Rejection. It's part of the game. It hurts- sometimes less, sometimes more.
Some of you probably don’t know this about me, but I actually started my undergrad as an education major. In my second year, I switched to performance. I knew that it was right for me. My decision was met by different people in different ways. Most were very supportive. The reaction that I will definitely never forget was one from a professor that I really looked up to. He told me that I would be waiting tables, and stuck in audition mode forever.
Of course I was pretty mad and hurt by what had been said, but he became someone that I was eager to prove wrong. Now that I’ve been out of school for a couple years, I am realizing that he was right about one thing- there never is an end to the auditions- or the rejection. Even when people are extremely successful, they are constantly auditioning. So what could change me from the mindset of being “Stuck in audition mode” to “Optimist and frequently auditioning?” Turns out the answer lies in how I accept the rejection that I (quite frequently) receive from the auditions that I go on.
I recently heard an episode of the “Happier in Hollywood” podcast that had Jenna Fischer (Pam in the Office) as a guest. She just published a book called The Actors Life: A Survival Guide. In the interview she was asked about the biggest tip she had learned that she wanted to share with young actors. She said that when starting out in Hollywood, actors usually need to audition around 50 times before they get cast in something. FIFTY TIMES!!!! She said that in her own auditioning she started thinking about each audition as “going to collect her 50 nos.” That way you don't put too much stock in any one audition, and auditions are a lot less desperate. When she changed her mindset, things started going a lot better for her.
Now I hope that conversion rate isn’t the same for opera auditions, because to apply to 50 programs would cost at least $2000. However, I did start thinking that way starting in January and honestly I don’t think I’m ever going to look back. The rejection still stings, don't get me wrong, but I don't mull it over and obsess about it for as long. The mindset shift is also helping me handle the fear of putting myself out there. Because if I don’t put myself out there to get “my nos,” how will I ever get a yes?!
To my friends that are constantly auditions- I am cheering for you, I know you will get your yes.
To my friends and students that are thinking of auditioning, be smart in choosing what you audition for, but put yourself out there! The world is waiting to hear you.
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