Teachers' blog


【Turning Down Opportunities (part 1)】

(Contributed by Ben)
In classes this week, we’ve talked about opportunities. You either take the opportunity when it comes, or you decline it. (Confusingly, saying ‘no’ to an opportunity can be called ‘turning it down’ or ‘passing it up’).
Last year I turned down quite a big opportunity, and the decision gave me a lot of trouble. It happened like this: about a year ago, some friends of mine made a ‘pilot’ episode for a TV show, to be shown on a local TV channel. A pilot episode is a first episode that might be made into a series. I was the ‘first assistant director’, meaning I helped the director shoot and edit the episode, and I told him things like ‘we have one hour left!’ or ‘there was an emergency, but I fixed it’. I was probably a good choice of ‘1st A.D.’ because I’ve directed a very large number of short films and technically complex videos, and even have some experience on real-life movie sets. We ‘shot’ the pilot, and it was okay. Parts of it were excellent.
The pilot wasn’t ‘picked up’ by the channel (meaning they didn’t want to make a full series), so everyone was a bit disappointed, and the director moved to London. But then, something unexpected happened! (This is where my big opportunity comes up). A new executive took control of the TV channel, and they did commission a series! They asked for six new episodes. Now, the series didn’t have a director, so my friends asked me if I would direct the series!
In the next part of this blog post, I’ll talk you through my decision-making process. Oh, it was agony, making the hardest decision I have ever made. You already know the result of my decision, but I’ll tell you how I reached it.
(end of part 1)

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