excuses for everything that went wrong, you won’t learn anything.
Mistakes are a part of being human. They are part of who we are and are integral to our learning process. Without spending too much time in dwelling on what you could have/ should have done – was there anything you can take out of this experience and learn from it?
It’s of little wonder that actors become despondent having had so much rejection.
Next time you’re in that audition space be brave. Show your fearlessness! Fortune favours the bold!