Another great column, Bonnie. Really great. Those costs of acting are tough to see all in one place, but if the costs scare off some of my competition, all the better. But you left out one of the biggest costs of acting: REJECTION. What’s up?
Ah! This is interesting. I actually thought about adding in a paragraph about rejection just a few hours before turning in last week’s column. So, I’m not surprised that its omission from the list of the costs of acting popped up on your radar. That said, I think I’ve come up with a really good reason for having left rejection out of the piece: I DON’T BELIEVE THAT REJECTION EXISTS.
Now, I’m sure some readers are thinking, “She’s lost her ever-lovin’ mind.” Because of course there’s rejection in this business. In fact, most people would advise that you — early on — develop thick skin specifically to create a buffer between your heart and the cold, hard rejection you’ll face every day, should you choose to pursue a career in show business. But I guess I just don’t acknowledge the itty-bitty sliver of rejection that accompanies all of the abundance I observe in the pursuit of acting.
Think about it: You decide you want to be an actor. Great! Go for it! You don’t have to apply to med school (and get accepted or rejected). You don’t have to score a certain number on your SAT. You don’t have to try out for a team. You don’t even have to have passed your driving test or have a credit score over 500. All you have to do is show up and give it a go. That’s a lot of non-rejection already.
Next, you get your headshots together, start taking classes, and go out on as many entry-level auditions as you can. You submit on student films, you show up to open calls for community theatre, and by virtue of the fact that the powers that be LET YOU IN for an audition, you’ve already been accepted. With perhaps no training, no credits, and no major investment in the career choice you’ve made at this point, you’re accepted as an actor. No rejection there!
Just because there are fewer roles than there are actors pursuing those roles doesn’t automatically equal rejection. You’re in a business where there will always be another gig to go out for the next day. And the next. And if you aren’t getting opportunities at the level you’d like, you’re invited to create your own work! Remember that if you get the happy call that you’ve been selected for a callback, that’s a sign that you have been NOT REJECTED. And if you make it to the final two actors up for the role, that’s further non-rejection. As for actors who don’t get that call, I say focus on having been invited to audition in the first place. Rejection would be hearing, “Yeah, I see here that you have gotten headshots and taken classes, but I really don’t see you as an actor. In fact, I think you’re probably never going to make it and I’m not sure how you managed to get through the door for this audition in the first place. Security!” Certainly there are actors who have been told harsh things by power-hungry idiots, but I’ve never met an actor who heard such a discouraging thing without going into an, “Oh, yeah?!? I’ll show you!” headspace. And the fact that there are many opinions that make up the landscape of the entertainment industry should reassure you that you could hear a lot of NOs and still be next year’s hot property.
There will always be Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers in the world. Their opinions do NOT equal rejection. Rejection is being told you’re not allowed to go for it. And you’re still here, right? Well then, you’ve not been rejected. On the contrary… you’ve been accepted as an actor. And you’ll continue to be accepted as such — at many different levels — until you decide you’re through with it all. The only person who can reject your decision to be an actor is you.
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000444.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.