Summer is around the corner; plans with the family, leisure time, weddings, events etc. For most people taking time off in the summer is what they work hard for all year long, to earn time off. For the voice talent the same is true, however there are some very distinct differences. In a more mainstream job you are usually paid a ‘holiday pay’, but if you own your own business, you have to figure that out for yourself, which means most people are NOT paid for time off. So not only does the voice talent sacrifice income to take time off, but they also sacrifice future employment.
It’s very hard for the average person to understand the needs surrounding holidays for actors, especially voice actors who have the ability to take their work on the road with them. Life is about balance and those closest to you want you to make sure that you offer yourself exactly that. It’s easy to say, but not always easy to do and really I don’t take my own advice very well either, but my fiancé is helping me learn to take ‘time off’ LOL.
For the voice actor the first panic about taking a holiday is no income for a week or two, so we have to pre-plan well in advance so that we can afford to take the time off. The second panic then becomes, “But what if my client needs something?” The truth is, the second we attempt to take a holiday, the work seems to just pile in. It seems sensible that the client can wait for a few days so they can use your voice, but the truth is they don’t always have that patience. It’s like they know the project is coming months in advance but when they go to hire the talent, they want them NOW! So they will just replace you if they can’t have you when they want you – in many cases. Long-term clients will usually wait, but you have to communicate.
This doesn’t mean that you can never take a holiday, it just means you have to prepare well in advance. Communicate with all your clients, agents, casting sites (past and present) when you are leaving for holidays and will be unavailable. First of all it gives you a reason to be in touch with them. Secondly it encourages them to be prepared earlier (when possible), so you don’t miss out. At the same time, you have to be okay to turn down work if you want to escape work. Know your limits and be okay to say no. Many clients will wait, but you just have to be okay with those that won’t.
The reason I am not good at taking my own advice is because I am a people pleaser. I like to be very accommodating and I’m addicted to what I do. It’s part of my personality, so I take a studio with me pretty much everywhere I go. For me, I don’t mind giving up an hour or two on a day off so that I can make a client happy, be a part of a cool project and help pay towards our trip. My family doesn’t seem to mind either, so we are all good with it. That doesn’t mean your family will be, or that you would be either.
This is your business. You need to handle it the way YOU want to. Don’t allow anyone to dictate how you should run it. If you enjoy time off and want to take it, then just plan for it and love every minute of it. If you are addicted to it like me or your finances just won’t allow holidays, then enjoy that too, but be empathetic to those around you who have to accept your workaholic ways. Make sure you communicate to them why and allow them the opportunity to understand. It’s just a respectful and empathetic thing to do, but in the end, no matter what – do what works for you.
We deserve it!