ACTORS – How to deal with REJECTION

There is one inescapable truth that every Actor has to face, it doesn’t matter how far up the chain you are – if you’re just starting out or if you’re Brad Pitt, and that is: You ARE going to get REJECTED!

Brad Pitt auditioned for BACKDRAFT only to lose out to William Baldwin.

And I’m not talking every once in a while, I mean regularly handed your fragile ‘but Mummy thinks I’m the best’ ego on a big shiny “Sorry, they thought you weren’t quite right” platter.

So, that’s a given. No point denying it. End of story. The important thing then is how you deal with that rejection. How do you develop the mythical ‘thick-skin’ that will enable you to stride proudly through the inevitable torrent of criticism towards your dream role? Let’s face it, a career in Acting is unlike any other. You have to put yourself on the line week in week out in pursuit of your goal. Who else does that?! A friend of mine who works in IT was going for a promotion last week and had to prepare a short demonstration for an internal interview. He was sh!tting himself! He couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and stayed awake all night in a quivering sweaty mess. And it occurred to me, WOW, an Actor has to go through this several times a week! How on earth do you gear yourself up for that time and time again without allowing it to slowly suck every ounce of spark and creativity from your soul?

Writer and coach Linda Dessau wrote:

“Whether it’s feedback we’ve asked for, an unsolicited remark called out from the audience or a simple ‘no’ result of an audition or submission process, criticism and rejection are a huge part of our lives as creative artists. 

“Sometimes we’re so fearful of being criticized or rejected that we keep our creativity bottled up and don’t let it out.”

So, here are some key points to remember to help you bounce back in the face of rejection:


You have to learn to accept and move on. Nobody thinks you’re awful. Do not doubt your own ability off the back of a casting. If you’ve even gotten into the room to be considered then somebody has already seen something in you worth shouting about. Casting Directors just have an extremely narrow set of characteristics that they’re trying to match; an age, a height, a speech pattern, a look, whatever…this time you didn’t quite fit. Oh well, NEXT.

Like Bryan Cranston said:

“You’re not going there to get a job. You’re going there to present what you do. You ACT…and then you walk away.”


Despite everything that has been said so far, it is impossible not to feel exasperated when an audition doesn’t go your way. That little voice creeps up inside your head “Maybe I should’ve done this?” or “Perhaps I shouldn’t have said that?” This is perfectly normal. Don’t be afraid of the post-rejection-blues. The trick is pulling yourself back. Don’t deny the feelings, talk about it, have a drink, scream into the pillow; it’s all good, then give yourself a good hard look in the mirror and remember why you love it, why you chose this bonkers career in the first place. It may take a little while to get over, but rest assured the grieving process speeds up over time, and when the right job eventually clicks you won’t even remember.


Sometimes the greatest motivator can be the desire to ‘prove them wrong‘. If you’re left feeling that fiery rage after a particular let-down, grab a hold of that passion and turn it to your advantage. There is nothing more dangerous to the pursuit of your career than apathy. A burning I’ll show them” fury, coupled with focus and discipline can be an incredibly useful combo. Set goals. Acknowledge your failings, take classes, read books, and keep pushing forward.

In her Talk Back post, actor, writer, and filmmaker Maria Menozzi summed it up perfectly:

“I’ve been rejected, rejected, refused, and ignored – and did I mention rejected? But I have persisted, practiced, and persevered… I am an actor, and I plan on stickin’ it out for quite some time.”

Check out this list of Famous Actors and Roles they didn’t get:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: