Teach Me Tuesday: How and Why to say No


(Bri Castellini) #1

Welcome to Teach Me Tuesday! Today’s topic…

When have you said “no” to a job or collaboration, and why did you decline?

Also… how have you learned why it’s important to say no sometimes?


(Bri Castellini) #2

I used to be terrible at saying “no” because my identity is very much structured around the idea of being useful to other people, and if I have to say “no,” I’m not being useful, and then what good am I to that person?

I’ve gotten a lot better at this, though, mostly through time. A list of reasons why I’ve said no either to projects as a whole or to particular roles on a project:

  • I don’t have time to do the work I’ve ALREADY said yes to, let alone adding another project to my plate
  • I don’t like doing the thing they’re asking me to do (producing, running sound, etc)
  • I physically have time to do it but know having a free weekend would be good for me/ my mental health
  • I don’t like the person in charge or we’ve worked together previously and it hasn’t worked out
  • I don’t think I’d be good at what they’re asking me to do and have no particular interest in learning if that’s true or not

(Jaime Lancaster) #3

Since I first started on this forum, I’ve said no to WAY more things! Haha that sounds bad. But it’s been largely because hearing everyone here talk about their process and their common pitfalls I’ve realized that me saying yes to everything wasn’t because I wanted to do everything but because I was afraid of losing a connection or opportunity by saying no, which is dangerous! Especially at student level- if I say no to a bad script and an annoying director, that’s just a win! I should care enough about my future career to only work on things I’m really excited about- and that seems fair to people I say no to too because if I’m not passionate, I’m not the best person for that job!


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #4

I seem to be on the flipside of this because now I say no too much, but I used to say yes to everything. It’s all about balance.

Reasons I say no:

  • The job is too long to be an unpaid gig i.e 1 week or more. (I can only do a day or two unpaid and that’s only if it’s something I’m not experienced in) However I can do this if there is a barter agreement in place.
  • The person running the project is unorganized. I’ve been on sets where the shoot dates are constantly rescheduled and I’m stuck losing those days I set aside for the project when it never happened.
  • I have to set time for my own project. The current predicament I’m in when I say no to most things.

It’s important to say no because not every project is beneficial to you. Knowing the difference is a skill within itself.