You know that audition you just did; you know, the one the producers just passed on hiring you? Well, one day that audition tape featuring you might be up on the auction blocks selling for big money.

Once upon a time all the mega stars we watch on the silver screen were unknown, aspiring actors, and going on auditions just like you. They had to find a way to take off work, they had to fight their way across town, only to be rejected time and again in the notoriously ruthless competition of the entertainment industry.

Brad Pitt, Helen Hunt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, and Robert Downey Junior are among the mega stars whose before-they-were-celebrities audition tapes went up for auction thanks to three anonymous casting directors who were sitting on the tapes for years.

Before Brad Pitt’s attention-grabbing supporting role of J.D. in the road film Thelma & Louise which defined Pitt as a sex symbol, Pitt was auditioning for Director Ron Howard hoping to be cast in the movie Backdraft. Howard passed on what could be described as Brad’s not-so-impressive audition performance, opting instead to give the part to William Baldwin.

The 1993 film Jurassic Park beckoned in a number of high-profile actresses in the casting process for the role of paleobotanist, Dr. Ellie Sattler. One of the actresses, however, was not well known. Her name was Gwyneth Paltrow, and she did not land the role; rather it went to Laura Dern.

In 1990 a boy named Leonardo DiCaprio tried out for the role of Ponyboy Curtis in The Outsiders TV series. He received a small part in the pilot, but Jay R. Ferguson landed the role. Still, as we all know, Leo was afforded many more opportunities to shine after he went head to head with Robert De Niro in the coming-of-age drama This Boy’s Life in 1993.

It’s refreshing to see unrefined footage of A-list actors before their mega fame kicked in. It serves as a reminder that we are all works in progress, and there is always room to grow, and more opportunities to blow people away as you adapt and master the craft of acting.