I am known for my hatred of the expression, “those who can’t do, teach.” This phrase has always ruffled my feathers because it is so demeaning to those who DO teach, who have a passion for inspiring the lives of others. A great teacher can be the “ah-ha” moment in a child’s (or adult’s) life that can set a new course to greatness. They can literally save lives. To imply they are only teaching because they’ve failed to “do” what they sought out to do is a grave misjudgment of a necessary role in every human’s life.
I carry these thoughts into every make-up job I have. I am not implying that a great make-up job can change a life, I am however, referring to how a make-up artist can set the tone for an actor’s entire experience on a set. I call this the, “15 minutes of Privilege.” Most the time (especially in the indie world) us MUA’s only have 15 minutes to get the talent in and out of our chair and ready for set. Those 15 minutes could be spent in silence, those 15 minutes could be spent by you complaining about the traffic on the way there, how crappy the coffee at crafty is OR instead you could treat those 15 minutes that you have with a completely unique and beautifully strange new person with the same respect as a teacher does with their pupils; you can choose to both learn and teach the person sitting in that chair.
I had the honor of getting to be the Key MUA for a new talk show called, “Wake Up” a couple weeks ago, a set that was graced with legends such as Lisa Nichols, Don Miguel Ruiz and Jack Canfield. While applying Lisa’s make-up one of the PA’s came up to her and calmly let her know how her books had literally changed her life, it took her a lot of courage to enter my make-up room and approach Lisa, not to mention taking her away from a task she was desperately needed for. I realized I didn’t have to leave a task in order to get the opportunity to pick the brain of someone people literally credit for saving their lives; it was my job to spend time with them. That makes me one very privileged person.
Not taking advantage of those 15 minutes is sabotaging yourself of a completely personal one-on-one with a totally new person who may share a story with you that changes your life, or they just might make you smile. The point is either way you are making a conscious effort to connect with another human being. By showing an interest in someone else’s life and views you are setting yourself on the path to living a more selfless life, of living the conscious life of choosing to be inspired and inspire.
Now, we’ve all experienced a turn in a make-up chair that was awkward, silent and left you feeling like you burdened them by having to apply make-up on you. Considering that the make-up trailer is one of the first, if not the first an actor is sent to, you have a responsibility to the rest of that crew to treat the talent with as much kindness as possible so that actor is more comfortable, which will result in a better performance, which could result in less takes and ultimately shorter shoot days. Hell, even if the rest of the set sucks don’t you want to be the light everyone gravitates towards? Do not underestimate the difference 15 minutes can make in someone’s life, in your own life and how that domino effect of love and genuine interest trickles into the rest of your life.
Even if you are not a make-up artist always remember this; a simple “hello, how are you?” goes A LOOOOOOONG way.