This Guest Article was written by Achylla Jones (host of the Women in the Arts Podcast)
As an actor experiencing rejection is part of the deal. This practical guide will give you top tips on how to deal with rejection. There are 5 parts to it so make sure you stay connected.
5 Tips On Dealing With Rejection – Part 1
1. Keep everything in perspective.
Defeat looms large in the lives of actors. Sometimes so much so that it seems to swell to the size of a giant, menacing your every step, and blocking out all light on the horizon. But it’s not, is it? In reality it’s just one small part of what’s happening in your life.
When I was in drama school, my film and TV instructor wisely told us to ask ourselves a question before every audition, badly paraphrased here as: Can I live without this job? The answer, she told us, should be yes. Yes, you should be able to pay your bills and feed yourself without getting this job (because desperation reads in the room and it really turns people off). But you should also be able to live your life without this job. I like to take this question one step further and ask myself: Can I be happy without this job? Further still: Can I be happy with myself without this job? If the answer is anything but a resounding yes, then I know it is time to do some serious soul searching.
Of course I want to be successful at my job, but that can’t come at the expense of my personhood, and it shouldn’t come at the expense of yours, either. You have to know that you exist as a person, as a valid, healthy, loved and loving person, outside of your identity as an actor. This business is so risky. Everything is up in the air and there is absolutely no assurance of work, ever. I remember reading a book as a teenager where actresses who had been lucky enough to win a Tony award on Broadway confessed to not having worked for a year afterwards. A year. If people in that situation had no job security, how much worse will it be for all of us regular folks?
If your identity is based solely on your ability to be successful in one of the most competitive jobs on the face of the Earth, then you are in for a tough life. Instead of letting acting dictate every facet of your life, see it for what it is: A job. Yes, a job that you love and that gives you joy beyond measure, but still a job. You are not your job, you are you. You might also be a child, a parent, a partner, a painter, any number of things in addition to being an actor. Keep track of all your identities. Nurture every facet of your life. This will help you realize that you’ve got a lot more going for you besides your 3:45 appointment at a casting director’s office. Once you realize how much you have going on, one defeat in one part of your life just doesn’t seem big enough to knock the whole thing off track.
Achylla Jones 🙂
Achylla Jones is an actress, writer, and Co-founder of Black Ginger theatre company. She is also one of the hosts of the podcast Women in the Arts