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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Does Your Appearance Really Matter in VO?

Does it matter what you look like, when what you’re really selling is your voice? Now this is an interesting question, and one without an easy answer. I’m going to say right now, though, that YES, your appearance absolutely matters in voice over. Here’s why:

     You will be seen, even if you work from home.
     People will make snap judgments.
     Even if you’re home-based, you’re still expected to act/look professional.

Okay, so let’s talk about these things. First off is the fact that you will be seen from time to time, even if you primarily work from home. There are all sorts of situations that require public (and even non-public) appearances. Let’s say your client wants a face-to-face, or you’re planning on attending a networking event, or a live audition or even a video chat has been requested. What about that Skype recording session you have later that day? All of these require you to make an appearance, where that very aspect of you will be judged.

This leads to my next point: people, and most importantly clients, will make snap judgments about you based on your looks. It sucks, but it happens. If you’re not dressed professionally, or you look scruffy or unkempt, it could cost you work - even if your voice is amazing and exactly what they asked for.

Now, here’s where the question at hand gets a little convoluted. What about those times when you’re at home, working, and there’s no interaction planned for the day. Is it okay to just let yourself go for that one day? Well, sure, if that’s what you really want to do. For me, I find that looking professional (i.e., getting up, showering, and dressing in decent clothes), helps me stay focused and get more done. If I walk past a mirror and say, "You don't look like Rick Lance today" then I won't feel like myself either. And that may come through in my voice recording. I’m sure there are plenty of others who are just as productive while wearing pajamas, but that just doesn't work for me.

I guess my point with all this is that just because most of your career is spent behind a microphone, it doesn’t mean that your appearance doesn’t matter. Because it does. So please, when “first impression” type moments arise or any other opportunity where you’ll be interacting with clients in face-to-face setting, take a look in the mirror and make sure you look like the professional you are. 

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