#WFH Diaries: Deborah Mannis-Gardner of DMG Clearances, Inc.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage across the globe, we're checking in with folks in the creative industry to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Deborah Mannis-Gardner, founder of DMG Clearances, Inc. Deborah has been handling music clearances for some of the biggest brands, musicians, film/TV companies and podcasters in the world for the last 30 years.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

People call me the "Queen of Sample Clearance," but I also handle music clearances for film, TV, video games, ad campaigns and podcasts. 

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

We bought a new house in Newark, Delaware, on Feb. 14, before the shelter-in-place order came into law. Obviously, we didn't get much time to plan, so myself, my boyfriend, my 19-year-old son, and a music producer friend of ours who was down here from NYC when this all went down are all under the same roof.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

DMG Clearances, Inc., is fortunate because we had set up our company back in 1996 to be a work-at-home environment. All my employees, consultants and interns are able to work from their homes. 

Describe your socializing strategy.

Thankfully we're able to keep in touch via email, cellphones and social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Being able to stay in constant contact is important when it comes to music clearances, so I'm grateful this technology exists today.

How are you dealing with childcare?

My son is a freshman at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. He is in his bedroom continuing his classes online. We really only see him for dinner; otherwise he is in class or studying.

What are you reading?

I just downloaded The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life by Oliver Luckett. Just happened after having a call with Oliver!

What are you watching?

I just finished watching Star Trek: Picard. I've always loved Star Trek, and it was great to see this character again.

What are you listening to?

Nine Inch Nails just put out two new instrumental albums: Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts. Not only do they capture the current mood perfectly, but they'll likely make for great samples in the future. One of the tracks from their last Ghosts release actually ended up forming the backbone of "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X.

How are you staying fit?

We have been walking our two big dogs, Dakoda (red golden lab) and Peyton (black lab mix).

Have you taken up a hobby?

Since we just bought a new house, we have been doing some gardening and general sprucing up of the place. The new house came with a koi pond, so we are also learning how to sustain its inhabitants.

Any tips for getting necessities?

We had been going out to select stores, but now we have our meat delivered from ButcherBox, vegetables delivered from Misfits Market, and dairy products via Instacart.

An awkward moment since all this started.

One night, we found ourselves all hanging outside watching and listening to the toads and frogs mate. It's quite loud and can be heard five houses down! LOL. Note—we added music and made a video of it!

Best work email you got since all this started.

One of my clients is nine months pregnant. I saw a story on Morning Joe about giving birth during this pandemic. One of their medical correspondents was pregnant, gave birth during all of this, and documented it to help other mothers. I was able to send the link to her this morning, and it eased her mind as she prepares to go into the hospital on Monday to give birth.

An aha! moment since all this started. 

I have never done so much laundry and so much cleaning in my lifetime. Some days I am doing up to six loads! I'll never take cleanliness for granted again!

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

I am concerned that this could go on for up to 18 months. However, we will eventually get back to a semblance of normalcy. In the meantime, people are going to need entertainment, and DMG Clearances, Inc., will remain open to handle any music clearance needs for those providing it.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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