The guiding principle of generosity is that you have something and you want to share it or give it away. You can’t give the money to charity, or the time to help someone in need unless you have it to give. Pretty simple. What about your work in an audition? Same thing. If you don’t have a way of preparing that connects you with the piece on a deeply personal level and makes you feel that you have it in your mind, body and heart, you will not be able to fully share it or give it away. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Here are four benefits of preparing in a way that allows you to let go and be generous in your auditions.
Generosity gets you out of your head: When you give something away the focus is on the person receiving what you are offering. You’re able to let go of yourself and momentarily forget about your own comfort and concerns, because you’ve made someone else’s need more important that your own. Your mind takes a break from worrying about your narrow self image because the act of generosity expands you and makes you perfect just the way you are.
When you’re out of your head, you can more easily live in your heart and for an actor, that’s where all the magic lies.
Generosity creates space for appreciation: Nature abhors a vacuum, the saying goes, which is why when you give something away, you almost immediately get something back. A space is created by your act of generosity and into that space comes gratitude and appreciation. When you’re in an audition and you have truly given your work to the people in the room, you’ve created a space for their admiration and positive feelings to flow into. After seeing many actors hedge their bets and second guess themselves for most of the session, it is truly a relief and a revelation to the people in the room to be given the gift of an actor’s full commitment. Your passionate generosity will almost certainly be met with an equally passionate response of appreciation, often in the form of a job!
Generosity strengthens you: One of the reasons some people aren’t more generous, is that they think that giving will somehow diminish them. They look at generosity as losing the thing they’re giving. That’s stingy and stinginess weakens you. When you hold back in an audition and aren’t prepared to give all of yourself, you’re risking being seen as stingy, weak and scared. Generosity sends a strong message that you have more than enough and can afford to give as much as you want. You see giving as an act of abundance and when you give 100 percent of yourself in an audition you’re seen as an actor who is large, confident and complete within himself.
Generosity reminds you why you’re an actor: When I ask people why they wanted to become actors one of most frequent responses is that they wanted to connect with people and share their gifts. Generosity was at the heart of their decision. As you move on in your career things can get a little self centered, you have a lot of business to take care of: your pictures, your reel, your resume, your auditions, your lines and on and on. The tasks of the business can make you insular to the degree that the idea of sharing and giving is just a dim memory.
Many actors take this to another level by forgetting what they actually loved about acting in the first place, because they’re entirely caught up in the pursuit of success. This can make them so desperate that when they get an audition they wind up hiding themselves and holding back for fear of being rejected. Actors who work don’t hold back, they know generosity is the key. They are wise enough to cultivate the skills that give them the confidence to say, “I will not make myself small in order to stay safe, I am here to share, to be bold and I will not let fear trump generosity.”
A successful audition requires that you have the skills that give you the guts to extend yourself out into the room. After all, you’re not in there to do the work for yourself, you’re in there to share yourself and your work with the people who can hire you. We’re all at our best when we’re about something bigger than ourselves and generosity is a great way to make yourself more open and brave and your work as big as life.
Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of The Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent and casting consultant. In his 14 years of teaching, he has seen the careers of hundreds of his students take off. He is also the author of the best-selling book, “The Best of You – Winning Auditions Your Way.”
Craig is currently teaching his audition technique classes and his Meditation for Actors classes in Santa Monica, CA. For more information visit www.wallaceauditiontechnique.com.