By Sami DeSocio
When you’re an actor, every audition that comes along plays out in your head as a “big chance!”, especially if you’re just starting out. Saying “no” is something that actors are told to not have in their vocabulary. We’re told it’ll hurt our chances of ever being cast again. But, there are in fact times where it’s alright to say no!
First and foremost: are you being asked to do something that could actually get you hurt? Not prat falling or anything like that, but legitimately could hurt you? Say no before you do get hurt– your craft of acting isn’t worth putting yourself in real, uncontrolled danger (ie: stunts without supervision and instruction).
Second, do you feel safe at the theater? You may feel completely safe once within its walls, but is the area surrounding it dangerous? Are the streets well lit or is it pitch black outside? Have you been warned you can’t venture outside the theater unless its part of a group? Its perfectly acceptable to say no to this.
This is one that’s more for young performers: Is your school work suffering? Sorry kids, until you turn eighteen and can make your own decisions (and of course live with the consequences), school is an important part of your life and future (Stay in school! Trust me on this one!). Were you once an A student who’s now barely passing? It;s okay to say no, and in some cases, some schools will actually ban you from an after-school activity like theater until your grades improve! Keep priorities in check!
And finally, if the company is hostile, doesn’t treat their actors correctly, or is known for being verbally and emotionally damaging to people who come through to do their shows, say no! Nobody should be put in a situation that makes them uncomfortable or unwanted. Rejection is one thing, that we all need to face regularly, but mistreatment is another thing altogether.
Otherwise, say yes! Yes, you might be uncomfortable with some things in the show or movie you’re in, but that’s how you learn as an actor and as a human being. If you’re put in one of the mentioned situations though, it is perfectly acceptable, that you say no! Remember: There will always be another show!