As Christmas approaches, the word generosity keeps coming to my mind. In this season of giving, it seems like a perfect word to guide us to thinking and acting unselfishly. Even when we face our own struggles and suffer from a lack of auditions, bookings, income, attention, and whatever else is on your list, we can find our true value by shifting our focus to the industry and the people in it we can serve.
You may be thinking, “I don’t have the money to buy presents for friends and family. How on earth do you expect be to be generous?” Forget presents in the tangible form for a moment. Think about what your presence provides instead and what gifts only you possess.
Many of us use this time of year to reflect on what we accomplished over the last 12 months and what we aim to achieve in the coming year. It’s a good time to do so during the transition from 2015 to 2016 yet solely focusing on what you have and don’t have pulls you away from the spirit of generosity. So I came up with a list of 10 ways to be a generous actor in the new year, regardless of whether you’re “successful” or getting auditions or adding credits to your IMDb page.
10 Signs of a Generous Actor
- You’re always about the work first, shining a spotlight on the project, the director, the writer, or the team first before praising yourself.
- You celebrate the success of peers without expectation of praise returned, whether in person or using social media.
- You remain humble about your own accomplishments, and receive praise from others graciously.
- When given the gift of good advice, direction, or feedback, you are grateful and express that gratitude openly.
- When a peer asks for help, however big or large the request, you make time to accommodate to the best of your ability.
- You show up to auditions and to set ready to exceed expectations.
- When you spot opportunities suitable for peers you know and respect, you waste no time in letting them know.
- You create a brand for yourself that does not get altered by amount of money or size of role offered
- You show kindness to every person at an audition or on set, regardless of perceived importance of their position.
- You aim to create a lasting legacy with your day-to-day participation in the business and your body of work.
It can be hard to see the benefits of having a generous nature when looking at social media constantly. Every day I see actors begging for likes on Facebook when they could be finding ways to serve the industry. It’s virtually impossible to measure what you get back by giving to others and it sets a tone for how you conduct yourself in what is often considered a cutthroat business.
My Christmas wish for you is to find inspiration in these words and create a routine where you actively seek ways to make contributions to our craft and our business that involves giving freely to others. To actor friends. To scene partners in auditions. To a new acquaintance at an industry mixer. Just give and give without invitation or expectation. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by starting and ending every day with generosity.