The Ups and Downs of Packaging

This random thought is for CM – to continue our previous conversation.  I wish I had a solid answer for you – but I don’t.  Hopefully other people who read this will add their thoughts and experiences and from there we might come up with some insight to the problem.  Come on people – someone needs your wisdom!

As much as many of us wish it didn’t count – appearances matter.  We do judge books by their covers and we do judge people by first impressions.  I wish that someone had impressed upon me when I was young of just how important appearances are.   Then again – I probably wouldn’t have listened – I was too busy working on my technique and I detested pretentious people.  Then again – even today I probably wouldn’t listen because I still can’t stand to be around pretentious people and anything that I have consciously put on – feels fake.

It still doesn’t change the fact that people judge you in a split second and many don’t take the time to find out what is behind the outer appearance.  While touring throughFrance– I managed to take several classes at a variety to studios inParis.  I was struck by the obvious beauty of my fellow female classmates.  These women were gorgeous!  Tall, thin, elegant hair styles, impeccable practice clothes that flattered their figures.  Then the class started.  Wow – talk about a reversal.  Most of these women were below average dancers…and yet…they looked more like a dancer than I did.  My ability to look pulled together in a class or rehearsal or audition was an ongoing battle.  I am a sweater.  Some people pour sweat – some don’t.  I am part of the former group.  Within minutes of starting a class I always looked like a soggy mop with sweat pouring down my face, my makeup starting to run, my hair matting down to my skull and my clothes sagging from water weight.  This explains a lot when I look back on my career.  I never got a job from an audition (except one where the director already knew me).  I was always hired from someone seeing one of my performances or from word of mouth.

On the flip side of this argument – there are several people who have floated through my life who have based their entire existence on packaging.  Their egos are dependent on what other people think of them and I’m not talking about the people close to them – the ones that should matter.  I’m talking about the nameless periphery crowd – you know – those people whose opinions shouldn’t matter.  It’s kind of sad – an existence tied to opinions of others.  It’s like a balloon – one good push and it explodes.

So I guess the answer to the packaging issue is one of delicate balance.  Defining what is important to you – who you are – and who you want people to perceive you to be.  The real trick is being able to show people who you really are – showing all those attributes (like intelligence, kindness, attention to detail, etc.) that are your makeup.  It’s the human spirit that draws other’s attention – beyond the physical attributes that will fade with time.

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2 Responses to The Ups and Downs of Packaging

  1. Marilyn says:

    Interesting….There are so many levels of awareness on this. I grew up in an era when appearances were everything. Which is a good way to get in over your head. All dressed up and looking good but not quite up to the job. Fake it comes to mind. Disaster follows. Finally you get it together but as the old saw goes…”Ve get too soon oldt und too late smart.” Don’t mean to be frivolous here but it is a meaty subject isn’t it?

  2. Pamela says:

    There have been times when I had to look at 500 people per day when casting a movie. It helps to be well groomed and look nice but I think what caught my eye was charisma – a kind of glow that comes from inside. In the entertainment business, when you audition and don’t take the time to look good, we sometimes take that as a sign of laziness. If you don’t make the effort for the audition, then you probably wouldn’t make the effort if hired…so packaging does matter but only goes so far…

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