Many people are devoting Labor Day weekend to rest or recreation. Not me. I thought investing some time to talk about work right now on the verge of a holiday to honor social and economic achievements of American workers made sense. So here on a Sunday, I’m going to share some ways my fellow actors can find opportunities to be of service in the coming week.
The messages in this space tend to speak to newcomers to acting but this time I am expanding my reach. This topic is far more inclusive. It’s especially important for veteran stage and screen actors to remember they’re here to serve their local, regional, and national communities, too.
I came up with a list of 10 ways any actor can be or become an actor of service. That’s where service to others is an intention, not a by-product of your career. You will see how you can begin doing any of these 10 on the list, one at a time perhaps, and start to incorporate them into your daily schedules.
10 Ways to be an Actor of Service
- Look at someone else’s work and give feedback. It might be a demo reel, a clip, or a short film. Take the time to watch and share some constructive thoughts, not just empty praise.
- Offer a ride. Traveling for auditions can be expensive. If you have a vehicle, offer to bring another actor to the same audition.
- Offer to be a reader. Taped auditions almost always require a reader. Let peers know you’re willing to read for them before the need arises.
- Host or organize an event. Hosting a gathering could help your acting community create connections. Organizing a table read could do the same, while focused on giving the writer a chance to hear the script come to life, get feedback from the actors, and move forward in strengthening all parts of the story.
- Refer an actor to a job. When you see a casting that seems to describe actors you know, tell them about it.
- Use social media to promote a person other than yourself or a project you’re not in. Creating good relationships in this business is perhaps the most valuable act you’ll ever do.
- Create a list of actors whose work you value and whose work ethic you would endorse. At some point, you may be asked if you know anyone who would fit the role—and talent alone is not the deciding factor.
- Attend networking events as a connector, not a promoter. Give yourself the task of connecting people who could be beneficial to each other rather than spending the evening selling yourself.
- Find ways to use your acting skills to help others. Your ability to memorize lines, improvise, or speak comfortably in public could be used to help youth or adults in your community, for example.
- Organize a group of actors to volunteer together. This is a whole other kind of service, service to an organization or a community. It’s helpful to show people outside of the business that actors know how to give in other ways.
In my career, I have done each one of these and I have benefited from others who have done the same. Just last month, an actor friend spotted a film casting suitable for me, prompting me to contact my agent and get invited to submit for the role. My hope is that you will become one of these people who invests in relationships, mutually beneficial ones, and aim to make lasting contributions to our industry.
Happy Labor Day!