Ginnifer Goodwin on Motherhood, Work and Balancing It All

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Disney and the DisneyToons Studios. I received an all-expense paid trip from Disney so that I could gather and share this information. However, all experiences and opinions are always 100% my own as this post is written by me in its entirety.

Most children grew up with Peter Pan. I recall watching Peter Pan on repeat, but I was more interested in a cute little fairy fluttering around and giving lip, Tinkerbell. Ginnifer Goodwin and I happen to both share a love for Tinkerbell, having grown up with Peter Pan. Growing up and seeing Tinkerbell evolve into her own character and storyline is a young girls dream come true. But for Ginnifer, she not only had a dream come true, she won the lottery when she was cast for the voice of Fawn in Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast.

Voice-overs and acting are very different. When Ginnifer first tried treated her role as Fawn the way she normally would on a live action film, she quickly realized that she wasn’t expressing the feeling she wanted to portray. Ginnifer tried different things to get herself into the right frame of mind for her character, including getting up on her feet (and more) to allow herself to feel unrestricted.

“When you are jumping around like a monkey, I was jumping around and jumping. That being said I’m super pregnant for a couple of sessions and was told I had to stay off my feet.”

Ginnifer’s determination and drive kept her going. She wanted to be at work and her pregnancy wasn’t going to stop her! “So I came in and everybody was a little like giggling, they took me into the sound booth and they had set up a bed covered in Disney stuffed animals.” And that is how she continued to record some sessions, laying in bed, relaxing like a butterfly surrounded by all things Disney.

Emotions play a big role during voice-overs. While the actor is recording their lines, there is a camcorder in the room to capture the physical displays, which are then used to animate the character. For Ginnifer the physical exhaustion of working on voice acting for just four hours is similar to a 17 hour live action work day, because of the emotional aspect. Being pregnant and full of hormones helped a great deal. Crying on demand – no problem! Without acting, Ginnifer may have ended up a “weird cat lady that [is] always crying”, but fortunately she found her outlet and while she’s regularly over-emotional, “being pregnant was like a whole other level of crying on cue.”

What is it like to be working on a project for over 3 years through a pregnancy and childbirth?

Coming into the studio every couple of months for three years, Ginnifer would first practice each line one at a time, hundreds of times to get the right connection. She would try to do something different during the course of the film, noticeable differences because each was connected a different way.

Ginnifer is growing, in many ways. She’s looking for roles that can help satisfy her creative being – more adult roles, like the one in her personal life becoming a mother. Balancing motherhood and work is something she is learning to get a handle on. Ginnifer’s future roles will most likely be influenced by being a mother.

So what is it like being a working mother…balancing and juggling a job outside of the home while nurturing a new baby…

It’s funny because I always thought that acting was creative. And now I’m walking up to strangers in Starbucks that have their kids hanging on them and I’m like “I wanna give you an Oscar” because you know how to get this done, like keep this baby alive. I don’t know how people do it and work. It’s so hard. I’ve learned a lot about the differences, how different countries treat their mothers in terms of supporting them during their postpartum period. And especially in helping them with child-rearing.

Ginnifer was very fortunate to be working for Disney during her pregnancy. Her bosses were “incredibly supportive and sympathetic to my having not slept since like May.” She appreciates what other mothers around the world have to go through and it saddens her that this kind of simple support isn’t available for mothers everywhere.

During her voice acting she was able to have her child with her, critical during the time when she was breastfeeding and working insane hours, even turning her trailer into a nursery. She came back to work six weeks after having her baby and it was hard, like learning to walk all over again. Her bosses recognized she wasn’t ready to be working 17 hours days just yet and told her to take it easy. Her work hours were rearranged, allowing her to work in the middle of the day so she could continue to function without being completely exhausted. “So I literally had a maternity leave at work which was magical.” Which is fitting for Disney, it’s all about making the experience “magical”. Disney treated her with a kind of respect that she’s never seen before.

I certainly don’t see my peers experiencing that kind of support. I couldn’t have done this during any other projects acting. It’s so hard. I don’t know how people do this. I’d be literally be like running back and forth from set to breastfeed. It was crazy.

What Ginnifer wants everyone to take away from the movie are several messages. Things like, “balancing your heart with your head. Not judging a book by its cover, the value of being a team player – it can’t just be about our own hearts.” So while she does feel that people should follow their own heart, it should be balanced with what the people around them need as well.

ginnifer as fawn in tinkerbell

5 Things I Learned About Ginnifer

1. Ginnifer is always being cast for characters she naturally exhibits. Traits like optimism, faith, hope, love of life and love of others.

2. The Fawn fairy toys/dolls are the first of any character Ginnifer has ever portrayed, including Snow White in Into The Woods, and she’s giddy with excitement.

3. She approaches animation voice over work with the same tools that shes uses to create her live action characters, but has developed new techniques to exhibit emotion.

4. After listening to the initial recordings, she would have fired herself at the beginning of the start to Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast had she been in charge.

5. Ginnifer is taking time off to spend with her child, art and music classes are all that is in the near future for now.

Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast is available for order now on Amazon and Disney Movies Anywhere. The latest Tinkerbell movie is a definite must add to your movie collection for the entire family.

Get social online with me and all the bloggers that went behind the scenes to bring you the scoop on Tinkerbell, Fawn and Gruff using the hashtag #NeverbeastBloggers learn more and interact with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All photos courtesy of Disney.

Mama E

Multitasking mama to 3 living in Miami. Blogging about parenting, lifestyle, cooking and traveling. Covering everything from diapers to dorm rooms. Ask me anything, I've done it all.

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