“Because you’re ugly. Because you’re really pretty. Because you’re too tall. Because you’re too short. Because there was a fly in the room. Because you didn’t prepare enough. Because you prepared too much.” –Erica Arvold
As of July this year I have been focusing a majority of my artistic energy toward acting. Since then, probably more than anything else I have had to deal weekly (if not daily) with the issue of rejection. As a working actor you are constantly auditioning for roles of which you supposedly fit the description. You can even feel as though you gave your best performance, but even that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the job or even a callback.
Being an actor or an artist of any kind requires you to put yourself out there and display your skills to an audience. This is a very vulnerable yet exhilarating place to be and it opens you up to not only praise and adoration but also rejection and ridicule. For example, several months ago I was honored to win an Overall Male Mature Actor Award at a week-long AMTC competition. This, of course, encouraged me in my journey and I felt confirmed that I was heading in the right direction. Well…I was quickly brought back down after an acting manager in New York shared some (let’s just say, not so nice) words about my audition. This left me feeling dejected and unsure of myself.
Even when you book a job you are instantly unemployed once a project is completed and then have to jump headlong back into the seemingly never-ending process. Thankfully I have been able to book some roles but this constant rejection can be somewhat unnerving.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important for someone in this field to not find his or her identity in their job or craft. Not to be negative, but in your field of expertise there will always be someone better than you. Now, that shouldn't be a deterrent to work harder; rather, it should be the opposite. By observing those individuals it can help you set goals and reach new heights as an artist. What’s even crazier is that even the most talented people don't always book the jobs. So dealing with rejection specifically as an actor may not have anything to do with you or your skills. Check out this video from Arvold Casting. I feel like it conveys the paradox that is the casting process.
As a director and writer myself I have a clear vision for what I want. Sometimes I may not be able to eloquently convey what I want but I usually know it when I see it. At the same time, rejection doesn't just happen in acting. It can happen everywhere in life. So this is how I combat rejection:
First, I believe it is important to not find your identity from any outward influence. I believe intrinsically it comes from our Creator.
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:13-14
Steve Jobs was the founder/creator of Apple. He was the one that objectively identified and gave purpose and value to his products. He set the vision for what they should be. In a similar way God has set our ultimate purpose and meaning. He created us in His own image and loves His creation with an unfathomable love (Ephesians 3:18).
So when we are facing rejection of any kind we can go to God in confidence because He is a promise keeper and He cares about you.
Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.1 Peter 5:7
Not only that, but Jesus understands and has experienced greater rejection.
He was despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. John 1:1
When it comes to rejection and how it impacts our career we don't have to worry about anything, especially whether or not we get the job.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
In truth God has every reason to reject everyone because of sin.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23
But what makes God so amazing is that if we have placed our faith in him he does not reject us, but rather, makes us part of His family.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
In closing, as a result of the love and many promises of God we can choose to focus on Him instead of focusing on rejection and not getting the part. So if you are a Christian and you trust Christ for your salvation, make sure you also trust him with your career.
Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. Proverbs 16:3
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths .Proverbs 3:5-6
Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Now that doesn't mean you shouldn’t work hard and just expect God to do it all. I think ultimately that would dishonor God.
And whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
But it does mean you should not stress out and fall apart when someone tells you that you are not good enough or you don't get a role. My hope is that this has encouraged you to continue to walk in your calling and not let any set backs stop you from reaching your goals.