From Charlie's Desk > Handling Rejection


Handling rejection is one of the most difficult tasks that we as actors must face. I think the desire to be accepted is one of the things that attracts many of us to this business - I know it was for me. I was this skinny, red-haired, freckle-faced little Irish kid who wore glasses and wasn't a bit athletic. Somehow I mustered up the courage to appear in a school talent show with a comedy act, and afterward I found that I had become sort of "special." I received a degree of recognition and acceptance that I had never known before, and that's the bottom line for many of the actors I know - we need recognition and acceptance, for whatever reason.



So how do you deal with a business (and I keep emphasizing that this is a business) where the odds may be as high as one hundred to one against you? That's what the average commercial actor faces - ninety-nine "Nos" for every "Yes." Most of the time you never know why, because they don't call you when you don't get the job to tell you that you were too old/young/fat/thin/tall/short/ black/white/yellow/brown or any of a myriad of other reasons why you just weren't what they were looking for. Not long ago I had the good fortune to do a Maxwell House Coffee commercial and one of the actresses with whom I worked put it about as well as I ever heard it said. "If they are looking for chocolate cake and you look enough like chocolate cake, you have a chance." She was right; you may be the best angel food cake in the world, but if they want chocolate, you just won't get the job. It isn't only true of commercials, either. I almost lost a very good co-starring role in mini-series because almost everyone else in the cast was very tall. It had nothing at all to do with my ability as an actor.



If all this is true (and it is!) what can you do to maintain your sanity and sense of self worth? Here are some tips for you:



1. Consider the audition as a job. Just go in and do the best job that you are capable of that day. ( and some days you are better that others!)



2. After the audition don't spend more that five minutes beating yourself up about what you shoulda-woulda-coulda done.

I don't know about you, but my best auditions are always in the car on my way home. Forget about it. You did what you did, and there are only two possibilities - you'll either get the job or you won't. Hopefully your next "job" will be the call-back, or better yet, they'll book you right from the first audition. Which ever it is, just go in and do the best job you can - for that day.



3. Use what ever you did, right or wrong, as a learning experience. That makes every audition good, and that way you always win.

Remember, its not really about you or your talent. Most of the time with commercials it's a matter of being what they are looking for, combined with the ability to do the job. The best that you can do is to be prepared (study and learn!), professional (on time, with a proper head shot and resume), and pleasant ( Relax and have fun...who wants to work with a nervous grouch?)

Charlie Holliday