I just read the most incredible transcript of an interview with Holland Taylor. I wanted to pass along an excerpt which deals with handling rejection. What’s interesting is that the best advice for handling rejection is to address why you would call it “rejection” in the first place.
“First of all, I have had any number of instances where I've met people in later years -- 10 years later after an audition or something when they said, ‘That was the most brilliant audition I ever saw for such-and such,’ and I hadn't gotten the job. And I had been crushed by not getting it, and I had suffered over it and often remembered it and my face would get hot with embarrassment.
And then I would find out that I had actually done superbly, even, but that there were many other reasons why people get or don't get jobs -- I'm sure you know this too. And after a while, I really understood this and I understood that it was very rarely me getting the job, and I say to young actors, ‘Don't go into an audition saying, 'I've got to get that job, I'm going to get that job,' because it isn't up to you.’ ”
When auditioning for a role, I have always said that there are only two things you can control in the room:
• Being Prepared
• Playing Full Out
Getting cast is not in your control. There are too many other factors in casting that you are completely unaware of, so how can you begin to control them?
“And if you don't get it, then of course you feel that you have failed, that you have crapped out, that you did badly. And the fact is that the only thing -- it's like running a race. I say to students, "Can you win a race?" I'll say to a young, athletic man, and he'll say, "Yes, I can." And I said, "Well, what if someone's faster than you?" And he said, "Well, then I'll just have to run faster?"
I said, "But what if someone runs faster than you?" And then I said, "Then you won't win that race, right?" And he said, "I guess not." And I said, "So you aren't in charge of winning. You're in charge of running.’ ”
When I coach actors on setting goals, I teach them how to look for results that are manageable and empowering. Instead of "My goal is to be cast" (which you cannot control) I encourage actors to strive to be put in the “YES pile." YES means that you have what it takes to compete, and they'll keep giving you chances until something connects perfectly. Using Holland's analogy of the runner, you wouldn't strive to say, "I won," but, "I am someone that they'll want in a future race."
As someone who has cast a fair number of shows, I can tell you that getting into my YES pile is ultimately more important than getting cast. If I like your work and your spirit in the audition room, I will do whatever I can to get you cast in my projects because you are going to make me look good- bringing in good actors impresses the producers and means job security for the casting director. So I would bring you in every time a role is right for you until something clicks.
So, strive to be in that YES pile - go into the audition prepared, listen to what is being asked of you and act accordingly, be respectful and HAVE FUN! You'll find that if you show up to auditions using these principles you will be a much happier actor and you'll quiet that little negative voice inside you!