Rejection and failure 

Rejection is something no one likes, and as actors, we sadly face it a lot. How many of us audition for a role only to be told no? Even before that, you have to get the audition and that doesn’t always happen.

The way I approach each audition nowadays is as a moment when get to do what I love: acting. Once I am at of the room – or once the self tape has been sent – I forget about it. There is no point in worrying; if I get the role, I’ll celebrate and be happy, if I don’t, I have lost nothing that I already had.

But sometimes, some rejections are actually not that bad. Twice recently, I was advised that I did not get the role in the best possible way. Here, see for yourself, I copied the messages I received for both auditions below.
This first one was for the role of the mother of two girls and they had shortlisted me. They were casting the daughters and the mother was then going to be chosen to “match” the daughters based on performance AND resemblance to the girls. When they shortlisted me, they first sent the following:

“[…] Your tape stood out as your performance was both honest and authentic. I’m very happy to tell you that you have been shortlisted for the role. […]”

Then, when they made the decision, here is the message I received:

“Dear Rachel,

Firstly, sorry it’s been such a long wait. We had a lot of children apply for the film and have only just secured our choices. Thank you so much for sending in your tapes. Your performances were strong and you were definitely worthy of the part. However, due to having to match the chosen children to a ‘Mum’, we’ve gone for a more suitable candidate on this occasion.

We’d really like to keep your details on our records for future productions. […]

Thank you again and best wishes for future auditions.”

Personnally, I take this positively. Yes, I did not get the job, they liked what I had to offer, so there may be roles for me in their future projects.

The second one, funnily enough, was also for the role of a mother, and here is what the directors said:

“Dear Rachel,

[…] We really enjoyed meeting you last Tuesday.

We are writing to let know that unfortunately we went for another candidate for [the role].

As much as a cliché it is to say, it was an extremely tough decision to make. It came right down to the wire, and your interpretation of [the role] was one of the few that really struck a chord with us. Which is why we’re getting back to you so late. Seeing a really good performance is often more heartbreaking than seeing a not-so-good one, as I wish I could be clear about the reasoning behind our decision, or pinpoint what didn’t work for us. The truth is everything worked for us: we loved your originality in improvising, your choice of prop, your defiant and strong reading of [the role], the emotion you poured into the character. Ultimately, when we had to make a final decision, our gut led us somewhere else. I hope this makes sense.

I know this message might come as a disappointment, but we feel really privileged to have met you and seen you at work, and would very much like to keep in touch – [we] like to write characters based on a pool of talented actors we know, and we would certainly consider you to be within this group. 

For now, we would like you to know how grateful we are that you offered us your time and talent.”

The way I see it is that I just have to keep at it, since even the rejection messages tell me I am doing well. You can win them all, but losing is this gentle, the game feels a little bit easier.