Rejected Again: Why That Makes Me Happy

An actor's life can be tough.

Photo By Danielle Barnum

Photo By Danielle Barnum

Even those not in the business know that there is a lot of rejection in an actor's life.  

What's difficult, especially when you're trying to get back into a career like I am, is telling people that you're an actor and they're like, "What are you working on?" and you don't have anything to show for it. I struggle with how much I want to share with my friends and family about the auditions I'm going on. Sometimes I'm really excited about a show that I got a call back for, and then it sucks to share that I didn't get it.


Small Victories

It's important to celebrate the successes, like that feeling of nailing it in the room or getting that callback. Heck, even a smile or "Really nice work!" from the folks behind the table can feel like a huge win!

"It will be hard to explain your first milestone to friends and family back home. They are waiting to see you on TV or the big screen. It is hard to explain how a second call back for a job you didn't land was the highlight of your month and a very valid reason to celebrate."

-Jenna Fischer, actor on "The Office"
Originally published on July 13, 2006 on Jenna Fischer’s Blog on

As a director, I don't call someone back unless I feel that actor is someone who could play that part. In the callback, it's about seeing if they're a good fit for the show with the rest of the cast--seeing how all the puzzle pieces fit. It's not personal at that point:

You are talented. You could play this part.

When I'm on the other side of the table, as an actor, getting that into my brain can be challenging.

My Recent Rejection

Back in December, I was auditioning a bunch and got called back for everything I auditioned for. Huge success! Each project was something I was really excited about the possibility of performing in. I worked hard preparing for those audition, making bold choices in the room, and presenting myself in a positive light. Then I got rejected, and rejected, and rejected, and rejected...and a really big disappointing rejection. Then finally--I got cast (more on that later)!

I realized after getting all those "thanks, but no thanks" emails, what it meant was, I was putting myself out there! I may not have gotten cast in those particular shows, but I hope I was memorable and those companies and directors will think of me for future projects.

Can you find the joy in the pursuit of acting? 
- Bonnie Gillespie, SMFA 4 Ed, Pg 40.

You have to find the joy in the pursuit and in the process. If not, all that time preparing and auditioning will feel like a waste, and you may think of yourself as unsuccessful. At least I've had those thoughts before, and I don't want to think that way anymore. 

So join me in reframing our view of this process to allow joy, curiosity, and delight in the pursuit. Then take a look at my next blog entry "Performing for a Captive Audience: Headlining the Audition Circuit."