#4 Don’t dwell on rejection.
This month I’ve been wrestling with a host of feelings surrounding rejection that have left me full of questions.
At one point I was told for every 10 tv/film/commercial auditions I submit, it’d be fortunate to book ONE gig, and perhaps less than that depending on the market. With those odds, you learn not to feel too badly when you don’t “bookit.” On top of that, bookings heavily rely on look, often as much as, if not more than, talent, which helps keeps one’s head small. For instance, here’s why I think I was chosen for the Bon Voy commercial...
I was the right height- about the same as the guy opposite me- which would make for a balanced pic.
I was the right fit look-wise- the only brunette white girl in the multi-ethnic mix.
I could time saying "Bon voy!" and gesture serving a platter well with my partner in auditions. We're talking a high-level skill there - LOL.
I showed up.
And that's about it. No need to applaud myself or give credit where it's not due. I just think God decided to give me a completely unmerited present. Being chosen for this project does not mean that I am more talented or more anything than any other actor in that crowded studio that day because it wasn't about me. It was about creating the two-second picture they hope will sell travel rewards to millions of people.
Now...rejections from live theatre auditions are a bit harder for me to take.
They leave me wondering the following:
Is my audition game not up to snuff?
Have I gotten rusty?
Do they just not like me?
Maybe they’re just not looking for my look/type.
Am I good enough to compete in this market?
Should I reconsider my career direction?
Should I continue to be persistent in “putting myself out there?”
Maybe I don’t have anything to offer to this community…
I’ve learned a couple things from recognizing these persistent questions.
I can’t possibly know the answers to all those questions, and no amount of recycling them with different words will help me come to any conclusions. Perhaps it’s one way, perhaps the other. Job asked God “Why, why why?” and received in reply only, “It’s too big for you to understand; just know I’m God” (my paraphrase). So for the meantime, I’m content to keep persisting, and fight to remember my real purpose regardless of my job situation.
It’s easy to think you have little or nothing to give to a community when you don’t really know them. As I have spent more time with actors here, I’ve been reminded that we are all struggling with similar things, that needs abound, that people are lonely, that people need spiritual health, help in their marriages and parenting and on and on. I’ve left rehearsals thinking of how deeply grateful I am for the hope I have through my faith, for my marriage and those who help us with it, for the community in which we have found family and vulnerability.
When I follow this trail of thought, the spiral reverses, and becomes one of gratitude. I don’t have to tell you, I’m sure, that it feels much better than the opposite.
So, I invite you to join in my efforts not to dwell on rejection- for where does dwelling lead? Instead, as the apostle Paul urges, let’s train our minds to focus on what is true, right, noble, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Phil 4:8).