Almost every single acting book will contain a chapter or section about rejection. Fresh comers to the acting scene, and even seasoned pros, are frequently presented with support and advice on how to cope with not getting that coveted part. We take comfort in the many possible reasons why we didn’t get the role, and as much as it hurts, we pick ourselves up and move onto the next one.
But here’s the deal, no one tells us how to deal with the first steps of success.
I have recently come into a contract that was not only a longstanding dream for myself, but no doubt a dream for many many others; and I got the part. I rejoiced when I got the phone call from my agent and I was floating on cloud nine and embracing the fact that I’m now in the league of professionals, and not just an ‘expenses and lunch’ and odd commercial here and there kind of jobbing actress.
After a couple of days when the high wore off, sheer panic and utter terror kicked in. They chose ME? Have they made a mistake? What if they decide that I’m not good enough? What if they called the wrong person? Bla bla bla. I can’t tell you the horrific thoughts and torture I subjected myself to. I actually didn’t sleep for a couple of days and I had constant stomach churning, in fear that the job was going to crash and burn.
You see, for most actors, years of slow progress and countless rejections are the norm. We get used to the ‘one day it will happen’ illusion and grow quite comfortable where we are because we have something to aspire to be. When that ‘one day’ becomes ‘today’ and the comfort zone is completely broken by actually getting hired, it’s a new game altogether. It requires a serious amount of courage when you are working with the people you have always wanted to work with.
When the work I did warranted a league-changing status as an actress, my reflex was to not believe it. I wrote this post today because I want anyone else who takes a massive jump up in their career to not go through the same thing I went through. In times like these the best thing you can do is hold true to the fact that, actually, you are good enough, and guess what, your work is also good enough.
I am my own worst enemy and my reassurance was that I did my very best in my work.
And this time, my best was the best.