Student Blog: Accepting Rejection

Accepting rejection is easier said than done. In fact, one of the biggest hurdles actors have to face daily is learning how to cope with that tough reality.

By: Mar. 31, 2024
Student Blog: Accepting Rejection
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It’s not breaking news that life as an actor is filled with rejection. Every actor goes to hundreds of auditions and gets hundreds of no’s before finally getting a yes. But understanding that this is the case is only half the battle. Accepting rejection is easier said than done. In fact, one of the biggest hurdles actors have to face daily is learning how to cope with that tough reality. 

One of the best ways to come to terms with rejection is learning how to have a healthy relationship with auditioning. If you had a bad audition, acknowledge how you feel. Maybe your voice felt off, you couldn’t get in the moment, or you just couldn’t get a piece of the choreography. Sometimes no matter how much you prepare for an audition, things just don’t go your way. These hiccups happen. Understand that it’s just a bad day, and know that the audition you think you bombed is seldom as terrible as you feel like it was. This doesn’t just go for the days where you feel like you didn’t do your best in the room. Having a healthy relationship with auditioning is equally important when you have an extraordinary audition. If you nail an audition, that’s great! That’s a win in and of itself and should be celebrated, but you can’t get ahead of yourself and start thinking about what it would be like to get the role. You can have amazing auditions and still book none of them because of factors completely outside your control. That means that no matter how the energy felt in the room, and no matter how long you stayed in a callback, give yourself some time to pat yourself on the back for just showing up, and then forget about it. One of my mentors said that if you live in New York and you’re auditioning, give yourself a subway’s length of time to reflect on the audition, and then as soon as you’re off the train, think about the moment you’re in right now, and enjoy the rest of your day. Don’t spend your day hyperfixating on every detail of the audition.

The other aspect of accepting rejection is knowing your worth outside of performing. It can be so easy as an actor to get swept up in your identity as an entertainer. In my experience, because I spend so much time and energy on my career, it can be easy at times to forget that I am more than who I am when I’m performing. In order to get another perspective on this topic, I spoke with accomplished performer, Loeke Sakkers. She said, “Throughout my early years as a professional dancer with Cleveland Ballet, I derived my worth solely from my success as a performer. This was a losing game since art is so subjective. Since then I’ve learned that my worth as a human is not affected by what I do as an artist, and this has helped me feel so much more free and grounded when I audition, regardless of the outcome.” Attaching your worth to your career can lead to immense anxiety, particularly when you face rejection. When you let that idea go, it makes auditioning and performing joyful.

Understanding that your identity extends beyond your ability as a performer is something that every actor must figure out to have a healthy relationship with their career. Rejection is outside of your control, so focus on what is in your control. Be as prepared as possible when you enter an audition room, present yourself in whichever way makes you comfortable, love the materials you have in your book, keep training, and make the art that you want to make. At the end of the day, rejection is a big part of the life of an actor. It’s the way that we deal with it that shapes who we are. Finding joy, regardless of the outcome, will help with that process