How do you handle rejection?

Rejection. How do you handle it? Do you even think about it as rejection when you don’t hear back from your self-tapes? 

I don’t anymore, but it’s been a journey to get here. 

I think it’s typically easier to handle not hearing back when you have more opportunities to audition. If you only get a few auditions a year, you’re going to hold on so tightly to those opportunities, put so much pressure on yourself to book and when you don’t, it’s going to suck. 

But when you’re going out more regularly, say at least 4+ times a month, each audition rolls off your back a bit easier. You do the work and you can let it go.

That being said, I do know some actors who go out quite regularly and when they don’t book, it eats away at them. I’ve been there before too. I once went two years without booking. It can be HARD. Your ego takes a hit and you wonder, “Am I cut out for this? Am I good enough?” But you keep getting called back by the same offices, you get closer and you put your head down and you keep going.

A mantra I had that kept me going then was, “it is inevitable. It is inevitable. It is inevitable that if you keep going eventually you will book.”

I always envied the actors who would show up super confident in their auditions like, “this is my interpretation of the role. If you like it, great. If you don’t, whatever.” 

That has never been me. I wish. 

I’m a recovering people pleasing over-achiever who wants to get an A all the time, who wants to do things “right” and good, and get great feedback from my teacher and book the job. 

Not the best qualities to have as an actor. I’ve slowly changed, but it’s taken time. 

I remember during the height of Gossip Girl being both jealous and in awe of Leighton Meester. I totally felt like that was a role I could have played (for the record, I had no representation and no idea how to get it so I definitely was not “in the mix” lol), but I remember reading somewhere that Leighton had this confidence in herself and in her auditions and that she just left it all out there and didn’t care so much what other people thought.

I was envious. It stuck with me cause I don’t think you see as many examples of women with that kind of confidence early-on in their careers. (Sad I know, let’s not get me started on why). I knew I did not have that kind of confidence, but I will say about 15 years later, I’m getting closer, but I’m still not there. 

And part of why I’m closer to that feeling is because I don’t place so much of my value as a person in being an actor.

There are other things in my life that fill my cup, that light me up, my happiness and self-worth isn’t hinged on booking a job anymore. Thank God.

Talked to a producer friend of mine last night who is also an actor w/ over 60 guest stars to her name and she said to me, “I finally really understand that there are so many reasons why an actor doesn’t get the part.” Her friend, a former CD at a major casting office looked at her and was like, “really? I told you that!” But she said it was different for her now that she was producing. Now that she really was on the other side, she truly got it. She shared about how recently another producer told her, “We can’t cast that girl. She reminds me too much of my ex. I just literally can’t watch her on the screen.” 

She shared that she even cast an investor’s daughter in a project, which she would have scoffed at in the past, but after looking the daughter up and seeing she wasn’t just some wannabee famous kid, but an actor who was phenomenally trained & talented, she cast her!

There are so many reasons why you do and don’t get the part sometimes. It’s out of our control. 

So, how do you as Elsa would say, “let it go…”? How do you handle not hearing back from your self-tapes? Do you think of it as rejection? Would love to hear from you!

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