Handling Rejection...

Jennifer Butler

  • Massachusetts Columnist

We all have that one show that we have been waiting to come around, or that one role that we have always wanted to be. You spend a lot of time preparing and re-reading the script. Then the audition comes and you feel as though you nailed it, yet a few days later you receive that awful email. It reads "You didn't get the role" and then "You were great but so many talented people auditioned." Plus, the whole "We went with someone else for the part."  I understand all of this. In order to be able to put on a great show, you need the right people to make the characters believable. But even knowing that doesn’t make the rejection any easier. At that moment you begin to question everything. That's probably at bit dramatic, but you do. You ask yourself "Am I doing the right thing? It was one rejection why do I feel like a failure?” "That part should have been mine” or “ Did I make a bad choice, why am I here?”  And finally the infamous question that we all ask ourselves "Am I not good enough?”

Of course you are. You are good enough, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have some level of talent. But this role just wasn’t for you. No matter how badly you wanted it, in the director’s mind, he or she just did not see you for that part. It took me a while to understand that process. For me it took producing a show and sitting on the other side of the audition table to really understand that no matter how good you are, the director has a vision, and they will cast those who best fits their vision. 

And this was probably only one of many rejections that you have or will receive during your lifetime as an actor. In this business of the arts, and the theater, you have to be strong and get used to the rejections. They say that you will hear the word “no” way more times then you will hear “yes.” There will be a lot of bruised egos and broken hearts but once you make it, all the no’s will make that one yes so much sweeter. 

I am currently experiencing this feeling of rejection both in Community Theater and in the job market. Lately, I have had rejections in both aspects of my life. It is causing me to question a lot of things, but what I have come to realize is that the wrong things fall away making room for the right things to fall into place. When I think back to how things were two years ago, I realize how far I have come and that has taught me that when I get rejected, I brush the dust off, stand back up and try again.