yes, ok, why not?
Rather than a full bio, I’ll outline a particular infuriating pattern which runs through many of my professional failures: saying yes.
In many situations I’ve taken a job or helped out on a project where I really, really should have said no - or I could have easily saved myself much trouble with a ‘yes, but…’ or ‘maybe, but…’
But in other cases, there’s really only one appropriate response: ‘fuck no.’
And yet, over, and over again, I found myself saying ‘yes, sure’. Usually these were low-paid projects offered at times of desperation. The rent had to be paid, no other offers were on the table. But looking back I can’t understand how I said yes to some of these.
In 2008, I had no computer, but I needed one to make music videos… so I said yes to editing 14 episodes of a horrendous, moronic reality TV show mostly revolving around tanks, cleavage and explosions. What I got for this was a hundred bucks per episode, a lesson in misogyny, and the use of the edit suite during any downtime (there wasn’t much downtime). I only managed to make one music video during this period.
And now, as much as I’d like to forget it, guess what comes up first when you search me on IMDB?
I said yes to editing a low-budget bilingual ‘Idol’ show called Maorioke, I said yes to shooting a 3am gig by a trash-techno band called ‘the dead crackwhores in the trunk’. And then I still said yes to helping on their dreadful music video. Only a couple of years ago I said yes to a 2-hour instructional video about building 3D printers. After 5 months of underpaid, overworked struggle, it was published. 6 months later I received my first royalty letter. We sold 52 copies. As it turns out, my pay had been an advance - I still need to sell another 650 more courses just to pay the company back their few hundred Euro. Nobody is buying the course, and they didn’t let us use an open license, so we can’t even give it away.
I’ve wasted months and months and months of time and energy working on useless crap over the years, and it’s agonising knowing I could have avoided so much in the fraction of a second it takes to say ‘no.’