How To Pass

As an actor, you’ll have a lot of exciting opportunities and experiences.  You’ll also probably have opportunities that you’ll find just aren’t for you.

Whether it’s a script you don’t like, a role you don’t think is right, or a project you don’t feel comfortable doing, the most important thing to do is to follow your instinct.  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Remember that an audition for a project you aren’t interested in is still a chance to meet the right people, so it’s often in your best interest not to pass on an audition. However, if you get the part and you can’t find a way to make it work for you, sometimes it’s better to say no than to put yourself in a situation that isn’t tenable.

Of course, it’s tough to pass on a project, especially when passing means turning down money, letting your agent down, or possibly burning a bridge.  But there’s a right and a wrong way to pass.  Doing it right prevents a bad situation.  Doing it wrong can, without a doubt, damage your career.

Here are some tips on saying no gracefully:

1. Really think it over first.  Make sure you have several concrete reasons to decline the opportunity.

2. When you decline, emphasize the fact that you’ve given it a lot of thought, but it just won’t work for you.

3. Be thankful for the opportunity.

4. Don’t agree initially, and then decline.  This makes you look flaky.

5. Don’t pass often.  This is called “passing yourself out of a career” and it’ll hurt your reputation.

If you pass on a project as respectfully as possible, you’ll minimize hurt feelings and maximize the chance that people involved with the project will want to work with you again.

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Taylor Reid

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