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The road to success is littered with speed bumps. Every celebrated actor, writer, musician, artist, inventor and entrepreneur has faced debilitating career rejection on their journey to the top. We tell their fascinating stories and break down exactly how they achieved their remarkable goals. Because hidden inside each rejection is a unique insight. And we’re here to find it. At its heart, this podcast is about persistence and inspiration. From the creators of Under the Influence: Executive ...
 
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A Streetcar Named Rejection

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A Streetcar Named Rejection

Andrew L. Ricci and Catherine Mullins

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Have you ever been told you’re just not right for the part? Maybe, you’ve been on a hundred auditions and heard back from zero? Or are you merely a terrible actor searching for mediocre advice? All are welcome. Join Andrew and Catherine as they break down the day-to-day life of an early-career actor, discuss constant rejection, and provide tools that will guide you through this artistic mess. We’re new at this too, so let’s learn together.
 
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Breaking Bad holds the Guinness World Record for highest-rated television show of all time. But back when creator Vince Gilligan was first pitching the series, it was rejected by four major networks. This week, we tell Gilligan’s story. From being told no one in their right mind would let a show about crystal meth air on television, to showrunning …
 
I Love Lucy is one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, bringing in over 30 million viewers per week in its day. But before becoming the queen of prime-time television, Lucille Ball was known as “Queen of the B-Pictures” - pin-balling around Hollywood studios, unable to draw a box office crowd. Join us this week as we tell Ball’s incredible sto…
 
In 2019, 13,684 of the Boston Marathon's entrants were women - making up nearly 50% of total participants. But back in the 1960s, women weren’t permitted into the prestigious annual event, rejected solely on the basis of sex. Until two brave women had enough. Join us this week as we tell the stories of pioneer runners Bobbi Gibb and Kathrine Switze…
 
Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicolas Cage, is considered one of the best romantic comedies of all time. Yet, back in 1987, the screenplay was turned down by Hollywood executives, the actors were told they weren’t bankable and the studio didn’t think the picture had a shot at the box office. Join us this week as we tell the story of Moonstruck - fr…
 
In the year 2000, Linkin Park released its debut album Hybrid Theory, which would become the highest-selling debut album of the 21st century. But pre-platinum records, Porsches and private jets, Linkin Park was called Xero, and they were rejected by 44 music labels. Join us this week as we tell the band’s incredible story - from Xero to 70 million …
 
Laverne Cox is best-known for playing Sophia Burset on the hit Netflix series Orange Is The New Black. But before landing the role of a lifetime, Cox struggled to book auditions. At 40 years old, she found herself in housing court for the second time, on the precipice of homelessness. Join us this week as we tell Cox’s trailblazing story. From bein…
 
Netflix is the de facto name in streaming. A $230B tech giant that’s dominated 190 countries, the Emmys and the Academy Awards. But back when Netflix was just a startup, it was rejected by Silicon Valley CEOs, Harvard alumni, investors and, notoriously, Blockbuster. Join us this week as we tell the founders’ incredible story - from David to Goliath…
 
Spanx has become the de facto brand name for an entire category - like Kleenex or Q-tips. But in the ’90s, the shapewear company’s founder, Sara Blakely, was enduring relentless rejection as a door-to-door fax machine salesperson. Then one day, she cut the feet off her pantyhose. This week we tell Blakely’s inspiring story, from being ridiculed for…
 
Kurt Warner is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, known for leading what’s been called the Greatest Show on Turf. But before being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Warner was cut from an NFL team and ended up stocking shelves at a local grocery store. Join us this week as we tell Warner’s inspiring story. From bags…to riches. See acast.c…
 
Sandra Oh is a Golden Globe-winning actress known for playing Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy and Eve Polastri on the hit drama, Killing Eve. But before receiving 12 Emmy nominations, Oh spent nearly a decade as a day player. She was rejected for major film roles, told there was no room at the top for Asian actors in Hollywood. Join us this wee…
 
Nick Offerman is known for his role as the moustachioed, woodworking, saxophone-playing boss of Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. But before growing out his moustache, Offerman was a struggling actor, living in an unfinished basement and fighting depression after 12 straight years of Hollywood rejection. This week, we tell Offerman’s story. Fro…
 
In 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first woman of colour to ever fly in outer space. A remarkable and historical achievement. But her journey to the stars wasn’t without turbulence. Jemison’s dream to break down barriers and succeed in a white male-dominated field was balked at, every step of the way. Her grit, resilience and determination are out…
 
Muggsy Bogues is a record-breaking basketball player with an impressive 14-year NBA career. He’s among the most beloved players of all time. Oh, and he’s also 5’3”. Growing up in Baltimore, Bogues watched his friends and teammates grow tall, while he reached his peak at just 10 years old. He was bullied, teased and told he’d never make the pros. Jo…
 
Peanuts is one of the most beloved comic strips of all time. Printed in over 2600 publications, it amassed 350 million readers in its 50-year history. But creator Charles Schulz spent most of his life feeling small as peanuts. He was rejected by family, teachers and countless newspapers. Join us this week as we tell Schulz’s amazing story. From bei…
 
Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman - star of the $821M blockbuster and the first woman-led superhero film in over a decade. But before picking up her Lasso of Truth, Gadot spent her days travelling back and forth from her home in Israel all the way to Los Angeles. Each audition meant a 15-hour flight with her family only to find out she was rejected over an…
 
Overnight, Amanda Gorman became a household name. She is the youngest inaugural poet in American history, a National Youth Poet Laureate and a New York Times bestselling author. But before her Instagram following jumped from 3,000 to 3,000,000, Gorman faced rejection and struggled with a debilitating speech impediment. Join us this week as we tell …
 
Mark Ruffalo is an Academy Award-nominated actor, known for his roles in The Kids Are All Right, Foxcatcher and The Avengers franchise. But before stepping into the Hollywood spotlight, Ruffalo was rejected at 800 auditions, ready to give up acting altogether and become a construction painter. Then, news from his doctor threw him for the loop of a …
 
We regret to inform you that today marks our final episode of the season. So we thought we’d do something a little different. This week, Sidney and Terry sit down to chat about the lessons and the stories from Season One AND answer some of your questions. Like - what are the key differences between the rejections of actors and musicians? Why are so…
 
Fred VanVleet is an NBA champion who recently signed a four-year contract with the Toronto Raptors worth $85 million. But before becoming a key player for the Raps, VanVleet was overlooked and underestimated at every single stage of his basketball career. This week, we tell his amazing story. From being rejected by all 30 teams in the NBA draft to …
 
Taraji P. Henson is an Academy Award-nominated actress, known for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Hidden Figures as well as her iconic role as Cookie Lyon in the hit television show Empire. But before taking Hollywood by storm, Henson was rejected from acting school and rejected for parts, making $10 an hour as a receptionist between auditi…
 
In the four short years Wham! was together, they sold 30 million records. Making them one of the best-selling duos of the ‘80s and launching the subsequent career of the late great George Michael. But before reaching the top of the pops, schoolmates and best friends Andrew Ridgeley and Georgios Panayiotou were laughed out of the room by dozens of r…
 
Splash launched the filmmaking careers of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. It put Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah on the map and was nominated for an Academy Award. But as a budding movie producer, Grazer spent seven years trying to sell the script, facing unrelenting rejection from every studio in LA. Join us this week as dive into Grazer’s fascinating sto…
 
Bat out of Hell is one of the top albums of all time according to Rolling Stone. But before going certified platinum 14 times over, before shattering chart records and before selling over 40 million copies worldwide, it was rejected. Over 40 times. Join us this week as we tell Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s incredible story, from being told they were…
 
Back To The Future sits proudly in the Library of Congress National Film Registry as a work of enduring importance to American culture. But nearly 40 years ago when Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis first wrote the script, it was rejected. 40 times. Join us this week at the Twin Pines Mall as we tell the film’s incredible story. From being told by studi…
 
Katy Perry was 15 years old when she was discovered, singing gospel songs in her parents traveling ministry. She quickly signed a record deal and thought she had it made. Little did Perry know, before becoming one of the highest-paid artists in the world, before tying Michael Jackson’s long-held records and before becoming the most-followed woman o…
 
Tyler Perry wears many hats - and wigs. He is a renowned writer, director, producer and actor. But before his massive studio complex, before his millions and before Madea, Perry was a struggling playwright living in his car. He was rejected by television networks and ignored by Hollywood studios. And yet, just this past week, Perry became the lates…
 
The Dyson vacuum is the number one best-selling vacuum cleaner in the United Kingdom. Making its inventor, James Dyson, a billionaire. But back when he first designed his revolutionary cyclone technology, Dyson was rejected by every single vacuum company and every single investor he approached. This week we tell James Dyson’s amazing story. From bu…
 
Dirty Dancing is one of the most iconic cult classic movies of all time. But back when screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein and producer Linda Gottlieb first pitched the script, it promptly received 43 rejection letters. Studios labelled it as “too small, too soft and too girly.” This week we break down the film’s remarkable journey. From a low-budget in…
 
Spanx has become the de facto brand name for an entire category. Like Kleenex or Q-tips. But in the ’90s, the shapewear company’s founder, Sara Blakely, was enduring relentless rejection as a door-to-door fax machine salesperson. When one day, she cut the feet off her pantyhose. This week we tell Blakely’s inspiring story, from being ridiculed for …
 
RuPaul’s Drag Race has won 13 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Reality Host four years running. But RuPaul didn’t sashay into Hollywood overnight. He weathered decades of rejection fighting to be America’s first drag superstar. Join us this week as we tell RuPaul’s fabulous story, from sleeping in Central Park to becoming Supermodel of the World.…
 
In 2020, Ed Sheeran was named UK Artist of the Decade. But 11 years earlier, he was dropped by his own management. And reeling from rejection after rejection by every major label in the country. This week, we break down Sheeran’s inspiring story. From being told he should just give out his music for free to setting the record for the highest-grossi…
 
Lady Gaga is a force of nature. Sitting atop her piano are 11 Grammys and an Oscar. But a star isn’t born overnight. Mother Monster was forged through years of relentless taunting and repeated rejection from the music industry. This week, we tell Lady Gaga’s formidable story. From pounding her keyboard to pounding the pavement to pounding on doors.…
 
In 2019, JAY-Z became the world’s first hip-hop billionaire. But 25 years earlier, no one would give him a record deal, labels said there was no market for his “brand of music” and radio stations refused to play his songs. Join us this week as we take a stroll through the Empire City and unpack JAY-Z’s remarkable story. From Marcy Projects to Madis…
 
Pretty Woman is the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. But back when screenwriter J.F. Lawton first penned the script in 1987, it was neither romantic, nor a comedy. It was a dark drama. This week, we tell the story of the record-breaking film. Starting with Hollywood door slams and ending at the Academy Awards. See acast.com/privacy for…
 
Lisa Kudrow is Phoebe Buffay. Need we say more? But before starring in Friends, Kudrow was told she wasn’t “gorgeous” enough for television. Then, she landed the role of a lifetime. But was fired on day 2 of rehearsals. This week we analyze Kudrow’s incredible journey, from struggling to make rent to becoming the highest-paid actress on TV. See aca…
 
Stranger Things is the #1 television show on Netflix. Its third season brought in 40 million viewers in just four days. But before the sci-fi series broke the Internet, its creators - The Duffer Brothers - were rejected by every major film school. And every major film studio. This week, we break down The Duffers’ amazing story. From their childhood…
 
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