Home > Entertainment, Los Angeles, Work > Oh, Yes I Did!: The Challenge in NO

Oh, Yes I Did!: The Challenge in NO

Emily has shown up in my posts several times over the past years, though due to administrative failure–by yours truly!–only a single post among them remains live. I wish I could capture in a few words what her friendship means to me, but to do that justice would take a tome. It would need examples, not just abstract reflections; clips from our exchanges, not just vague memories of their totality. Advocate, friend, awesome and much beloved auntie to my son, Emily rocks, and I’m stoked to be able to feature her here. She can also be found at NerdLush.

graduation 3

The Challenge in NO

Boy howdy, can I tell you some stories about the word No! First though-let me introduce myself. My name is Emily and you might have seen me here before. Since Deb deleted the old pictures, here’s one you haven’t seen before:

Me and newborn Li'l D

Me and newborn Li’l D

I work in Hollywood, which means a lot of my life revolves around the word No. The very first no I can recall in my adult life was “No, you shouldn’t go into show business- you’ll never have a stable job!” Everyone I knew told me to major in computer science in college because it would guarantee a stable job and more importantly, receive a stable paycheck. However this all quickly backfired when I showed up to my first programming class I was hilariously rejected and told, “No! Go and take this other class instead, you won’t succeed here.” This was before I knew better than to accept a “No” and decided to go where I would be accepted for being a misunderstood student with a flare for the artistic and I quickly found myself deep within the trenches of the film production and new media program at my university. And as fate would have it… I became the department’s Post Production Girl Friday and one of three people who knew how to use all the equipment and–dare I say it–computers. This became lesson number one: No matter what somebody tells me, I’m going to end up doing it one way or another.

I took this first lesson to heart because once I decided to leave everyone I knew behind in San Francisco and go to Sydney, every time I was told “You can’t do that” – I hung around in the back like the annoying American I could so fabulously be and waited for the tide to change. And of course, everything that I was told I couldn’t do I went and did: made a film, took graduate level classes, even stayed six months beyond my initial student visa. I took “No” as a fancy was of saying “Yes, but as long as you make a point of being an over-achiever about it all.” And it was great.

Armed with what I thought was thick enough skin for Hollywood, I moved back to Los Angeles and began my journey through the bowels of the film studio system. I was one in a sea of millions trying to get my first break, and if that wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t know anybody, and I really didn’t know anything much of anything… but who could say no to a plucky fresh out of college intern? The answer: Everybody. Fortunately, I knew that a No wasn’t really a No so I stuck with it and sent resume after resume. Finally, someone found my resume and I got called in for an interview. That very same day I heard what was the very first honest Yes of my career. Sure, I wasn’t being paid anything (intern) and I didn’t have a car to get from Long Beach to Universal Studios (Look that up on a map. It’s a long way to go without a car!) But I did it Every. Damn. Day. For. A. Year. Even though I only had that one Yes, I knew I was addicted. Within months that internship turned into a coveted PA job. Months later, I was sitting in my very own cubicle with the title of Post Production Coordinator. It even came with business cards, company credit card, and stationary! In my mind, I had made it.

Years passed and one of the saddest things that can happen to a person happened: I became lazy. I was stagnant, bored out of my mind, and a little bit depressed. I couldn’t help but feel that the skywards trajectory had come to a crest after somebody told me Yes. I realized that Yes wasn’t the word I ever wanted to hear; it was No. No meant I had a challenge and something to dream and strive for… Yes meant “Good job, but the road stops here.” And I realized… the road shouldn’t stop. Sure I was in post-production for a major Hollywood studio and I had a lot going on for me but I needed that thrill of the chase. This became lesson number two. So with a heavy heart I told my Studio Executives that I wanted to go out into the world and work in production. For a brief moment, I could see the “No” on their face and that’s when I knew I had made the right decision.

 next : Doing More Than Keeping Up

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  1. March 7, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Love it! The last line was just perfect! You knew it was the right decision,,, wonderful post, i really enjoyed it!

  2. March 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Emily sounds like a real inspiration. Love that ‘I’ll show em’ attitude and the ability to follow through. The world needs that kind of hero.B

  3. March 8, 2014 at 7:45 am

    The universe must have known I needed to read this right now and today! Perfect.

    No, No, No….I need to stop seeing this as a rejection of me personally but instead as a challenge in my life.

    Emily, you are an inspiration. Deb, I love you for bringing this on!

  4. March 13, 2014 at 8:41 am

    My husband always tells me that I’m the type of person that thrives under stress. I argue and say that I am really enjoying this break that I’m on. However, your post just supported what he’s always said (in a much more detailed and highly relatable way). Stagnancy does not do people like us any good. Stagnancy = boredom, laziness, and dissatisfaction. Thanks for your post!

  1. March 14, 2014 at 7:02 am
  2. January 1, 2016 at 7:50 am

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