The power of no is an important topic in the industry. There has been plenty of discussion on when and how to say no. Actors should always know that declining an offer is always an option, and from time to time it’s the best option. There is also a time to say yes. With so much talk of no, sometimes the less-than-obvious reasons to say yes get lost.
Commercial actors should never say no before carefully considering the reasons to say yes.
The most common reason actors say yes to a commercial booking is to make good money. It’s the reason many actors pursue commercials at all! It’s great when your commercial career can serve as your day job and supplement your theatrical career when that’s the bigger goal. Money is the easy yes. But there shouldn’t be an automatic no if the good money isn’t there.
Other reasons to say YES:
To be known by the casting office.
Do your research. What commercial casting offices have you not been to, or not visited often enough? Commercial casting directors cast all kinds of jobs. Some jobs are great (pay) and some aren’t. Are they casting a PSA? A spot for a directors reel? Something under the Low Budget Digital Waiver, a promo or industrial? These types of commercial jobs traditionally don’t pay well, but you may want to submit and be seen anyway, simply to be seen (and loved!) by the office. When you are fantastic delivering the endless copy for the industrial audition, you can be sure they’ll call you in on additional, likely more lucrative jobs. Not only should you say yes to the audition, but you will want to arrive completely prepared and be fantastic. Saying yes to the audition but not doing the required prep work, isn’t going to help the cause. Cultivating a casting office full of fans of your work is a great reason to say yes.
To work with the director and producers.
Just like casting offices, directors and producers work on all kinds of commercial and theatrical jobs. Some great, some not so much. Again, research helps. Sometimes the industry professionals are well established and should be an obvious yes to working with them on their less than fantastic job because a bigger better job is likely around the corner. Producers and directors request specific actors they know from past jobs to be called in for an audition on a regular basis. But, there are also up-and-coming directors that may not have earned all their stripes just yet. It’s an easy gamble when you take a look at their previous work and it’s great, or they are repped by a cool production company. Making great new contacts and forming relationships are brilliant reasons to say yes.
Work begets work.
The new or strengthened relationships you’ve built by saying yes to the casting office, producers, and directors will always help provide future opportunities to secure work. You also never know who you will meet on set. Meeting industry people of all sorts is beneficial. Plus, your confidence increases the more you audition, book, and work, and confidence is a massive help in furthering your career. You know you can book the job when you walk into the audition room after you’ve just booked something, good payday or not. That confidence is everything. This seems like a sound reason to consider a yes.
Having fun is always a good reason to say yes to a job, even when the pay isn’t good. Your agent can help you iron out specifics. Fun isn’t a good reason to be taken advantage of as an actor, but the fun factor should count! There are plenty of aspects of the industry that aren’t fun. If you have a strong suspicion that the shoot of the job at hand will be a fun experience, consider how valuable that fun factor will mean to you in the moment and consider a yes.
There is power in saying no to auditions and jobs that aren’t right for you. Just consider the possibly underrated reasons to say yes when making those important decisions, as well.