We here it more often than the other word “yes.” They say it takes 100 “no’s” before you here your first big “yes,” but handling rejection is a lot harder than it sounds. I have had to learn how to appropriately handle hearing the phrase “no” throughout my life as an actor as I knew I was going to hear it more often than not. But I also wanted to learn how to handle it when I’m not in an audition type scenario.
In my lifetime I have struggled to express my voice in a classroom or in social settings. It was hard and continues to be hard for me to handle my emotions when something is not going well or isn’t shaping up to my expectations. Being on the mild spectrum for Aspergers, it can be difficult for me to control my emotions both positive and negative. I have to remind myself that in certain situations to stay in control and that people around me, peers and colleagues might not be able to understand what is going on in my head. There is a time and place to discuss my personal emotions, but other than my parents or therapist, these situations are not the most appropriate settings. I also have high expectations of myself that realistically might not be achievable and then I must get out of fantasy land and like Eminem once said “snap back to reality.”
Like just recently, I was sent a rejection email from a theatre company I auditioned for. And over the summer, I was sent a rejection letter from another company/agency. I do not go into anything ever “expecting something” but these were two auditions that I felt very content with when walking out of the room. That is how the business works, you can feel amazing about an audition, but you might not be what they’re looking for at this time or for that particular role. A majority of my email/mailbox consists of thank you letters and rejections. You may be asking “why do you keep all those rejection emails and letters?” Well the answer is simple. Motivation.
We all need a little wake up call here and there to give us that push that we may have been lacking. So when I do hear that word, it only pushes me to go to the next audition/opportunity and want the job even more. Patience is key in this career path and I personally feel that us actors hear “no” more than the average working person and trust me, it can still hurt.
The main thing that I remind myself is that there is plenty of opportunities. Chicago is the right place for an actor right now because of so many possibilities popping up like popcorn. The thank you letters are also good motivators as well. Reading comments from friends and colleagues that I have worked with in the past not only brightens my day, but it can really make a difference when dealing with depression, rejection, or just a really crappy day. The genuineness of others can go a long way I am forever grateful to have such positivity in my life. So to anyone out there who hears the word “no” a lot, there is a “yes” to be found, you just have to go find it and fight for it. Know that there are people rooting for you and want you to succeed. Just like casting directors, they WANT you! Now get back out there and make those heads turn!