Negotiating a peace treaty between two warring nuclear nations, swimming with the sharks, attempting to discover the secrets of the universe, persuading a kid to watch The History Channel instead of Cartoon Network, searching for a needle in a haystack, curing oneself of one’s addiction to F.R.I.E.N.D.S are ALL a piece of cake when compared to the odious, stressful, nerve-wracking, masterly task of saying ‘No’ to a film offer without hurting the feelings of the director/producer (lest in the future, you regret saying ‘No’ in the first place!)The Art of saying ‘no’ is one that an actor masters along the way, after making quite a few mistakes—one of the mistakes being the films he should have said ‘No’ to! Of course, it gets relatively simpler if the opposite party is a relative stranger, and not a relative or a relatively close friend. No pun intended.
First, let me elaborate on the various reasons as to why an actor decides to refuse a film. The foremost reason is always the script. It may not be exciting enough, the role may not suit you, the role may suit you but it may not be what you are looking to do at that point in your career. The second is the price. This one is simpler…it’s just not enough! The third and the weakest of all reasons are ‘dates’ (which, by the way, get miraculously adjusted if the first two reasons pass the test!). But the interesting thing to note is that this order is completely reversed during the delicate and diplomatic process of refusing.
The first excuse used by an actor is always ‘dates’. A smart producer/director usually reads the fine print and graciously backs off. But in the infuriating case of him being obstinate and bull-headed, an actor has to resort to heavier artillery — price — which, of course, will now be exorbitant, unreasonable and unpayable.
In the miraculous event of the man still not taking the hint and agreeing against all laws of economics to fulfil your demand, with a heavy heart, one drops the bomb and blames the ‘script’. Usually, this works like a charm. BUT…that word again! If the man, who by now you realize is either in love with you or delusional, further agrees to alter/change the script as per your liking, in addition to paying the above mentioned unbelievable price, in dates which fall two calendar years later, the actor surrenders and makes the mistake of saying ‘YES’, which brings him back to re-looking and examining the methods he needs to adopt to say ‘No’.
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