Mascara, the Game Changer
I took a voiceover class a few years ago and one night the teacher told me, "You would book more jobs if you wore mascara."
Now, I have synthesthesia - the type where I experience music in colours. So, I'm pretty open to unusual interpretations of things. But I cannot believe that mascara is audible. Surely the connection between years of voiceover experience and my income is not a clump-free lash. (I use Cover Girl's "Clump Crusher" by Lashblast.)
As you may know, voiceover auditions are recorded, then sent to the client via the casting director and/or talent agent. "The client" includes the ad agency and the folks who work at the Acme Thing Company (or whatever product you're going to be representing if you book the job). Even if you record your audition at home, we're still talking about several people here, none of whom are actually going to see you. So how does it work, then? If one of them can hear the mascara, congrats - you're in? If no one can hear any mascara, or maybe not enough mascara, they might move on to consider your voice? Is this a case for driving over to your agent's office so someone will look at your face?
And is it only mascara, or are other types of make-up also a factor? A Max Factor, if you will.*
What about clothing? Could I wear two gorgeous coats of mascara and glide into the casting office wearing a duck suit, and still get the gig?
When I decided to go back to auditioning for on-camera work as well, I had to wear mascara to auditions. (And other make-up, and proper clothing. No duck suits.) In general, I had to put myself together in such a way that no one would think, "Wow. She is rumpled/tired looking/just about to wash her car." They're free to think, "I wouldn't wear those shoes with that skirt," or "Really? Yellow on that skin tone?" But, if I could help it at all, the overall impression would be one of "She cares." I don't think I was ever an embarrassment, but I was no fashion plate, either. It just wasn't very important to me to put much time or effort into my "look".
This is where it gets tricky, because I believe we should dress to express ourselves, how we feel, what we're comfortable in. I believe that that expression should not cost more than what we can afford. I believe that dressing to please someone else is an icky sentence.
But, let's go back to that "express ourselves" part. I want to express that:
I care about myself.
I take some time for myself, to care for myself.
Because I also care about you, I do not show up looking like a hot mess.
I wish I could tell you that I booked more voiceover jobs because of the mascara. I can't. There is simply no way to quantify how one books acting gigs. (Look for more on that topic later!)
But I can tell you that spending a little extra time to put myself together had a really nice effect on me. Kind of like when I put gas in the car the night before a day that starts extra early. That following morning, I feel like "YesterMe" did me a thoughtful favour. Or packing my own lunch. Opening my lunch bag hours later is a wee step back in time, and history shows that I looked out for myself.
Is there anything you wish you would do for yourself? Take time, give time, make lunch, wear that nice shirt you've been saving for a special occasion? I would not even draw the line at a duck suit.
P.S. According to Wikipedia, the urban legend that bat guano is one of the ingredients of mascara, is inaccurate. Whew! It's actually guanine, which is extracted from fish scales. Oh.