Monday, June 7, 2010
It's Not You, It's Me
Even the word looks nasty, doesn’t it?
Rejection is the great leveler. Every actor, even the super-famous ones, face rejection from time to time. The part goes to someone younger, someone better looking, someone holding more golden statuettes.
It does feel more devastating to actors who are struggling to pay rent. We NEED that gig! And then it goes to someone else. It could be just an anonymous, faceless “actor” that nabs that precious part, but sometimes it’s worse.
Sometimes it’s someone we know. Sometimes it’s someone whose acting we don’t particularly like.
And it’s not just getting cast. It’s getting representation. It’s bad reviews. It’s online smack talk from disgruntled ex-fans.
No matter where we are in our acting careers, rejection is simply a part of the landscape.
Faced with this ghastly specter, actors typically do one of two things. They numb the pain with drink, drugs, sex, gambling or any other addictive and corrosive vice they can think of. Or they break, imploding inward while spiraling downward--quite the Newtonian feat, by the way.
There is another way.
This one requires that we do some uncomfortable things, but take a second and look at the alternatives. Probably worth it, right?
The first thing is to go outside our comfort zone and find a tribe. Make friends, both in and out of the industry, who will support you through thick and thin. Lean on them in times of hurt and emotional crisis. Then be there for them when they have theirs.
Then, find ways to be of service. The most successful actors (and by successful, I mean the happiest) make time to render kindness to others in whatever way they can. When you serve those that may have it worse than you, not getting cast or getting a bad blurb just doesn’t seem as…well…earth-shattering.
Finally (and this is probably the most challenging), stay connected. When we connect with others and STAY connected, we can feel our self-worth. When we disconnect and isolate ourselves, we become the piece of trash at the center of the universe. Not a pretty image, right?
‘Cause at the end of the day, it’s all about doing what we love. Rejection doesn’t even factor into that, does it?