So this is the life I’ve chosen for myself. The life of rejection known as acting. I really have to find a way to deal with it better. It’s been quite a roller coaster lately. On the upside, I signed with a talent agent who hopefully will get me lots of professional paid work once I get all my materials sorted out and sent to them. Then there’s these two stories of woe…
Many months ago I auditioned for a movie. I went in and felt I did a pretty good job. The director and producer seemed genuinely thrilled and complimented my choices. There was much glowing praise. I was called back to audition with some other potential actors and we shuffled around reading various roles. Since the director was also going to play the main villain, he had me read it just so someone would be doing it and he could watch. Again, I felt I performed strong. Later, I found out that I had not been cast in any of the major roles but the director said he really liked my energy and talent and definitely wanted to use me somewhere. Later, I saw a call for crew members for the same movie so I put my resume in for Assistant Director. The director called me back and told me to come to a meeting where we could talk about the A.D. position and also he wanted me to read for another role. Some more time passed and the next time I spoke with him, he wanted me to read one more time for the smaller role to see if I could dial it down a little and not be so over the top and theatrical. The fact that the A.D position wasn’t brought up gave me my silent answer on that front.
I went back for my second one-on-one reading with the director where we went through the scene a few times and he gave me some direction. The end result was that I didn’t really feel he got what he wanted from me but he said he definitely wanted to use me somewhere somehow in the cast and on the crew if I so desired. I told him I would have to get back to him after I heard back from another movie about a lead role I was up for, which leads us to story number 2…
I had seen an audition notice for a suspense/horror film filming in the area and the roles were actually paid! I submitted my information and was given an audition time. I was up for one of the lead roles as a character who turned out to be the sick, twisted villain. This could be fun! I memorized my scenes and went into my first audition fairly confident. Never before have I had an audition that seemed to go so well and I probably never will again. Usually the people auditioning you play things pretty neutral. They may say something like “Great job! We’ll be in touch,” but that’s usually about the extent of it. During this audition, the director and casting agent seemed genuinely floored by my performance. After two scenes, I asked if they wanted to see the other two scenes that I had received and prepared to which the answer was an enthusiastic “Yes! I want to see it all! I want to see the whole movie now!”
After my audition we chatted for a long time during which they told me things like “You are by far the best person we have seen today. You have made my day!” and “I don’t want to breathe while I’m watching you because I’m so wrapped up in the scene!” The part was supposed to be between 30-40 years old and when they asked me my age, they could not believe I was 36*. They asked if I had any gray in my hair or beard. I told them I had very little in my (now dyed jet black) hair, but a good amount in my beard. They told me to stop dyeing my hair and start growing my beard. All in all it was the most ebullient, glowing, openly complimentary audition any actor could ever hope for. I walked out of there feeling like a star, like I had just totally blown away the room.
I had also convinced Larry to audition for another role. We both received callbacks to come for a second audition last night. Larry and I both had some decent competition, but I felt we had both still given the best performances for our respective roles. I was a bit more nervous and shaky on the inside but still gave what I thought was a great performance. Last night, around midnight, Larry received a call telling him that it was between him and one other guy and so they wanted them to both come back today. I never received a call. Larry went through another grueling 5 hours of chatting, interviewing, auditioning and waiting, during which he learned the unfortunate news that I had not been cast. The only good thing is that later this afternoon, he got the call that he had the part. Sadly, I haven’t been able to give this news the proper celebration because I’ve been feeling like I was punched in the gut ever since I learned my fate. The guy they chose is completely different from me physically, so I’m guessing (hoping) that it was just more in line with the director’s view of the character (although the initial character description was closer to me than the other guy I think).
At least I’m free to work on Movie #1 in whatever role or capacity they see fit. It’s somewhat of a consolation since I really like the project but it’s also bittersweet since I’ve effectively been rejected three times on that project (lead cast, Assistant Director and the smaller role).
How do you learn to deal with this better? Acting is a vast majority of rejection. I’ve had my share in the past and it wasn’t this bad but I guess I really wanted this role. It was a lead in a paid movie and I felt I had given a great performance. I had been lavished with praise and accolades. I guess all of this and just the fact that I had been one of a final four guys to be considered made this one harder. Rejection after on audition is easier but the further you get into the process, the harder it is to just let go.
So now I sit, pretty damn bummed, unable to be as joyous as I should be for my friend’s good fortune. This is the career I’ve chosen, and I’m pretty sure it’s only going to get harder. I’ve got to learn to deal better. I can’t mourn every lost role since that will probably be the majority of them. Now if I could just figure out the secret of how let go, how to become immune to rejection and not let it bring you down. That would be something.
*The exact same thing happened when I auditioned for my agent. While discussing a potential movie he said there were no parts for my age group since they were all at least 30-35 years old. I said “You don’t think I could play 35?”
He said “No, I don’t think you look 35.”
“I’m 36,” I said. He was surprised and asked the rest of the class. While they all agreed that I certainly didn’t look that old, they thought that I could probably believably play that age range.