Rejection vs. Rejuvenation

Nov 17, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, Representation

I’m about to launch a horrible actor cliche bomb, so cover your ears and hide the kids. Ready? Okay:

As actors, we face rejection every single day.

BOOM! Are you still there? Has the epic debris (read: duh-bris) from that blast cleared yet? Is it over?

We get it. We’re all going to face rejection at some point in our acting careers. Some of us will let it wreak havoc on our confidence and ultimately end our careers, paving the way for others who know how to constructively use rejection and criticism to better themselves as actors, self-promoters, and humans.

I got a letter in the mail this weekend:

Dear Prospective Talent,

Thank you for your submission to ***** Talent. After careful evaluation by our team, we have decided that we are unable to represent you at this time. We encourage you to resubmit at a later date, as our needs are always changing. We wish you the best in your future endeavors.

You’d think I would be bummed about this so-called rejection letter, but you’d be wrong. In fact, I couldn’t stop smiling as I read it. :-)

I sound crazy, right? Well, I am, but that’s beside the point. Let me paint the scene a little better:

My alarm went off at 4:00 A.M on Sunday, long before the Sun came up. I showered, shaved, dressed, ate, and made sure I had everything I’d need for another long day of shooting on the set of A Suspicious Tomorrow. As I headed toward the door, an envelope on the kitchen counter caught my eye. It was one of the self-addressed stamped envelopes I had included in my talent agency submissions.

My head must have still been echoing from the days of submitting to colleges (“big envelope good, small envelope bad”), because I knew what it was before I opened it. I read the letter thoroughly and broke into a wide smile.

Progress! Here was a concrete sign that I exist in this amazing community of artists. I was holding proof that I was pushing toward the “next stage,” and that my efforts were at least getting recognized! I know it doesn’t sound like anything to celebrate, but I felt oddly confident nonetheless.

Plus, I was on my way out the door to the 4th day of an incredible film shoot with some of the most talented young filmmakers with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working! How could a rejection letter possibly get me down when I was minutes away from continuing to live my dream?! Preposterous! Rubbish, I say!

I’m not saying that I look forward to more rejection letters. I’m just saying that I can’t wait to learn, grow, and try again. :-)

~JVB

P.S. – The above photo was taken by the amazing Chelsea Boomer on the set of A Suspicious Tomorrow. Yes, that’s me on my knees. Don’t get any ideas, you pervos! 😉


Joe Von Bokern is the Chicago contingent of this blog. Find out more information and view his materials on his website, or read the rest of his blog posts.