(Contributed by Ben)
So my friends asked me to direct a TV series for a local TV station.
I was shocked, and I was flattered. I did have quite a lot of relevant experience, but this was far bigger than my biggest project. I was filled with excitement and horror! I had a real mix of feelings. So I looked at the pros and cons, the reasons I should say yes and the reasons I should say no.
* It’s a big opportunity
* It could advance my creative career
* It would be a challenge, and challenges help us grow
* I would be helping my friends and boosting my careers
* I could do something creative for a big audience.
* It was terrifying
* I didn’t really know if I was skilled and experienced
* It was a lot of work. Like, really, a huge amount of hours
* There was no pay, and no reward.
* It would be incredibly stressful, because if I made a mistake it could spoil it for the actors, the crew and the audience.
* When I get too stressed I get ill, and this would certainly make me too stressed, every day.
It looks like a fairly well-balanced set of pros and cons. Maybe the cons outweigh the pros. But there’s something else, as well as pros and cons. There’s guilt! Every time I thought about saying ‘no’, I felt guilty. I worried I would let my friends down if I said no. I worried I was failing them, if I didn’t support their artistic careers. I worried that they wouldn’t want to be my friend if I didn’t serve them in this way. And I felt guilty to myself, for throwing away a career opportunity. Was I a fool?
It was a very stressful week of decision. Too stressful. I talked to friends, and they all said ‘do it’, and ‘say yes’. But I said no. Why? Because I scrutinised my heart, and I looked at the pros again.
* It’s a big opportunity, but not a good one.
* It would help to advance SOMEONE’s creative career, but not mine. I don’t really want to be a TV director. For someone who did want that, this would be an amazing chance.
* It would be a challenge, but not a healthy challenge. I would get sick with worry, and what for?
So in the end I told them no. I felt bad, because I always try to help my friends. But just this once, I said no, because the cost in stress and health would have been too high. Because of my experience, it was probably the right choice for their project, but their project was not the right choice for me.
It’s OK to say no to big opportunities. That’s what I tell myself. I will still help them make it, but I can’t take all that responsibility. One day ‘my hour will come’, but this show is someone else’s time to shine.