Dealing with Rejection

Thursday, April 7, 2016



I had my second theater audition this week, and my second rejection without a call back.

Doing anything in the performing arts means gaining some necessary skills in rejection. There will always be someone better. Someone prettier, more talented, stronger, better technique, better range - you name it really.

I have found that I have a very established pattern in dealing with rejections. It starts with what I don't do.

I don't push it out of my head

Even though this is counter to some other advice (to "forget about it and move on") I mentally run through the whole experience again. If there is something there that wasn't ideal, I need to notice so I don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

In auditions you're nervous and it feels like time is moving very quickly. In order to slow it down and really see what was going on, I need this second look. 

I don't get hung up on the whys

While looking back to see where you can improve your auditions is a good thing, it's not helpful to get hung up on the whys of rejection. Often, it was not really about your performance - it was about the needs of the company and cast.

Maybe I was too young, or too old, or too short, or had the wrong hair color, or they had enough people who fit my description already. None of those things are really within my control - nor do I want to change them. Best to consider that part a wash and focus on improving the things I can improve.


So enough with the don'ts. Here is what I do.

I do throw myself back into disciplines

I like to look back through the last few weeks and see if there are any disciplines that have fallen by the wayside a bit. Did I fudge that morning pilates routine? Skipping taking vitamins? Decided I would say that rosary later, but never did? This is when I climb back on that horse!

The relevance to the audition is not what matters. It is taking something that you had previously let slip, taking it back up, and trying again. It gives me an achievable success in the wake of a failure.

I do tell people 

I will update people who knew I was auditioning about the rejection. This is partly because it is polite not to leave people hanging, but it is also to normalize the failure. Not getting a call back is not some deep dark secret. Allowing my friends and family (and now y'all, lovely readers) into my failures is what allows me to fully celebrate with them my successes.

I keep looking

Even if I really do not want to, I keep looking at audition listings every couple of days. It is good to remind myself that there are other shows, companies, and schools out there for me to consider. This was not a once in a lifetime shot.


Did I leave anything out? Do you handle rejection completely differently? I would love to hear it!

1 comment :

  1. These are awesome tips, and so applicable to a large variety of situations! I especially like how you mention "do tell people." For some reason, I usually think that whatever type of rejection I've experienced is a deep, dark, hideous secret that only my husband can know about, but you're right-it's not, and speaking about it is a good way to normalize it and get over it, because it's really not the end of the world.

    For me, I process things by writing (hence, why I love blogging), so instead of just trying to relive the rejection or get it completely out of my head, it can be really helpful for me to write it all out on paper. This helps me determine exactly what I'm upset about, how exactly it made me feel, etc. Then, if I really need some time away from thinking about the rejection, I can fold up that paper and set it aside and move on with my life, but I can pull out the paper later to address what I need to improve on.

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