On Casting Frontier’s 23rd episode of The Curve, Burgandi and Govind discuss how to weather the storm of rejection and relentless competition inherent in the entertainment industry—as well as how to survive it all with a sense of wellbeing.  

“In life, you deal with rejection. But if you’re in the entertainment industry, you deal with it almost every single day,” Burgandi insists. It can feel overwhelming—even make promising actors lose hope and want to quit altogether. 

In all honesty, if an actor’s intolerance for rejection outweighs his or her passion to pursue acting, then perhaps this field really is not a good match. But bitter competition has the potential to stop even dedicated, committed actors from marching onward with an ounce of faith. Take Kristen Stewart, Bradley Cooper, Robert Pattinson, and Gal Gadot—Wonder Woman herself! Before their breakthrough roles, they were among the many thespians who were pushed to the brink because of eroding rejection. “If you say you’re an actor, and you’re going on auditions and not getting the parts, then you’re not an actor,” Pattinson found himself contemplating in his bleakest hours. 

Thankfully, actors can steady themselves with a proper thespian toolkit, if not overcome rejection and grow from the experience. As Emma Stone once said, “[Rejection] could be really crushing, but it’s not life-threatening.” This is where Burgandi and Govind step in and share four ways actors can bolster themselves through it all. In turn, performers can learn any pertinent lessons as to what’s holding them back and focus on the things they can control (versus what they cannot).

Actors’ Survival Kit

  1. Have a physical release. Actors can build their armor by hiking, jogging on the beach, going to the gym, dancing, going on a bike ride, or doing yoga. These activities keep performers physically fit, healthy, and can help clear out any cobwebs cluttering the mind.
  2. Focus on the spiritual. Actors can meditate, read a favorite spiritual book, or list three things per night for which they’re grateful in a gratitude journal. These routines can help performers nudge any negative thinking patterns out of their minds and replace them with positive ones. 
  3. Nurture a support system. It’s important for actors to surround themselves with uplifting people who celebrate in their successes and thoughtfully listen in times of discouragement. This circle can include family members, friends, and people in the acting community.
  4. Have a hobby. Acting can be a fulltime job even before a performer gets the gig. Acting classes, networking, auditions, trying to make ends meet … all of this is time-consuming. But having a hobby reminds actors there’s more to their identity than their last series of auditions. It provides enjoyment and builds inner strength and independence. 

As Govind says, “The thing that is permanent in this industry is rejection.” But these four tools just might make all the difference between an actor persisting and quitting. 

Actors who’ve battled rejection

And remember, so many celebrated actors have struggled with rejection in the past—and continue to be challenged by it. Here are some quotes from famous thespians on the subject:

  • “The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.” —Morgan Freeman
  • “You have to be totally tough to deal with all those times when you’re being turned down. And then really soft in order to access your characters’ emotions.” —Felicity Jones
  • “I was armored enough to come out to Hollywood. And I knew that I would get told ‘no’ a million times.” —Taraji Henson
  • “I’ve had a lot of failures as well and rejection. As an actor, it’s actually mostly rejection, but people think it’s mostly success because they only see your successes—the films that got made.” —Emma Roberts
  • “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” —Sylvester Stallone
  • “There’s so much ‘no.’ There’s so much rejection in this world that I thought, ‘Maybe it’s not for me. Maybe I should go back to law school instead of dragging my family with me.” —Gal Gadot
  • “You’ve got to love this business. You have to be able to take rejection.” —Jessica Biel

Casting Frontier’s YouTube series The Curve is hosted by Burgandi Phoenix and Govind Kumar. Stay ahead of the curve by learning more valuable tips and stories from an assortment of industry insiders each week.