Happy Holidays! This is a time I am reminded that it is the season for giving.
We get so caught up with our busy lives we tend to forget this and not give it the attention it deserves.
My acting coach from my early days of training, Edward Kaye Martin, used to talk to us about giving and providing service. I don’t have his exact quote but it was something like this:
“Actors, don’t forget you are in the service business. You are providing a service to people. They buy a ticket and watch you perform. You are not selling them a physical item that they will consume, like toothpaste, a hot dog, or a pair of shoes. You are providing them a service. It might be to make them laugh, make them cry, think, feel, learn, escape, or even distract themselves from their own lives. The process of acting involves giving yourself to your character, the imaginary circumstances, your partner, and then ultimately to the audience. It is service work.”
My suggestion this month is to practice giving. Make an extra effort to be of service, do something different and more than your usual practice. At the Actors Workout Studio each December we create a benefit performance for Toys for Tots. All of the production people involved; directors, writers, crew, and management donate their time and services for this great cause. The mere aspect of giving makes it a delightful and rewarding experience.
So my recommendation is to do some extra giving this time of year. It can be simple. It can be a phone call to a distant friend or relative, volunteering somewhere, or simply showing up to be of service to someone. Help someone, carry their groceries, walk their dog, do free babysitting. It’s not about exactly what you do, but the mindfulness of giving. Even a smile or opening the door for someone is living in the service consciousness and can be helpful.
So much of acting is about me, me, me, look at me! Take some time this season and give back. It will enrich you and perhaps even inspire you.
Have a great holiday and celebrate yourselves.