Monday, July 26, 2010

entertainment industry coach Question 509: How do I deal with producers changing their mind after I've been hired?

The question read: I was hired last week via a phone interview for a job. I got a call yesterday saying that the producers changed their mind and decided to go with someone with more credits than I have. I was a bit stunned. What is the best way to deal with a situation like that? I don't want to be like a deer in headlights nor do I want to be the person who screams their head off at them. Where is the middle ground in a situation like that?

Unfortunately, there's really no way to avoid the "stun." It's human to get excited about a job and then to have the rug pulled out from under you, is disarming. Your best road is always the high road. So, definitely stay clear of the screaming route. The middle ground is to see if there's a way to maintain the relationship. I know it can be hard when you're in the midst of getting an "emotional punch to the gut," BUT I have worked this road with many of my DPs who've had excellent interviews, didn't get the job, and maintained a relationship with the interviewers (producers, directors). This has led to a number of them either getting the second picture, or being brought in on the original picture they'd interviewed for when it didn't work out with the original hire.

You just never know where handling a situation with appreciation and grace can lead to.

Actions to take in this regard:

1. Tell them you're still thrilled that the project is a go and you'd love the opportunity to see how shooting is going (or be invited to a screening, etc).

2. Thank them, wish them the best, and let them know should their circumstances change, and they find themselves needing your assistance in the future, you are happy to jump back on board.

And just for your own sanity... keep a little notebook for all those names to whom you want to "unthank" during your Oscar acceptance speech :-)

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