Work/Life Balance

September Meet Up: Producer Stefanie Huie

At our Mama Meet Up in September we had the great fortune of chatting with Independent Producer Stefanie Huie.

 

As an independent producer, Stefanie develops projects for film and television. She currently working on a film adaptation of the novel Belle Epoque and TV pilot Beast Mode. Stefanie also worked for the Sundance Institute as the Outreach Consultant for the Sundance Writer and Director Labs.  Before that, she worked as Senior VP of Feature Films at Icon Productions, Mel Gibson’s production company. She started her career at Creative Artists Agency after receiving her degree in Political Science from Stanford University.

 

In addition to her career achievements, she is the mom of two children–her daughter just started kindergarten and her son is a pre-schooler! She was still working at Icon when her daughter was born, and she shared what it was like working in a studio environment as a mom versus the more flexible world of independent producing.

 

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Here’s some of my favorite tidbits from our conversation:

 

  • On the logistic, day-to-day life details: I try to mainly do work when my daughter is in school, and we have help with my son–he’s in preschool. So I schedule reading scripts and phone calls for those daytime hours.
  • On passion: I make sure to only take on projects that I absolutely love.
  • Advice to new moms: After becoming a mom give yourself a break, and use it as a chance to re-evaluate what your dreams and desires are. One day you will wake up and know what is the right next step for you.
  • The funny: She told a hilarious story about running into Mel Gibson in the break room at Icon, while she was in the middle of cleaning her breast pump. Go nursing mamas!

 

If you are a member of The Mama Actor Facebook Community, you can watch the full video by scrolling down the page and looking for our Live feed.

 

Next month, we’ll meet with legal and EEOC representatives from SAG-AFTRA to talk about maternity benefits for mama actors, working considerations on set for pregnant and breastfeeding moms, and much more.

August Mama Meetup: Director Tara Miele


 

If you’re a member of The Mama Actor Community on Facebook, then you already know about our monthly Mama Meetups. If you’re not, you are missing out on some gorgeous live and in person get togethers. (What are you waiting for? Only requirements: be a mama or a papa and an artist.) Every month I invite a guest mama–a mom who is working in the industry–to share her journey and insights about balancing mothering with a creative career.

 

In August, our guest mama was writer/director Tara Miele, who has directed feature films such as Starving in Suburbia, Thinspiration, and The Lake Effect (which she wrote and directed while 7 months pregnant). As a writer, she’s sold films to Lionsgate, Screengems, New Line, Gild Circle Films and Disney Channel. Most recently, she created the film ‘Meet a Muslim‘ to combat Islamophobia, and it has over 2 million views and has been featured on sites Refinery 29, Now This, and Huffington Post. She’s also mom to two girls.

 

Tara was so inspiring to the moms present at the meetup and those who joined us in the Facebook Live video feed. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the conversation:

 

Tara Miele

writer/director

Becoming a mom has not only made me more emotional, but more human, more connected to other people, more stalwart in my beliefs, and more confident in declaring my opinion as a valid opinion. I think in my 20’s and even my early 30’s I was kind of like, ‘Oh, there’s some big conversations going on, but I’m actually not that informed, so I’m just not going to participate. I have an opinion but I’m not sure it’s the right opinion because I’m not totally educated on it, so I’m just gonna hold back.’ And I wasn’t like that as a kid…So now I’m way back to my childhood self, where I’m like, ‘I think I have something to say about this gun issue, because I have two young children and it effects me, and I actually have something to say about tolerance with other people because I live in a city with a lot of diverse people.’

 

My second favorite story was when she shared how the project ‘Meet a Muslim’ started over dinner one night when she was trying to explain to her 7-year old why her grandmother was afraid of Muslim people. She says, “Being a mom makes you have to explain the world and what else are you doing as an artist but explaining the world.”

 

I really related to this, as I also have an inquisitive 7-year old. In trying to help our tiny humans navigate the world, so many things that we’ve glossed over in the hustle of life come into stark relief. These explanations of what it is to be human in our world, in our country, in our town, are the molecules of meaningful stories. And in explaining to our children, we explain to ourselves, we relearn what is important, we resee what we’ve learned not to see. I know I’ve become a stronger, braver artist since becoming a mother. I’d love know how motherhood has changed you as an artist and storyteller. Feel free to comment below, or join us on Facebook, where you can also access the rest of this conversation with Tara Miele.

 

In September, producer Stephanie Huie will be our guest mama, so if you’re not a member of our Facebook community, head over to the page and request to join or shoot me an email and I’ll add you.

 

 

Listen to the wanderlust

 

I felt edgy the last Friday of Spring Break. We’d just recovered from a nasty stomach virus (I’ll save you the details), and I felt that cooped-up-too-long, I-want-to-go-somewhere feeling.

 

So we went on a last-minute trip to Joshua Tree. It. was. grand. The desert is stunning this time of year and there was something for everyone–lizards and rocks for my son, flowers and plants for baby girl, and big gorgeous sky for mom and dad. If you’re feeling like you want more bloom in your Spring, go east, my friends!

Nothing like a trail us-ie!

Look at this cute-ness!

 

What are your favorite last-minute, weekend getaways?

The nuts and bolts of building a babysitting co-op


The Babysitter's Club

This is part 2 in a 3-part series called Child Care for the Mama Actor. In part 1, I brainwashed you into believing in the magic of a babysitting co-op. Seriously, it is one of the top resources in a mama actor’s child care toolkit. In part 2, I’ll share the inner workings of my new co-op, and give you some tips for making a co-op work for you. Grab a cup of tea, because we are going to take a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of co-op success.

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7 reasons why every mama actor needs a babysitting co-op

Every mama actor needs a babysitting co-op

Betcha one of these moms has a babysitting co-op. Either that or a million dollars.

Finding last-minute child care can be the hardest thing about the audition process. I know one mama who quit acting because the last minute nature of auditions was killing her. She simply decided it wasn’t worth it.

 

I recently reached a breaking point with this in my own life. Finding last-minute sitters was wreaking havoc on my sanity and my work, not to mention busting our budget.

 

One Friday night at the end of a particularly busy week in which I burned through my entire monthly child care budget in five days, my husband suggested setting up “some kind of babysitting trade thing”. 24 hours later I had a babysitting co-op. Mamas, it has changed my life.

 

Here are 7 reasons why every mama actor needs a babysitting co-op…

 

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[From the Trenches] Anatomy of a Great Day

Much has been said about work/life balance, but what on earth does that look like for a mama actor on a daily basis? As a mom and artist, my days vary a lot. I’m lucky enough to be a full-time actor/mom, which means I don’t need to have a non-acting day job in order for my family to survive. Some days are all mom, some days are all actor, most days are somewhere in between.

Here is what my Tuesday looked like in all of it’s messy, balanced(ish) glory:

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The Conscious Working Mama Circle: An Interview

Conscious Working Mama

Sarah Gibbons, mom of three boys and fearless leader of the Conscious Working Mama Circle.

I recently joined the Conscious Working Mama Circle, a project of working mama-of-three Sarah Gibbons, after listening to a webinar that she did called Goodbye Guilt. I really resonated with her voice, her tools, and her approach that honors the inner and outer work of balancing work with parenting in order to live fully and authentically. The motto of the circle is “find your tribe”, which is the essential call to action of this blog. I had the opportunity to talk with Sarah about how her program could benefit actor mamas, with the specific challenges inherent to our profession and lifestyle.

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The Mama Actor’s Guide to Mixing Baby and Work

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“for women in the workplace it’s death by a thousand cuts–and sometimes it’s other women holding the knives.” -Katharine Zaleski

I recently booked a gig on Rashida Jones’ new show, Angie Tribeca. As usual with television, it all happened incredibly fast. I auditioned on a Tuesday, got the call from my agent on Wednesday and shot the job on Thursday. Whew! This type of fast turnaround can wreak havoc on any mom’s sanity who does not have a deep bench of babysitters on speed dial. Day care for the Tuesday audition worked out, but on Wednesday, wardrobe called and asked if I could be there for a fitting in two hours—eek! It was not required for the gig, but being the people pleaser that I am, I felt the pull to say yes.

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