3 Compelling Reasons for the “No”
The other day I was on site and asked the lighting director and the technical director what it would take to make something happen . Sometimes I ask these questions not because we need to do it, but because I need to know what it would take to make it happen. I’m anticipating the client request before it comes. Why would I do that? Because I want to be able to say yes to the client should the request come and if I have to say no, I need to have a compelling reason for the no.
Honestly, there aren’t a whole lot of reasons to say no. Most anything can be done with enough time, money and talent. However there are some times that no is the answer.
If you’ve ever put together your home stereo system, you know that there is a tangle of wires that need to be sorted and plugged into the right input and the right output. Do it wrong and you won’t hear your beautiful music or see your TV light up. The technology for a show is like your home stereo on steroids. So if we are in show and a guest speaker wants to plug in his computer backstage so we can put it to screen, the answer is no. If anyone wants to put anything into the video switching system without testing it first, the answer is no. The risk is just too high.
This is one of those subjective things but it’s subjective in the same way that we all know bad manners when we see them. Here’s an example. We most always hang a truss in front of the stage. Recently we did a show when we hung moving lights to the truss. One of those moving lights was focused on the client logo. If we had bally-hooed the other moving lights too much the instrument that was focused on the logo would start to sway. That logo is the most important thing in the set. It was unacceptable that its light would sway during the CEO’s presentation. So no bally-hoos.
Sometimes there simply isn’t enough time or the equipment is unavailable. Sometimes we have to say no simply because it can’t be done.
You’ll note that being a pain in the neck is NOT listed as a compelling reason for the no. I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in being “done” that we don’t want to make improvements, we stop thinking of ways to “plus it up”. That attitude though is lazy and frankly the mentality of the average person.
If you’re good with being ok, then that’s cool. But if you want to work with really cool clients, who have the budgets to do really cool things, then you’re gonna have to stretch outside of just ‘ok’ and keep thinking, “How can we make this even better?