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Want To Book More Auditions? Rethink
How You React To Frequent Rejection 
January 28, 2016

By J. Christopher Dunn

Voice Actor

When you make the choice to become a voice actor or other freelancer, itís easy to get blinded by the sheen of unicorns and the brilliance of rainbows when you hear that work is abundant, more than enough for everybody.

It sounds positive and rejection-free.

All you do is open up a personal studio and start auditioning or sending out proposals.

But rejection is ongoing for freelancers, and it happens in a batch of all new ways:
  • Your quote is over budget.
  • Your style is not what they were looking for.
  • Too old.
  • Too young.
  • Too American. 
  • Not American enough.
  • Decided to use a male instead of a female. 
  • Decided to use a female instead of a male.
  • Prospect decided to go in a different direction (theyíve hired somebody else) and gave no reason.
  • No response to your audition, simple quote or proposal.
Get the point? Donít focus on the rejection. Itís not about you personally.

Instead learn how to make lemonade out of the lemons that come your way.


There is no one in the business of voice over, or other freelance work for that matter, who has not been rejected. Let that sink in a moment.

Risk is involved with your choice to freelance. Youíll be meeting new clients and taking on projects you never thought you would.

The way to get what you want is to remember not to be afraid of the word "no."
"I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.Ē - Billy Joel
Countless voice talents have gone before you, and had they given up, would not be where they wanted to be, where they saw themselves. The word "no" is part of the freelance equation. If "yes" was easy to get, everybody would be a freelancer.


After submitting an audition to a client for consideration, you hear back from them that theyíve found the talent they were looking for Ė elsewhere. Theyíll keep you in mind for future work.

There are a number of things that could have had an effect on that talent seekerís decision:
  • Their mood because of the speeding ticket earned on the way to work.
  • Their mental state affected by a venti latte they dumped on themselves.
  • They think you sound like their ex-wife or estranged father.
The list of potentially pointless craziness is limited only by imagination, and there is nothing about you they are attacking.
"If I went by all the rejection Iíve had in my career, I should have given up a long time ago.Ē
- Mike Myers

Since youíre a pro at what you do, the audition you submitted was amazing. Just because they felt it wasnít a good fit for what they were looking for, doesnít mean it wouldnít have worked for somebody else.

Another way to look at it: just because a red car isnít right for you, doesnít mean itís not right for somebody else looking for a car. Make sense?


"I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.Ē - Sylvester Stallone
Why are some voice actors booking while others only hear about amazing projects?
  • Talent aside, are those people being hired because they are better at marketing themselves?
  • Is it because their website and business cards were designed by an award-winning studio?
  • Do they take risks and continue to stretch their talents?
Hmmm Ö Maybe itís the way they handle rejection. It takes several "no" prospects to get to a "yes" client. If you give up on yourself before hearing "yes," youíll never understand your potential.

It is a good idea to evaluate as you go and make adjustments as needed:

Truthfully ask yourself why a high rate of "no" responses are coming your way. Be willing to make changes. Perseverance is a trait of successful freelancers of any type.


Thereís more to "yes" than landing a gig. What you do after receiving a job is to grow your clientís happiness. Thatís what keeps them returning for more.
"Sometimes I feel my whole life has been one big rejection.Ē - Marilyn Monroe
Keep on top of communication with your new client:
  • Respond to their email and phone calls in a timely manner.
  • Ask questions when in doubt about something in their script.
  • Be interested in their project.
  • Meet their deadlines.
  • Or better yet, deliver early.
  • Be willing to do what it takes to keep them, within reason of course.
  • And, follow up with them after delivery of your audio files to make sure they have everything they need.
  • Avoid reasons for their rejection.
Put yourself in the seat of the producer who listens to dozens of auditions, trying to find the sound thatíll match their project. Itís hard.
"You get used to the rejection and you donít take it personally.Ē - Daniel Craig
Making a choice is difficult when considering several equally talented people. And, nobody enjoys the process of telling everybody else theyíve made a decision thatís favoring another person.

When youíve been told another talent has been selected for the project, be gracious and thank the producer for their time. Remember, this isnít about you.

Most often youíll not hear back when youíre not the one selected. And if youíre told theyíll keep you in mind for other projects, donít consider it as lip service. Iíve had clients reach out to me for subsequent projects when I was the best fit.

Have a thin skin? Make an effort to build one thicker and resilient.

And, keep in mind, you can do everything right and still not get booked. Detach and move forward.


Rejection is not about you. Many things will influence a personís decision not to book you for the job. These are out of your control.

You donít have an exclusive membership to Club Rejection. Most everyone who freelances has heard "no."

Make an effort to prevent rejection by existing clients. After being booked for a job, deliver on customer service and do what it takes to create a repeat client.
J. Christopher Dunn is a professional voice actor who lives in the Pacific Northwest close to Seattle. He voices commercials, web demos, podcasts, product demonstrations, telephony projects and documentaries. His voice is described as friendly, warm and trustworthy - the guy next door or the voice of high profile corporate presentations. He also spends time with the Penn Cove Players, a Whidbey Island, WA troupe that performs original audio dramas, as we all as recreates old time radio shows in front of a live studio audience.

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Comments (4)
John Lesser
2/3/2016 at 9:06 AM
Chris's comments in his recent article truly resonated with me...still rejection is hard to take. Like any artist, rejection is personal. However, over the years I have learned one thing that helps me with rejection. Do your very best in the audition then forget it, move on. That would be my advice. At least it works for me.
J. Valentino
1/29/2016 at 5:24 PM
This is a really good, helpful, well written article. Print it out and put it in the sound booth.
1/28/2016 at 3:24 PM
Thank you for the article, Christopher. Agree, it's selection, NOT rejection. Often times, we performing artists will do EVERYTHING correctly and not be rewarded for it; doesn't mean we should stop. Stopping guarantees failure.
1/28/2016 at 3:13 PM
Excellent article, especially for a new talent like me. Thanks!
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