Tony has a great post today dicussing the GOOD that can happen in saying NO to a project. This is defintely a topic that should be taught to young artists (actors & techies alike). Don't like the play? Don't like the part you were offered? Too much on your plate?
Release yourself from the stress and simply say "no".
Haven't we ALL taken a project, that either gave us red flags, or we felt uncomfortable about in some way, and it all just bit uss in the ass? Next thing you know, you're staring aty yourself in the mirror, counting your worry lines on your face and saying, "I should have said no". I know I've had those moments.
Lately, I have been able to be much more selective - it's a little easier since I have a well-paying full time day job, and I'm no longer affiliated with any theatre companies. Easier to pick a project when there aren't any on the horizon. :-) I'm enjoying the "work from show-to-show" pace I have going.
(I should scan a page from my planner from back when I was working full time, helping Speaking Ring produce, working part time at Blue Man AND trying to do outside projects. I must have been crazy - and I know my schedule wasn't even NEARLY as bad as it can be for plenty of others)
Right now, stage managing for Trap Door....Next up? Stage Managing "Hopper" for WNEP. Days off in between gigs? 10. Thats like a year back in the old days... now it seems really short. We'll only be rehearsing 3 days a week, which rocks my world --- and the DCA theatre is pretty darn convenient for me, since it's a 10 minute walk from my job, and when shows are over it's walking distance to the red line.
wait... I got off on a little tangent here... sorry....
Anyway, being selective has really paid off - the last few projects I've worked on have been so rewarding. Metaluna, The Lost Shakespeare Play, 12 Ophelias... There's just nothing LIKE these projects out there, so I'm psyched that I've been a (small) part of some really wonderful art, something that was sometimes missing from those crazy days a few years ago. (Although as a side note, I love how I actually kind of just STATED that I would be stage managing "Hopper" to Don. I never really asked...I just TOLD him I'd be doing it. To which Don didn't bat an eyelash and simply said "Rock 'n Roll")
I completely agree with Tony, though. If someone doesn't take you aside and tell you it's ok to say no, this is something that can take years to be comfortable with. I know it took me a long time to do it.