Everyone has their hobbies. Some people like dancing, some people like drawing and other people like something else entirely. A lot of people have many different hobbies and I'm no exception. However, I also have my ‘thing.’ My passion, my love, the thing I've done for most of my life. For me, my thing is acting.
I love acting because it gives you the ability to escape to a whole new world (pun not intended) and forget what's going on in the real world. You become someone else for a little while and you can stop worrying about all your real world troubles because they don't belong to you anymore. While you're playing that character, you are no longer yourself and so those troubles that you normally concern yourself with have nothing to do with you. It's freedom, to be a bit crazy and act a bit daft and not be judged because everyone around you is there to see you do just that. I love following a script, you have directions and text and you know what comes next. It counteracts the unpredictability and uncertainty of everyday life. It's… perfect.
There is always a downside to everything. To acting, the downside is when you're rejected in an audition or you don't get the part you want. Whether you're an amateur performer or a professional performer, you shall always have to audition for the show and it is more than likely than you'll get rejected at least once and it's guaranteed that you won't always get the part you want. I know this all too well.
I was a part of a drama society for 15 years. In that 15 years, how many big parts do you think I got? Did I get a solo in every show? Did I have loads of lines to learn? No. I could probably count the solo parts I had on one hand. It was devastating for me. It's not like I couldn't act or sing. I sometimes got good parts so I obviously had some level of talent but when I didn't get the part I wanted, it was difficult for me to understand.
After going through this experience so many times, growing up and maturing and learning, I have developed three thoughts to turn a negative in to a positive and to help myself deal with the disappointment.
First thing to remember is don't take it personally. Whether you act in a professional capacity or simply for fun, the aim of everyone involved is to make the show the best it can be. This means assigning the perfect parts to the perfect people. Often, it's not your fault that you don't get the part you want or any part at all. It's just that you weren't right for that part. Maybe you were better suited to a different part that was smaller but you are perfect for that smaller part. It does not mean you aren't talented. For example - I recently joined a new amateur dramatics group. n the show that we did in October, I didn't have a part at all. However, for the pantomime, I have a part with quite a few lines and two solos. Although I was upset by not getting a part the first time, getting a big part in this show proves that I have some level of talent and that this part is right for me.
If you think the director or a member of the casting crew has a personal issue with you and that's why you don't get a good part, you should talk to the person in charge or even take it up with the person themselves. It doesn't need to be a confrontation, just a civilised grown up conversation.
The second thing which helps me is reminding myself that there will always be more auditions. One failed audition isn't the end of the world. You can try again for a different part in a different show or you can even try for a different part in the same show if auditions come around again. Just because you didn't get one part doesn't mean you won't get another. Keep trying and you will succeed. As the old saying goes: ‘if at first you don't succeed, try and try again.’
The third, and potentially one of the most important things to remember, is that not being in the show doesn't mean you can't still be involved backstage. You don't have to be an actor to contribute to the show. Shows need sets, props, costumes, ticket sellers - you name it and a show probably needs it in some capacity. Without a set or costumes, the show is just a bunch of people reading from a script on a blank stage. Every bit of a show is just as important as the actors themselves. The first show I did with my new drama group, I was selling tickets and allocating seat numbers and doing the raffle. Without ticket sellers, no one will buy tickets and no one will see the show and then what's the point of even performing. It may not seem as important as being in the show but it is. Hold on to that.
Evanna Lynch, the actress who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies, is a real inspiration when it comes to auditions and rejection. Two of her quotes really stuck out to me and they could help you.
‘Don't ever give up. Don't see the obstacles, just the way around them. For me, of course, it looked improbable but not impossible. So as long as there was a way, I would not be discouraged.’
‘I don't want to know what they think of me - there's always going to be someone who won't like it and that'll just upset me. So if I'm happy with it, it just matters if I've done my little vision.’
In short, keep pushing for what you want and believe in your own ability.
You will get there one day, and when you do, it'll be amazing.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.