Recently, I took a commercial acting class with Bill Coelius, who has done over 40 national commercials and several cos-star roles on major series. (I highly recommend him as a teacher, by the way!) His life philosophy is lived out in asking the question(out-loud or silently), “How can I help you?” He uses this attitude of service in everything, especially acting.
How much would that change how we live if we could put that into practice?
For one thing, I believe it would change how we approach auditions. Instead of being focused on myself, how well or horribly I am performing, or how much I think I need this job; I can place my attention on the other people in the room. I’m less self-conscious and stressed; it makes me a better listener, scene partner, and actor. As I’ve put this into practice, it has lessened the pressure I put on myself. I am there to help the casting directors make their decision. If I happen to be the solution to their problem, then great! If not, then I know I helped them (and possibly the other actors) along the way. Either way, it’s a win!
Outside of our auditions, I have experienced how this philosophy improves many artistic relationships. Helping each other out builds trust and loyalty. Theatre and film are both highly collaborative arts. Where would we be without the people who helped us along the way? The more we can practice giving, the more we will connect with people and find the relationships which keep on giving. That sounds corny, but I think it’s true. I think of the places where I’ve given a little extra, volunteered when I didn’t “have to,” and been generous with my time; usually something good comes out of it.
Take this philosophy to all your personal relationships and you could have a revolution on your hands!
Of course there is a disclaimer here: There is a difference between service and servitude. We have to be able to recognize when our service is being abused. When that happens, walk away.
So, here we go. How can I help you? How can we help each other?