Rejection, reviews, and resilience: realities of #performerlife

Performing is a tough business. Not only must one have the skills to tell a convincing story but they must compete for the right to tell it in the first place, then endure whatever feedback comes thereafter. This process requires a great deal of emotional intelligence. Performers often wear their heart on their sleeves therefore audition rejection and negative reviews can have a substantial impact on them.

Take a moment to imagine a world where you got everything you ever wanted handed to you with minimal effort. Now let us pretend that the only feedback you were given for your efforts were compliments and platitudes. It may seem nice at first, but you would soon take it for granted because true appreciation and gratitude is the result of overcoming hardship and trials, the kind of hardship one must invest in to master their craft, cope with rejection, and embrace the opinion pieces penned by reviewers.

Hardship builds character and if you are cut out for this industry then you will persevere. But success in this industry of random encounters also comes down to luck. It is important to keep your finger on the pulse, actively network, and seek out opportunities to apply for work that suits you. Being prolific and proactive in their respective fields has helped some artists sustain their creative careers.

Bouncing back from rejection

The business side of show business can be ruthless. If you aren’t cast it usually means that someone else was better-suited to the role. Producers invest a lot in their shows and there are factors beyond your control that determine who will get cast in a specific production. All you can control is your preparation and performance in an audition. In the case of professional shows, landing an audition in the first place is already an achievement. Here are four tips to overcome rejection:

  1. Allow your true feelings to come out then subside naturally
  2. Focus on what went well
  3. Consider what could be improved upon
  4. Make future plans

Reading reviews

Some people do this and others don’t. It can be a source of useful and impartial feedback if it is from a credible source. Just remember it is an opinion piece and, depending on the publication, it can be warranted or just come across as a writer’s rant. Either way, you can decide what you take from the review, if anything, and whether or not to take it personally.

Hopefully, someone’s opinion piece doesn’t altogether dissuade you from pursuing your craft. Critics are a necessary part of the industry and play a part in promoting a show, if it’s a positive review. If it isn’t glowing feedback then summon the courage to read it anyway. It will tell you a lot about your emotional intelligence and resilience.

If you want to realise your dreams enough then someone’s words will not stop you from achieving this. Dedicate time into mastering your craft through deliberate practise and work on your empathy and resilience; these skills will serve you well in a highly-competitive industry.

You may also enjoy reading past posts about the topic of auditions and reviews. Here are two articles in my archives I would recommend – Auditions: why bother? and Only Words.

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