Summer is calling. We’re moments away from family reunions, vacations, and long weekends for the first time in a really long time for most of us! So, here’s a bit of advice that will keep you in good graces with your talent agents and potential clients: if you know the dates you won’t be available for auditions or jobs, be sure to book out.

Booking out should be done by e-mail or online, depending on your agent’s specific policies, ideally a week ahead of your departure. Otherwise, your agents will assume you’re available and count on you.

Additionally, if you know you won’t be available for the dates of the shoot or recording session, you should not accept the audition. Never audition for anything unless you intend to accept it. That’s common professional conduct whether you’re a union talent or not.

Now, you maybe under the impression that since nearly ALL auditions and a bulk of our voiceover recording sessions are now done almost exclusively from home since the pandemic that you can no longer make yourself scarce. I’m here to tell you–you most certain can! And, in fact, you most certainly SHOULD.

You can’t and shouldn’t be available 24/7. That’s a completely untenable business model. Seriously. You NEED down time! Please. Save yourself. TAKE IT! As long as you communicate well in advance with your regular clients and/or your agents, you’re managing your voiceover business well.

Keep in mind this isn’t just good advice during the summer months when you’re heading out of town on vacation, the same booking out requirements, demands and expectations apply during the holidays in December, for afternoon ‘getaways’ you don’t think matter to anyone but you and your loved one(s), when you’re heading to the dentist for a cleaning, or any time you’re simply unavailable to audition or book a gig. Let your agent know if you’re indisposed.

Because it never fails, just like clockwork, some huge gig will come calling the moment you head out of town. It’s Murphy’s Law. But don’t let that stop you from taking some well deserved down time.

Certainly, as a voice talent, there are portable recording options, provided you have:

a) A quiet place to record

b) Access to stable Internet service

c) A reliable computer and mic

d) The skills and experience to execute an effective audition or session remotely

It used to be, prior to the pandemic, depending on where you might be headed, you might have been able to enlist a local studio should a truly worthwhile job land in your lap. Not anymore. Today, you need to be self-reliant, or simply book out. Frankly, it may not be what you want to hear, but I’d suggest you book out rather than try to recreate your home studio. Your Mom’s basement or your cousin’s cabin in the woods will have issues you hadn’t anticipated. And that’s a promise. Save your professional reputation and either take a pass or the client will have to wait till you return.

One of the primary reasons your agent has confidence in you is the fact they can confidently rely on you consistently delivering a quality recording, not simply being available to the work. This is only in part why they see you as reliable. Talent? Of course. Trained? It’s a given. Prepared? Always. Available? Absolutely, most of the time.

Other than that, if you neglect to book out, you’ll end up making everyone associated with the project miserable, especially yourself, and you could very well destroy your professional credibility because you didn’t think booking out mattered all that much, or you over-promised when you needed to simply check out and be present for you loved ones.

Determine with your talent agents their preferred booking out policies and procedures, and follow them to the letter. Be sure to put it in writing in an email so it’s time stamped as well. As long as it’s documented, includes a date, and done with plenty of time in advance of your departure, all’s right with the world!

You’ll enjoy yourself that much more if you keep your agents in the loop and let them know when you’ll return and be ready to work.

It’s the professional thing to do.

Copyright © 2021 by Kate McClanaghan. All Rights Reserved.

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