I just had to turn down a paying gig and possibly piss off some important people because I had serious moral issues with the film I was set to work on. Now, I don't want to pass judgement on other peoples decisions in this regard. It's a very personal sort of thing, but I'm wondering if other people have done anything similar? How do you do it? How do you avoid it? Where are the lines for you? For me, the line his hate speech. I try to avoid but will still do things I find personally disturbing but draw the line at anything that advocates hatred or violence towards a subset of society.
Working in post, we don't get much control over content and I look at my job as helping people be heard even if I disagree with them, but how can I be proud of the positive work I do without taking responsibility for the negative?
This is a potentially sensitive subject but I trust everyone here to be respectful of everyones viewpoint.

4 Answers 4


That's a situation that, thankfully, I haven't encountered in my work yet, but I think you're justified in turning it down. I'm of the opinion that you you leave a piece of yourself (consciousness, opinions, etc.) in any work you contribute to. There are a number of people who advocate that you should only work on projects you can be excited about, because it draws out your best work. We don't all have that luxury, but I think avoiding work for the reasons you mentioned is a wise decision. Putting yourself in that situation would be additional stress above the usual level, and your work will reflect that. If your work falls short, then the piece suffers...potentially leaving you with an unhappy client anyways. Just my opinion.

I'm hoping this went down before the stage where you would have started working on it, because that WOULD be bring the problem to an even higher level. This is another reason to get as much info as you can about a project before agreeing to contribute.

  • Thanks Shaun. Those are good thoughts. In this situation I was involved via a 3rd party. When I deal with clients directly I'm pretty good about vetting, but in this case I was working for someone else and didn't get the script until agreements had been made. But no, I hadn't started working on it so that's good. I Usually find something to get excited about even on projects I'm not in love with. I think that's a good skill to have. But you're right, if you can't do that it will be reflected in the work.
    – Brendan
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 20:38


It was the right thing to do. I had already said yes, saw the film, then asked to be taken off. It never came back to haunt me. Follow your heart ... always.


I have actually turned down projects because I found the subject matter particularly upsetting - a documentary on the genocide of kids in Rwanda comes to mind. Not that the material was glorifying the events, but as a recent father at the time, I simply knew that it would be emotionally and mentally too hard on me, so I politely declined and offered another name - and yes the client came back.

Everyone's line will be different of course. And some will belittle you for it, but that's just human nature. At the end of the day, if you can do your job, and be comfy in your own skin, you've done well, no?


I turned down working on a film because of the director. I just didn't feel right working for the person based on their "activity" before the show was to start.

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