One thing important in “Having What it Takes” is learning how to take REJECTION.
I get a lot of questions and concerns from actors about the statement, “I don’t know if I have what it takes to make it in this business.” They tend to worry about their talent only. Then, they ask if there is anything else that I can tell them.
Talent and perseverance are certainly primary. However, a point of view about rejection is one that I find very important, and usually the deal breaker.
I’ve interviewed many, many actors who left the business because they say they couldn’t handle the rejection. It was constant, they took it personal, and after feeling rejected over and over again, that did them in. It is a common reason many actors leave the business. This business does take a “thick skin” as they say.
So, let’s take a look at rejection.
First of all, it’s not personal, it’s just business.
The reason actors take it personal is because it’s who they are that they think is being rejected. If you were selling shoes and they didn’t like them, you might not take it personally. It’s about the product. With actors, we get caught up with, “I” am the product so of course it hurts when they don’t’ “Buy” me. This is important to put in perspective and change. It’s not personal.
I remember going in for one prime time television network show 12 times. I finally asked them, “Why do you keep calling me in and not hiring me?” They said something and it changed me forever. They said this; “We love you, think you’re very talented, but it just wasn’t a fit. We wouldn’t have called you in so many times if we didn’t like you. And by the way, it didn’t have anything to do with your talent or audition, it just didn’t work for the part at that time, so Fran, please don’t take it personally.” There were 10 people in the room when we had that conversation, and I believed they really meant it.
Therefore, for you to survive as an actor, rejection needs to be changed in your consciousness.
Look at rejection not to mean “no,” but to mean “not now” or “not this time.” Often, as you network and build your relationships, the same casting director might call you in many times and maybe not cast you until four or five auditions.
I recommend that actors take a part time job in sales, especially, telemarking phone sales or something door to door. You’ll get rejected so many times you’ll see that it’s a numbers game and, after a while, you won’t take it personally. When you sell something that is not yours, you’ll get used to it and learn not to take it personally.
So, if you really have a problem with rejection, get one of those sales jobs and it will train you.
Break a leg!