9 Reasons Why You Didn’t Book the Role

9 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role

You did everything right, but you still didn’t get the role. How can this be? Before you beat yourself up, consider this possibility: it’s not personal.

You act for the love of it. You act for the need you feel to express humanity’s shared and unshared experiences. For the desire to connect. And all that rejection can make you wonder if you’re failing in your craft. However, any Casting Director will tell you just how many talented and hardworking performers they see who don’t get the call back or the role. Here are 9 reasons why you (likely) did not book the acting job. The next time you don’t book, think about these possibilities before you spend too much time fretting. And keep in mind that every “no” leads you closer to a “yes”.

1. Your choices lacked specificity

This one does boil down to skill rather than luck, but we chose to share it as a reminder to always keep working and keep learning. As actors, we need to continuously push ourselves to dig deeper into scenes so that we may make bold choices for our character. Not sure how to do this? Take a Script Analysis or Scene Study class.

2. You’re stuck in a specific type

Your reel is filled with naive, ingénue roles, but you’re ready for something new. Good for you for challenging yourself! If you haven’t already noticed, this might take time. If you auditioned for a new type, it’s likely you showed up in the room differently than expected. Develop tools for bringing out that type and slowly build out your range with lower-risk projects.

3. You don’t fit the culture of the project

Maybe you walked into that audition room with an energy that doesn't fit into the world of the project. If the director doesn’t think you fit, they are saving you a lot of pain by not casting you. Not every set is right for you, but you will find ones that are.

4. You look like someone who was already cast

Casting is like a puzzle. They don’t just have to consider your ability to pull off the role, they also need to consider how you will play against your castmates. Consider the randomness this conundrum inspires! Perhaps your scene partner is really tall and they need to find someone who will match them in height. Or, you might look like someone who was already cast and that will cause confusion amongst the audience. The most important takeaway? It’s not personal; it’s random.

5. Your resume is too short

When you’re just starting out, you lack the experience that directors seek. If you go up against someone who has an impressive reel, they might choose that person over you. They perceive that person to be more reliable than you because of history. It’s their job to make the least risky choice, after all. However, this has nothing to do with your actual ability. Focus on building your resume by auditioning for independent and unpaid roles. Eventually, the perfect opportunity will come.


6. The person who got the job knew the lighting designer

This one can be really frustrating to swallow, but it’s common in the industry. Consider all the famous actors who likely got their start because they knew someone. Sometimes it really is about who you know, and that doesn’t say anything about your talent.

7. You just didn’t look like they imagined the character

Casting tends to be fickle. Each production is the creative team’s baby and they have a vision for the cast before they see a single actor. Perhaps, they have their heart set on a specific look. If you don’t match that look, they won’t be able to see you in that role. It doesn’t matter that wardrobe and makeup can do wonders. If the producer can’t imagine it, you’re not the right fit for them. Some actors do manage to change that set vision. Try to stand out and make each role your own -- you might just sway them.

8. You had a poor reader

Whether this was a self-tape or in-person, sometimes your reader can throw off your audition. Perhaps they attracted too much attention and the director was distracted by the reader. Or, perhaps, the two of you had no chemistry and that impacted your performance.  Work to adapt more quickly to your reader through a class like The Actor's Mind.

9. There is no reason

This is, perhaps, the most important reason: no reason. Everything is not for you and there doesn’t have to be a reason. Release yourself from looking for reasons and recommit to doing the work. You will be happier and you will be focusing your energy on what matters: your art.


Article By: Elsa Dial

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Slide 1
T Schreiber 50 Year celebration logo

Acting Classes: Beginner to Advanced

"One of The Best Acting Classes In New York" --Time Out NY

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