When the pandemic hit a lot of people were a bit intimidated by the prospect of working from home and the long days without a break from kids and partners. Who could possibly handle all of this “togetherness?”
Enter voice acting power couple Heather Dietz and Josh Mead. Not only are they balancing the work from home/life/kids thing, Heather and Josh are old pros at being together all the time. Both are full time work-from-home professional voice actors, raising two young children while building their voice over careers. They have always taken time out to take a dip in the pool between gigs or go exploring the back roads of Surprise, Arizona in their sweet blue Jeep, kiddos in tow. Now, with schools closed, Josh and Heather are not only working from home they are schooling as well. Wondering how these two manage to do it all? Same.
So, VOPlanet talked with this dynamic VO duo and got a virtual behind the scenes look at the life of two voice actors building a life and a career together while sheltering in place. It is an interview we started before the pandemic. We followed up recently to see how the new normal is factoring into their lives.
So, you guys both do voice work. Heather, tell us about your background in voice acting…
I actually went to film school for acting in film and television and through that made my way to voice over. It wasn’t something I thought about for myself initially. Josh has such a wonderful voice, I just thought he would be amazing at it and through him getting into it, I followed.
Tell us about the early days of you guys doing VO.
Josh and I were babies and met in film school! He started doing voiceover in our spare bedroom closet (I bought him his first mic) and his business really grew. At one point a project he was working on reached out to see if he knew any female voice actors, the rest, is history!
Now you and Heather both have careers in VO and on-camera work. Do you guys prefer one over the other?
There are pros and cons for sure. VO is a pretty sweet gig. Our commute is great, the dress code can’t be beat, and we can complete five jobs before noon and hit the pool. However, there is nothing like being on set, right in the mix of things. Working with other incredibly creative people. VO can be pretty isolating, so having an opportunity to talk to live people is something we absolutely look for. It’s a balancing act.
So, Heather, you and Josh both work from home?
Yes indeed! We are an efficient team and share home duties and booth time really well. There is a fair bit of juggling since we are both busy with recordings, but we get it done!
Are you together all the time?
I mean, yes. Pretty much. Ha! But we are best friends and really get along well! When we were younger and worked “day jobs” we often worked together at the same companies. It’s just easy for us. That’s not to say that we don’t have time alone or with other friends, we’re not that weird!
Heather, what would you say are the unique challenges and benefits of being together all the time?
I feel like we’re really lucky to be able to be with our kids as much as we are. Setting our own schedules means we CAN go to field trips and be volunteers at school. And we get to see our young daughter (22 months) grow up and change. Sometimes though, you DO need to get out of the house and talk to other people! VO sessions out of our studio are a treat, and our office parties are small and easy to schedule.
Yeah, Heather is absolutely right. I’ve been a full time VO/Actor my kids whole life. So, we all really have unique situation where we get to be as present as possible for them. As for Heather and I, being together all the time must seem crazy. And I agree it is. But for some reason it just works. We are able to balance work, friends, children, time for ourselves. We’ve been through a lot as a family the last almost seventeen years, and we just make it work.
Josh, are your kids home too?
My son Eli is in full day Kindergarten, so he’s out most of the day. Our littlest Ev, is always with us and just loves to read books in the booth. There have been many auditions where she is sitting quietly at our feet enjoying being a part of the process.
What are your favorite things about the VO or work from home lifestyle?
Heather: The flexibility and creativity. As artists at heart it’s nice to flex those muscles but being able to do it on our terms and schedule is amazing.
Josh: Flexibility for me is the greatest gift. I’ve never been one to enjoy routine. It gets stale so quickly for me. VO is crazy. Every day is unique. I love being able to create a life for my family and I from nothing. This was an idea Heather pitched years ago to me and we ran with it. Plus floating in the pool on a Tuesday afternoon doesn’t hurt either.
We started this interview before COVID hit and we wanted to get your perspective on things now. How is the pandemic going for you?
Josh: It’s going! Luckily we’ve found one of the “pandemic proof” careers. I know it’s hit a lot of people really hard. Thankfully, we’ve, for the most part, avoided a complete shutdown. It’s a little slower, but the clients we work with weekly are still producing content and we are still rocking and rolling.
Heather: Sometimes I lose track of what day it is! Ha! But it’s going pretty well. We are still tagging in and out of the booth and trading kid duties.
What changes have you had to make during the lockdown?
Josh: The biggest change is balance. Balancing home schooling with work, balancing ‘work life v. regular life’. I’m the kind of person who can completely dive into work, perhaps to a fault. With nothing else going on it would be easy to dedicate all my time to work, but I need to remember my kids, my wife. We have to find that sweet spot where we can all coexist together, have fun, but still keep the lights on.
Heather: I’ve discovered that there is a lot more juggling going on with homeschooling and work. We’ve also had to get creative with fun things to do as a family. Games, movie nights, PJ days, whatever it takes to keep the cabin fever at bay!
What are you missing the most?
Josh: My friends. I have a small but awesome group of people that I love to hang out with. Pool parties, game nights…oh……and SPORTS!!! C’mon sports... I need you back!
Heather: It’s difficult some days not being able to see other people. It’s especially hard on the kids. Both kids had quarantine birthdays and were absolute troopers about it. But I know we’re all looking forward to some quality time with friends and family.
Has already working from home made things less stressful?
Josh: Absolutely. We did not have to adjust to anything. Our business model was 99% from our own studio. Granted having the kiddos home all the time took a little tweaking to make it work. But our “situation” has not been lost on me. I’m appreciative every day.
Heather: 100%. Our day to day routine didn’t actually change that much.We just had to incorporate homeschooling in between gigs. We’re really lucky to have our setup and be able to keep on working pretty seamlessly.
What advice would you give to couples that are suddenly working together from home?
Heather: It’s a wonderful thing! Your power comes as working as a team. Divide and conquer. But be flexible. Our life and lifestyle is very fluid which is one of the best things about it but I think if you’re not prepared for that, and don’t sort of thrive on it, it can be stressful.
Josh: Make sure you like each other. Sounds silly, but truly make sure you enjoy spending more than an evening together. The pros outweigh the cons, but the work part…that’s the part most people don’t see. Sure, the Jeep and pool and time with the kids is what goes on Socials, but don’t think we aren’t up in the studio seven days a week trying to make things happen or “on vacation” without our travel gear. Ask our friends! 😉 #GoldenHandcuffs
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