By Stephanie Ciccarelli
August 6, 2009
How do parents working from home juggle kids and voice acting?
Hear from four voice actresses who have young children, run voice over businesses, and manage to keep it all together here on VOX Daily.
If you are working from a home office right now and have young children, or if you were in this position years ago and remember those days, you know how challenging yet rewarding it can be to raise a family while operating a business out of your home.
Four voice actresses generously shared their experiences, (they're still in the thick of it!), detailing what working from home has been like in the presence of their children.
These are their stories.
Laura Martin finds it a challenge to balance work and home life, especially during summer months when children, ages 10 and 11, are home.
How does she find time to work?
She manages by doing some of her recordings late into the night when the house is quiet (depending on the strength of her voice at that hour) and also delegates simple jobs to her children to help her with business such as filing.
Laura beams, "It is a challenge, but I wouldn't trade the freedom and flexibility for anything!"
Deborah Sale Butler, voice actor and coach, used to work and collaborate with her husband, a composer, from home several years before their son arrived.
Auditioning in her home studio, which was also their second bedroom, became difficult once their son grew old enough to have his own room. After her husband moved his office out of the house and the subsequent sale of her recording booth, Deborah could still create an almost-acceptable audition with the gear she used to take to location voice-over classes, however didn't have a quiet place (or time) to do full sessions at home.
How does Deborah make auditioning work without a pro home recording studio?
She auditions less and rarely submits for projects calling for a custom demo. That being said, Deborah gets booked off her demos by people who find her and contact her directly or by sending a produced demo, meeting three new LA producers in precisely that way.
To ensure that she continues to serve her clients, Deborah had also made arrangements to work with Dave and Dave in LA so that she can carry on working for her long-time corporate narration and on-hold clients and has even been able to do a few new gigs. Most of Deborah's work comes from local producers who call and book her, fully aware that she is a part-time voice over talent.
Deborah shares, "Caring for my son is my all-time favorite job, and I'm just happy to be able to make some grocery money every month from the gigs I get. When Liam goes to school full-time, I can reconsider my marketing efforts!"
Jill Tarnoff's children have become more accommodating of her career with age. She used to have to record when they were at preschool or asleep, but now that they are 11 and 13, her boys are more familiar with what they need to do during recordings (like being quiet, for example!).
The combination of longer school days and a clearer understanding of the recording environment means that Jill is able to get more done and can now dedicate herself to a full day's work.
One son, age 11, is following in mommy's footsteps and has already cut his first demo and is a member of a voice acting club.
With voice over work being so appealing, the kids are readily cooperating with Jill to help her fulfill her dreams.
Debbie Grattan is a mother to two small children, ages 8 and 5. Her husband, Paul Rarick, also works from home and is a professional coach. A full time nanny looks after the children and during the summer takes them out every day. With some time freed up, Debbie puts all of her energy into work, noting that if her youngest child was around, she would not be able to wash a dish much less run a voice over business.
Although Debbie and her husband are focused on business during the day, their office door is always open to receive the children. She also takes breaks to make the kids snacks and meals.
When working from home with kids it's quite beneficial to have a talent for multitasking.
Debbie relates, "It is challenging to try and keep all the plates spinning at once; Field emails, record, edit, have conversations with clients, invoice, etc. in addition to having to make sure my child is also safe and entertained. I find myself up and down from my office chair many times during the day, and sometimes leave things in mid-stream to go and answer a 'crisis'. Then I have to move back into 'work mode' to get back up to speed with whatever it was I just left."
Debbie Grattan feels blessed to have all that she has in her life, noting how wonderful it is to be able to work in a profession that is great fun and also very rewarding. To be a mom on top of that is icing on the cake!
1. Each voice artist puts their family ahead of voice over work
2. When they work, their time is maximized and they get down to business
3. All four have made efforts and sacrifices to balance their work / home life
4. The flexibility to do what they love while spending time with those they love
What have your experiences been like?
Although we've heard from a number of moms, and no doubt we'll hear from many more, dads are more than welcome to chime in too with thoughts and comments about what it is like for you working from home in the company of your kids!
Any tips you want to share about how to manage would be superb in addition to comments.
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