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How to help your child actor deal with rejection

Acting is, overall, a very fun profession. The process of auditioning, of getting to play many different characters, and of growing, personally and professionally, is very rewarding.  Yet for some, auditions do bring up stress and nervousness.  And this is totally normal!  I sometimes hear from parents who say they are nervous about the whole “rejection” aspect of their child’s acting career. “How can I help my child actor to deal with rejection?” they will ask.

The truth is, when your child isn’t cast in a role, it’s not really rejection at all!  The casting director was likely, simply looking for someone with a different hair color, or height, or personality type, or other obscure quirk or detail.  Nonetheless, it important to give your child “pep talks” from time to time, to keep him or her feeling positive during the audition process. Here are a few things you can say to help your child actor deal with rejection:

  1. It’s not really rejection. 

First of all, the fact that your child was called in to audition to begin with is a fantastic sign! This means that the casting director already believes in your child, and his suitability for the role, based on an online portfolio of materials — or even a past audition!

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The audition itself is a success that should be celebrated! And the fact that your child wasn’t cast has nothing to do with his acting ability or worthiness for the part. Again, the casting director may have decided to go with a child that has a different physical feature of vocal quality. You simply never know.

You also never know when this casting director will call your child in again — and for a role that is a perfect fit!

  1. Auditions are a chance to act/perform, regardless of the outcome!

Auditions are fun. They are like mini performances and chances to act for an audience. Remind your child to have a great time — and to cease this opportunity to share his or her talent with professionals in the industry! Again, you never know who is going to watch the audition tape and what opportunity the audition could lead to in the future!

  1. What matters most is booking the room (not booking the job).

Remind your child that the impression that he or she makes on the casting director — the establishment of a professional relationship — is far more important than having a single booking.  By being a charming, professional and prepared actor, your child will win over the casting director — your child will book the room.  By booking the room, your child wins long-term fans who will be on the lookout for roles and opportunities that are a perfect match.

  1. It‘s totally normal to go to dozens of auditions without booking

What matters most is that your child goes to each audition prepared. As long as he or she is prepared, professional, and pleasant to work with in the audition room, all is good!

It is totally normal for your child to have dozens of auditions before booking something, especially if he or she is just starting out. Think of each audition as a mini opportunity to get better and better at auditioning! With each audition, nerves go down just a bit more, and eventually the audition process will feel normal — and fun!

Even the most famous of actors don’t book every job they go out for! Meryl Streep was in her late twenties when she booked her first film role — and just look at her now. J

  1. Assure your child that her feelings are valid; make it fun!

Regardless of what you say or do to prepare your child, there is still a chance that your child come out of an audition feeling badly, saying something like “I did terrible.” In this case, I suggest that you first acknowledge what your child says and how she feels.  Repeat back to her what she has stated about her experience, e.g. “Oh, you feel terrible? I am so sorry you feel that way,” rather than just overriding your child’s emotions or deflecting.  Once you feel that your child’s emotions have been acknowledged, suggest a fun activity, such as a trip to the park or for ice cream.

Children don’t hold on to things as long as we adults do!  Especially with young children, the “rejection,” as you fear it, might not be perceived by the child as a rejection at all.  So the less you both dwell on the post-audition analysis, the better.  Let it go, and have some fun!

  1. It’s important to stay connected with fellow actors and artists through acting class!

Having a supportive community is key.  Actors who stay in class are the ones who book. Even famous actors attend class. The process of learning and growing is never ending!  At 3-2-1- Acting Studio in Los Angeles, we welcome kids, teens and young adults of all experience levels to train with us and have the opportunity to perform in our well-attended industry showcases.

As always, have fun!

Again, auditions are performances.  Auditions can — and should — be fun!  So encourage your child to play and to create and to enjoy every moment of the audition process.

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