Take for example, a film I've just cast. For the lead female role alone, I had 300 applicants. 220 of those weren't applicable, they didn't fill what was needed. I didn't reject them; they just simply didn't read the breakdown. Many of these actresses will feel like they were rejected.
Then I sorted through about eighty possibilities. I had to think about where they were located, how they would fit with my potential lead actor, their experience, how friendly they are and numerous other factors. 'How friendly they are' is a big one. About forty of the actresses were either impersonal, seemingly disinterested, or rude. Disinterested may seem like a strange thing, you wouldn't expect it from a young actress-- but it's common. Or maybe it's disillusionment. It normally comes in a covering letter that says, "Hi Mike. I'm interested in the role, I have lots of experience, Lucy." To begin with, my name isn't Mike. Secondly, when someone is really interested in a role, they express it. So at this stage-- many actresses are either rejecting themselves, or rejecting the idea of being cast in the film.
I mention disillusionment because many actors, after, say 50 failed applications, start to take it out on the process and the person they're emailing. They may have spent a month writing beautiful crafted, inspired and personal covering letters to casting directors for various projects, with no success. That's sad, it's disappointing, but it wasn't the fault of me or my project; yet, the after-effects of the actor's previous failures show up in the emails I receive. World-weariness is not an attractive feature in a potential collaboration.
The audition itself is a fascinating process. I'm very aware of the strange rank that directors have. Whereby, I could be a car salesman by day, but if I call myself a Director by night; I am afforded a strange superiority in an audition room. Many Director's play up to this - making auditions difficult for actors. That's usually down to ego, or inexperience, or both in a Director. For me, I don't use this power - certainly not in the way many others do. Instead, I'm just excited. There are, say, seven actresses coming to read for us -- and I'm excited because, having filtered through 300 people, I've found seven of whom I want to meet and see if they're what we need in the film. Already, the seven actresses have achieved something incredible. Any actor who ever gets an audition should be aware that they are doing magnificently; they are rising far above the crop of literally thousands of competitors. The mere fact you have an audition means someone involved in making a movie sees something in you that they want in their project. The more you have online in terms of headshots, videos, and details, the more you can be certain of your success-- despite a chance to be rejected for your look, acting, experience, hobbies, height, weight, weird feet, whatever-- despite all that, you're wanted in the room. You are an amazing success!
The problem is: when I audition seven people for a role, I can only use one. By this point, myself and the people helping me cast need to figure out; what actor is right for the role? Do they fit the energy of the film? Will they 'fit' opposite the other actors? Do they have the right coloring to fit in with the family members we cast? Usually at this point, 3 or 4 are out of the picture due to various answers from those questions. Those that are left, cause much pain for casting director's because they're all so great, and everyone is divided on who to cast. "Cast Donna with Michael, they'd look so amazing together!" "No no no, cast Katharine, she's got that perfect face for a monster!" "Hold on, what about Eva?". Etc etc. What is happening here is not rejection, it's figuring out who fits, figuring out how to make it work.
So we cast Eva. But I want to keep in touch with Donna and Katharine. I email them telling them that they're completely awesome, and that we should definitely do something soon. Unfortunately, Katharine and Donna may very well see this as a rejection. Of course, they didn't get the role, and that's disappointing. But is it the big thud of rejection that they're currently feeling as they consider changing careers? It's not. They were WONDERFUL, it's just that I can only cast one person, and even though they may very well be perfect for the role, it just so happens that someone else has a similar nose to the person playing their Dad, or they have the opposite hair color of their partner, or the costume people just rang up and said we can have the bigger size monster costume for free as there's one going spare, or a million other reasons.
Rejection is the worst possible term you can use when you don't get a role. The majority of the time, it's not rejection. And if you insist on calling it rejection-- be aware, along the way to whatever particular rejection you received, were many many positives. And there is always one more time.