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Saturday, January 4, 2014 in The Basics|76 comments
By: Rachel Bress and Krista Saab

A while ago, someone “complimented” me by saying how impressed they were by my “amazing ability to take rejection.” I remember cracking a half smile and saying, “Well, it’s part of my job.” I hadn’t really thought about it until that conversation, but at that moment, I realized that for performers, rejection is a very important part of our job. Many people in different fields experience rejection when applying for a new job. However, the freelance nature of our business requires us to apply for new jobs every day, many times per day! Those who learn to handle rejection are able to move past the negativity and focus their energy on improving their 

skill and technique. Those who constantly struggle with the idea of being turned down have a hard time facing auditions well enough to ever have success.

Here are a few TIPS to help you not only DEAL WITH REJECTION, but come out stronger and more confident on the other end.

1. Remember, It happens to everyone!
First and foremost, I can say confidently, it happens to everyone. Yes, everyone in the entertainment business from Academy, Tony, and Emmy Award Winners to young performers just starting out in the world of auditioning has experienced 
rejection.  It’s how people handle this inevitable disappointment that can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful career.

2. Discover what works best for you after receiving disappointing audition news.
Figure out what helps you clear your mind after disappointing audition news. Do you like to meet friends for coffee? Do you feel good when you treat yourself to a movie or go home and paint? Does it help you to talk to other performers about their experiences or is it better for you to distance yourself from conversations about the audition? Whatever works for you, have a plan for what is going to relax you and what will put you in a mindset to move forward.

3. Maintain your focus on other passions and interests.
It’s easy to obsess about booking a job when it seems like everyone around you is getting work and you’re not. We all know, however, that waiting by the phone is not going to make it ring and will only make us more frustrated in the end. It’s important to have other interests and to stay busy with other things so you’re not constantly checking the cell for missed calls and messages. If you have another job you enjoy, then you’re set! If not, then use that creative mind to find other things you’re passionate about. Maybe focus on teaching or working on your own projects? You might be neglecting another talent by only letting your mind think about auditioning. It may even be as simple as immersing yourself in your training with dance, voice, or acting lessons. The point is, you need to find other outlets for your creativity. When you are happy and fulfilled in your life outside of show business, you’ll be able to take the urgency and expectation away from auditions. Suddenly, working towards performing goals becomes a process you can enjoy rather then a cause for anxiety.

4. There is always another audition.
This one was hard for me. I often felt like, “This job is the one...If I can get this job, my career will take a new exciting path!” While there are great jobs out there that would do wonderful things for your career, there is no ONE job that will make or break your career. Keep reminding yourself of this, and it will help take the pressure off any single audition or job.

5. Everything happens for a reason.
I’ve heard it a million times. “I was so upset I didn’t get that awesome job, but because I was available I went to my cousin’s wedding and met my now husband!” Or “I was so upset that I didn’t get that job, then 2 weeks later I got a better job here in the city!” You never know what’s around the corner, so don’t waste your energy being sad about the past. Instead, focus on the future and truly believe in your heart that there is a great job out there for you.

6. Learn from your rejection to make it a less frequent occurrence.
It’s important to know that many of the times that you are cut from an audition or not cast in a role it has nothing to with your talent. Casting is a puzzle and decisions often come down to things beyond your control. Maybe you were too tall, too short, too blonde, or maybe they are looking for someone to fit perfectly into the costume of a current performer who is leaving a show. As frustrating as it is when this happens, there isn’t too much you can do about it. However, after an audition, do take a minute to think if there was a way you could’ve presented yourself differently. Could you have dressed differently or acted differently? Did you make the wrong song or acting choice? There is no need to beat yourself up if you find that you could’ve done something better, but rather, learn where your weaknesses lie and focus on improving them. Are you the best dancer in the city but can’t sing a note? If you are hoping to be on Broadway, you are going to struggle at a lot of auditions. That’s ok! Good to know! Now you can get into voice lessons and focus on improving that skill to make yourself more well rounded and therefore marketable. (HINT: Register for Virtually Vocal here!!)

7. Don’t measure your success against someone else’s.
It’s crucial to remember that we are all individuals, and we can all bring something unique to the table. We can fall into a discouraging trap when we try to understand why one person is successful and we are not. The reality is that because there are so many factors that go into casting, it would be futile to try and figure out why you didn’t book a job. The key is to focus on giving your best audition and highlighting your individual talents. You have something to offer that is unique, and when you try to emulate someone else, you miss out on our own potential.

So listen to that little voice that got you this far in the first place! Don’t let rejection keep you from achieving all that you are capable of. Find those auditions, HERE, and keep showing up.

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