There is a saying in life that there are only 2 things in life that are certain: death and taxes. Well, in the entertainment industry, there is only one thing that is certain: rejection. I am positive that there has never been anyone in entertainment who has never dealt with rejection. It does not matter whether it was in music, commercials, film/television, or even print advertisements.
In my years of advising people on how to get into the entertainment business, that is one topic that I talk about thoroughly, because I tell them that if you cannot handle rejection, your career could be over before it even gets started.
First I will go into rejection in more detail, and then I will pass along some tips on how to not only deal with it, but possibly turn a negative into a positive situation.
Webster's dictionary defines rejection as: "to refuse to accept, consider, use or submit to."
For our purpose, it would mean refuse to use for a particular project in entertainment. Rejection is what makes the audition process so difficult.
Have you ever gone to an audition thinking that you got the job, only to find out after the 4th callback that you did not get it? This type of thing is very frustrating and if you can't handle the rejection, can test you to the point where you may not want to continue the pursuit of a dream you may have had since you were young.
This can be especially true if this has happened to you fifty or even one hundred times. I have said it so many times, but let me say it once more.
You May Want To Avoid The Entertainment Industry
As An Occupation.
The thing you have to understand is that rejection happens to EVERYONE in the industry, from the least experienced beginner to the biggest stars in Hollywood. For the first timer, rejection is that you did not get that part in your first commercial audition. For the Hollywood star, it was that they were deemed not right for that part in Steven Spielberg's newest film. You must understand that rejection is just a part of doing business in entertainment. It WILL be a big part of your career.
In sports, we talk about statistics. For example, in baseball, if you have a long enough career, you will be an all time great player if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter. Those batters who average three hundred, which is the standard of excellence, it means you got a hit three times for every ten times at bat. That means you succeeded 30% and failed 70% of the time.
This would be a pipe dream for a new actor. The fact is that most actors get rejected many times before they get their first job. An experienced actor will have an easier time, and could approach a 30% success rate.
These numbers are only hypothetical, but I do know actors who get lots of work, but they still get lots of rejection. Then again, I also know actors who got the job on their first audition. For this to happen, every thing must fall right into place for them. Perhaps they had the right look or kicked butt at their audition and made a huge impression on the producer.
Mr. Saturday Night:
There was a film made in 1992 called "Mr. Saturday Night" starring Billy Crystal which illustrates rejection very well. It's the story of a legendary comedian named Buddy Young, who was a household name, but is now older and trying to hold on to a career that is pretty much over when a top director who saw and loved Young when he was a kid, finds out that he is still alive and can still make people laugh.
He decides to do a film about Young's life story. Young is so happy and works hard in preparation for the film, when at the last moment, the director decides to use Young in a supporting role and use Walter Matthau to play Young's character. Young is devastated. If you can find this film in a video store, I highly recommend it.
Tips For Dealing With Rejection
You must make sure that you have a positive attitude and stay away from negative people who drag you down and make you feel that you are not worthy. This means that you have to be nice and friendly, especially to your fellow actors. They are in the same boat as you are. You need to be supportive of each other.
Don't Take It Personally:
NEVER take things personally. You must learn to be "thick-skinned" and not think that the casting director has something against you. You have to go into the audition with a positive attitude. If you have a negative attitude, you will program yourself for failure.
You have to make sure that you are as prepared for the audition as you possibly can. If you are not properly prepared, then rejection is what will happen.
Don't Lose The Lesson:
To use another life lesson expression, if you do an audition and you lose out on the part, make sure that you don't lose the lesson. If you fail at something, make sure you learn from the experience. What did you do wrong? Did you do something wrong or was your failure caused by something that is out of your control?
Appreciate The Experience:
I suggest that when rejection occurs, think about the fact that you are fortunate to be in an industry that you love, and that now you are more experienced than you were before you did the audition. Technically, you have done one more audition, and are a little more experienced and that you will do better the next time.
A Lesson To Learn
Let me tell you a story of something that happened several years ago, to people from the fitness industry. A well known bodybuilder had a meeting with an agent and a legendary film producer.
The bodybuilder did a stupid thing and did not show up for the meeting. The agent called me and told me what happened. He knew I would speak to this bodybuilder to find out what happened, but he then asked me to recommend another bodybuilder/actor. I gave his phone number to two other people.
The bodybuilder who did not show up left a 5 minute apologetic message for the agent, who agreed to meet with him (this time without the legendary producer). He did not show up again.
What happened was that he found out that the person I recommended was meeting with the producer, and he thought that my recommended person would get the part, so he did not even try to meet with the producer or the agent.
The epilogue is that the person I recommended got the part, and actually signed a 3 film deal, and the person who did not show up has burned a bridge with both the agent and the producer. The bottom line is that the no-show could have turned a potential negative into a positive by impressing the agent and producer and getting a supporting role.
Now for the lesson of this story. Just like in the case of Buddy Young in the film, you may not get the major part that you auditioned for. However, if the producer likes you and thinks you have talent, you may end up getting a supporting role that is outstanding and it might earn you an Academy Award.
It may sound far-fetched, but it can happen. Look at the Academy Awards in 2007. Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award in her first film!!! It happened to her and it can happen to you.