• Sean LaFollette


A poem by Sean LaFollette
Searching For Yes

“NO”...I’ve heard this so many times in my career and it never gets easier. You put your heart and soul into something you hold so special, you give it your all and yet you don’t get the “yes”. You don’t get the part, you don’t get into the festival, the studio doesn’t like your script, the studio doesn’t want your script, it’s “no” after “no”, blindly moving forward, hoping to finally hear a “yes”.

I have heard “yes” in my career. It’s only been a handful of times but I have to say, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. Think about it, without all the times you hear “no”, would that one “yes” be as sweet? Would you appreciate it as much if all you heard was “yes” all the time? We need to appreciate the word “no”. We need to hear it, deal with it, accept the challenge and move on to the next one.


My career started as an actor. I wanted nothing more than to help bring someone's script to life on the big screen. I think it’s an amazing craft where you can essentially be anyone, in any place, during any period of time. What a cool job to have. The only problem is, there’s a ton of competition in the industry and you’re going to hear “no” a ton.

I remember my first audition. Thinking it went poorly, I went home, barricaded myself inside and wallowed in my own self pity. Come to find out, the casting director emailed me a week later to let me know they loved me and I was in their top 3. I was likely getting a call back. This was amazing! One audition and the possibility of my first “Yes”, only it never came.

“No” didn’t come either. The film was slated to shoot in Michigan, utilizing their lucrative film incentives. With a new Governor coming to power, the incentive went away and so did the film. I didn’t even get the opportunity to hear a decision. Never knowing kills me more than anything.

Not being one to dwell on the “what if”, I had to treat this situation as a “no”. I had to let it go and move on. I had to take this “no” and make it work for me, not against me. Some people will give up, some will dust themselves off and try again. I decided to just go make my own film. This changed the course of my career entirely.


I often wonder why I never gave acting another shot. Why I didn’t put myself out there and audition more. Why didn't I take the leap and move to tinsel town? Did I not want it badly enough? Did I find passion elsewhere? What’s the true reason?

If I am being honest with myself, I would say the reason for me leaving the craft is because I don’t like to hear “no”. I don’t want my fate in someone else's hands. So, I removed the decision from the equation. I didn’t by any means kill my dream, quit or move on. I am a storyteller and I absolutely love what I do now. I just shifted my gears a bit. I took the word “no”, re-evaluated my path and changed course. I made it work for me.

What I’m getting at is that if you want something badly enough, you will dust yourself off and move on, no matter what it is. You have to eat, sleep and breath this shit. You have to want to hear “no” and fucking appreciate that shit when you do. You have to rise above it, fight another day and move towards that first fucking “yes”.


You’re going to hear “no” and often. When it happens, don’t take offense and don’t take it personally. It wasn’t meant to be. Take a breath, take a moment, let it sink in and move on. Take it as a challenge. If you want it badly enough, you’ll dust yourself off and get your ass back out there. You’ll fight for that next “no” because remember, a “yes” just wouldn’t be as sweet without the “no”.

- The Failed Filmmaker






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