How Do You Manage Your Schedule?

Zhao shang hao Folks,

I woke up and it was a new day with new things happening. The world it spins and you find that Hannah Montana has fallen from grace, Obama has been in office for a year with pretty much nothing to show for it. 10,000 people working for Opel Automotive will lose their jobs and lively hoods and I have just moved to a new apartment.

The past few days have been mostly me doing odd handyman jobs around the house. Changing the lock on the door, adding a new chain lock to the door, changing the shower heads. Installing the washing machine. Doing some touchups on the walls here and there…. and giving myself a massive blister in the middle of my right palm. Thankfully its not very painful so I can live through it.

The loudest thing in my house these days is my old desktop PC.. so I’ll be looking into changing the old case with a new one… and possibly changing the circulation fans in there.

The new city I live in (a part of the greater Cairo area) is much colder than cairo proper since there are allot less people, allot less cars, allot less emissions, and there is no barrier between us and the desert road heading toward Suez.

By the way … that’s good morning in Mandarin Chinese for those who aren’t caught up with the far eastern lingo.

Today I’d like to talk to you about Issues of Scheduling. How do you manage them? Do you allow jobs to be dropped and ultimately does it upset you?

I believe I’ve made you (my readers) well aware of my recent crazy schedule… between the traveling and the moving and my day job craziness.

So it was a bit (I’m at a loss for a good word for this) stressed… but once I got to Vienna and checked into my hotel I figured that it would be smooth sailing till the real craziness of moving comes into play a few days in the future.

Once I got to my hotel room I hooked up my laptop and got online. Immediately I was messaged by a producer from one of the Voice Over production companies I do work for. He had been trying to get in touch with me from the morning (his morning) and unable to find me (because I was on a plane). He had also  emailed me and I could tell that he was in a bit of a panic because his client (someone we had done work for in the past) wanted to make some additions to a VO project we worked on a few months back.

Unfortunately for him I hadn’t brought my recording gear with me. Not because I forgot … but because I knew that the conference I was going to was very time intensive and I wouldn’t have time to record… I didn’t have access to a printer to print the script… and worst of all… I would be homeless once I got to cairo because I’ll be moving… and I wouldn’t be able to do the recordings until Sunday of the next week (he contacted me on Wednesday).

So … what to do?

I told my producer via email that I wouldn’t be available until Sunday and left it at that… went to bed… and in the morning went to an 8 hour conference with a half hour break to shower and get dressed for a 3 hour company dinner.

A day later I got a communication from the production company that they would like me to try to find a recording studio in Austria to record the VO… things are getting desperate and they could lose the job.

Again I informed them that I literally had no time to record and that the next day I’d be on a plane back to Cairo and then I’d jump straight into moving. So try to ask the client to wait a few days till I can schedule a recording.

Long story short. They lost the job.

Money out of their pocket… money out of mine… but ultimately it was the client who lost because they would have to record the whole original voice over as well as the new added parts in someone Else’s voice.

I am not a full time voice over artist. I have to balance the duties of both my day job… and the job I’d like to do fulltime… had I been a full time VO I would not be going to a medical  conference in the first place  so I would probably have the time to record the corrections and so no harm no foul.

But who… if anyone… is at fault here for the loss of the job? Is it me? or is it the production company? or is it the client?

and how do you show your clients your schedule so that they can figure out when is a good time to hire you to record.

If any of you have had a similar experience … please share it… and if you have any advice … please leave it.



  1. Hey Taji!

    It’s always an interesting balancing act as clients seem to think that VO talent are at their beck & call at any given moment. But what clients need to realize is that they are not the talent’s “only” client. Whether it be the conference you went to, a fully booked VO schedule or just life in general getting in the way of a VO job – IMHO, client need to give themselves more lead time for scheduling VO. Instead I find that many times clients are calling me literally just days before a spot is to air saying I need so & so today – tomorrow at the latest. Mind you, most times – we can accommodate. But there have been a rare few times where the talent was booked solid with other VO projects etc. this left the client freaking out of course because they were expected to have this spot on the air. I believe what it ultimately boils down to is a matter of mismanagement on the other side. Whether it be our client or their clients demands for immediate turn around. It would be nice if we could drop everything at any given time & give everyone what they want – alas, this is not how the real world works & I think most everyone knows this. If your client had even anticipated that there would need to be changes made – he should have immediately called you if nothing else to give you a heads up that this was coming down the lines & to check your schedule.

    That aside – what can we do on our part to make things easier for our clients? Not a huge myspace fan but they have a neat little application that allows you to put a calendar on your page where you can enter whatever you might have going on at any given time. Perhaps something we could utilize in the VO industry on our web pages… A client can go in & see where we are booked out & when we are available. Something we have thought about on our end as the agents for our talent for a few months now. Perhaps this blog Taji is my kick in the butt to get that going!

    THX so much for all you do!

  2. At Disney they have this saying: “It’s not our fault, but it is our problem”, and that’s what got them their reputation for providing excellent customer service.

    However, Disney is a huge organization and when you’re an independent contractor, it’s just you running the show.

    I can’t tell you how many times I missed out on a job because of bad planning. Somehow, the producer always calls at the very last moment and wants your recording yesterday. Of course it usually takes a few months before you get your check.

    Whether you’re a full-time or part-time voice-over, it is impossible to be available at all times, no matter how many smart communication devices you’re plugged into.

    Of course I have read stories of colleagues who hit the road, all ‘geared-up’, afraid to miss out on the next big thing. If that’s your cup of tea… go ahead and drink it. However, don’t come back and complain that your vacation was ruined because you were working harder than ever.

    If I were to leave for a conference or vacation, I’d make sure to have my email provider send automated “away-messages”. Some freelance websites allow you to block out dates you’re unavailable to work. That’s your first line of defense.

    Sometimes it’s impossible to serve two masters at the same time, as in your case. I’m sure your employer didn’t send you to Austria so you could sneak out of the conference and do some recording on the side. It was hard enough to get a decent bite to eat…

    If, because of that, a deal falls through… so be it. If they liked you the first time, they’ll come back for more! After all… it’s a small world.

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