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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

June 22, 2011

We’ve all heard this industry is 99% rejection. We understand that auditioning is our job and performing is our vacation. Still, I’m always amazed at the creative ways people find to tell you “We don’t want you in our play”. Here are some of my favorite “Hey, better luck next time”s:

“Thank you for your audition. The show has now been completely cast.”–Really? Am I IN said cast?

“Unfortunately, it did not work out for you.”–This is also what I tell people who wear jeggings. It’s a priviledge, not a right, ladies.

“We’ll be in touch.”–the theater world’s equivalent to “Let’s do lunch!” It never happens

“Good for you.”–I actually laughed out loud when a director told me this. This is what I tell three year olds when they’re being potty trained.

“The cast list is…”– This is a pretty good way to start a Nancy Kerrigan/Tony Harding-esc situation amongst the cast and not-cast.

“We do not have a part for you at this time.”– …What if I call back in an hour?

The truth is, all of these are better than the phone call that never comes. Even worse is the terrible “Great! I’m gonna bring you in for a callback”…and then nothing. It sends a girl straight back to my mother’s teenage years of waiting by the phone for a boy to call. Did they lose my number? Should I call them? What if that “unknown” number was actually them and they didn’t leave a message? Personally, I would like to start hearing things like this:

“Great monologue, but unfortunately you look exactly like my bitch of an exgirlfiend”

“Thank you, but I have heard that song seven times today and I really hate it.”

“What were you thinking with that outfit?”

“My leading man is skinnier than you so….”

I mean, let’s cut out the “It’s not you, it’s me” crap and tell it like it is, shall we?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2011 8:15 am


  2. The Reflective Artist permalink
    June 22, 2011 8:40 am

    I enjoy very much your tone in this entry. It feels so familiar to my own. And I do often contemplate how many people think I look just like their ex. (Seriously: that is my favorite way to deal with wondering why I haven’t gotten something.)

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about the “Thanks but no thanks” email myself. Sometimes I feel better about not hearing anything at all. But the thing I hate most about the form email is that it usually means I have also been placed on the listserv for that theatre company, so I get every other email about what’s going on with them, like invitations to the fundraiser they’re hosting for the show they did not cast me in. Awkward. As much as I would like to project that I am seriously interested and invested in the future of every company that decides to “go another way,” it is not always the genuine truth.

    • June 22, 2011 8:51 am

      Ugh, TOTALLY. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I get on the mass email list for theatre companies I did not get cast by. Tacky tacky tacky.

      • The Reflective Artist permalink
        June 22, 2011 8:57 am

        I know, right? There should be a box on every audition form asking if you’d like to be included on their list or not. Of course, then actors will get conflicted about checking that off–“If I say no, will they not cast me?!” Ugh. So over it. Let’s not waste eachothers’ time/inbox space. Please.

  3. Stars in the Eyes Actress Blog permalink
    June 22, 2011 9:00 am

    How amazing that you were able to turn this post, about the most horrific part of the bizz, into a funny one! I would love it if we got feedback sometimes. Can you imagine the amount of doubt it would take away? Which is exactly what makes everything so hard. I can understand they can’t elaborate on their decision for 3000 people but once you get to the last rounds of an audition it would be so nice.

    Although I do think, most of the times, the reasons for them rejecting us won’t help us much. I mean, if I write, I have a certain idea in my head about the character and it’s the same for them. We may do the most awesome acting job, but if they were looking for someone more edgy/cute/redheaded/exotic/girly/athletic/punk/plain that’s not something we can help anyway. And so we would get this feedback and still be like: ok whatever that’s beyond my control..

    Stars in the Eyes – An Actress on her Way from Holland to Hollywood

  4. June 22, 2011 1:52 pm

    I love this post!
    My personal favorite is “We’ve gone in a different direction”. So was I on the wrong road, or did you make a U-turn?!

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