Narrator: Scott Thomas
Voice Range: I’ll never be confused with the big-voice movie trailer guy, but I do take pride in my mid-range, natural-sounding voice.
Accents:Still learning and trying to perfect as many accents and dialects as I can, but I have performed the following in audiobooks: German, British, Mexican, French, Irish, various American dialects, Swahili and Spanish.
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Horror, Non-Fiction
Fluent Languages: I’d like to say I could swear like a drunken sailor in Klingon, but that would be a lie. I suppose the only language in which I’m fluent is English – but even that’s debatable.
Awards: Best Dad (says so on the plaque in my studio)
Twisted Video Sample: https://www.facebook.com/AMCstudios/videos/659268324173229/
Fearful Symmetry Video Sample: https://www.facebook.com/AMCstudios/videos/594105677356161/
Tell us a little about yourself (Your bio).
I’ve been babbling into a microphone for most of my life, in one capacity or another. In my career, I’ve held various positions in radio including Morning Show personality, Production Manager, Executive Producer & Music Director. In professional sports, I enjoyed six seasons as Public Address announcer for the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed by a stint as Executive Producer for Gameday Radio.
In the Summer of 2014, I decided to take on the role of audiobook narrator.
Out of the professional arena, I’ve been married for over 23 years, and my wife Carolyn and I are about to be empty-nesters, as my twin daughters are about to fly off to college. On to the next chapter…
Would you be willing to record a unique greeting to fans of AudioBook Reviewer, you can say whatever you want to, please mention audiobookreviewer.com? (mp3 is best)
How on earth did you get into narrating audiobooks?
I’ve been an audiobook fan for years. When I first started listening back in 2006, I couldn’t find the time to take on narrating, so the dream was put on a shelf. Years later, circumstances changed, events fell into place and I decided to give it a shot.
What do you do when you are not narrating?
Spend time with family and friends, travel, read, enjoy playing guitar badly, play sports, watch sports, fix things around the house. And sleep.
Many audiobook narrators do other voice over work, where else could we hear your work? Do you find there to any big hurdles to jump when going from audiobooks to something else or vise versa?
I continue to voice and produce radio and television commercials, business and e-learning narrations, video game characters and various other voice-over projects. And yes, there can be a Huge difference going from one job to another.
Do you have the luxury of picking and choosing the projects that you work on or do you take as many as you have time for?
I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve had the opportunity to go after the narrations that have interested me.
For those of us that are unfamiliar with your work. How would you describe your narration style and voice? What would the one audiobook you would suggest for people to listen to your best work?
My style has been described as engaging and natural, with a knack for being able to crank up the tension, and turn on the “creepy” factor, if that makes sense. This is good, since I’ve always been a fan of the horror & mystery/thriller genres, and many of my book narrations have (so far) fallen into those categories.
As a narrator, do you get compensated in a set amount or do you also receive royalties from the individual sales? Do you like one more than the other? Has there ever been an per finished hour book that you wish was a royalty deal, what book? Or vise versa?
I prefer a combination of the two. There is no substitute for getting paid when the work is completed, but I also enjoy being involved in the marketing of audiobooks, and being able to track their progress. Plus, you never know when you’re going to narrate a book that turns into the next big blockbuster.
What do you see as your greatest achievement as an audiobook narrator? What has been your most difficult moment?
I’m proud of the books I’ve narrated, but I’ll reserve any comment about “”greatest achievements”” for a later date. Let’s just say that completing an audiobook which makes the author happy (and sells well!) gives me quite a bit of satisfaction.
My most difficult period was transitioning to a new studio that I decided to build. On my own. It was challenging, but also very rewarding.
Do you have a list of your own favorite narrators, who inspires you? Do you have a list of favorite audiobook that you have listened to?
Being an avid audiobook listener, I have tons of favorite narrators. Many are household names in the industry: Brick, Hill, Rosenblat, Guidall, Muller. Some others that have inspired or influenced me are Ray Porter, Sean Runnette, Jim Dale, Jeffrey Kafer, Willem Dafoe, Carolyn McCormick, James Foster, Will Patton, RC Bray…I could go on and on.
As a narrator, I have a different agenda when choosing and listening to an audiobook. I’m gonna’ pull a cop out and simply say – I appreciate a great story told well.
What is your favorite thing to do? Pastime, hobby, obsession, etc.
I have so many interests and hobbies, and they’re always climbing and falling on my “favorite things to do” list. I have a creative side. I have an athletic side. I have a musical side. I have an adventurous side. I have a lazy side. Damn, I have a lot of sides.
Do you ever get specific notes or ideas from the writer about how something should be read? What is a helpful note, and what is, shall we say, less helpful?
I prefer to have an author that is involved with the process, and gives feedback when warranted. That said, I like to have a lot of the book discussed and planned out ahead of time so I’m not re-doing much of the narration. So far, I’ve been fortunate in that every one of the authors I’ve worked with has been very helpful, and, in the end, very happy with the results.
Do you have an initial process or routine by which you get to know the book you’re going to be reading? Do you mark them up, for example?
The first phase is reading the book with a narrator’s perspective. This means writing down all the characters and their traits, noting and researching any pronunciation issues, and fully understanding the subtexts in the book. I have a separate notebook I use, to which I refer back throughout the narration. I’ve found that speaking to the author directly is also helpful…
How do you flesh out how a specific character will sound?
During the reading phase of the book, I’ll write down every single character along with all their traits. Obviously, accents and specific vocal descriptions are the biggest points, but authors will also give other clues about how a character will ultimately sound. Sometimes, assigning a famous actor or actress to a character will help me create the voice. It’s not a matter of imitating the actor, but rather serving as a reminder of the character’s traits.
Is your studio in your home? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this? Do you have something that you would consider unique in your setup? What is it?
Yes, I have a home studio which I designed and built. Quite the ordeal that was! The advantages of working at home are numerous, but it’s also a challenge. Staying disciplined and focused are paramount. My biggest issue working from home is the fact that my studio is next to a teenager’s room. ‘Nuff said.
What is the atmosphere like in your studio when you record. What’s it like, and are things very serious or not very serious?
Totally depends on the book I’m narrating. I always try to keep things light, but reading horror stories and mystery/thrillers can tend to change the mood.
How long do you record at a time, on average? What is it about a book that will shorten or lengthen this?
I usually try to limit a recording session to a couple of hours at a time. Then I get out of my cave and stretch, go outside, refill my water, kiss my wife, pet my dogs and get back to work.
Gruff sounding characters and certain accents can definitely shorten a recording day.
What is your favorite genre to narrate? Why?
As stated earlier, I’ve always loved the horror genre. Started when I was a kid. When I first got into narrating, that was the genre I migrated to. I also enjoy a good mystery/thriller. Currently, I’m narrating a non-fiction book which I’m thoroughly enjoying. So, then there’s that…
What has been your favorite character? What character has given you the most grief?
Well, I don’t want to start naming favorite characters…some of the others would get jealous.
The most grief? I would say any character who forces me to perform far from my natural voice, and has a large part in a book.
How do you stop yourself from laughing or crying at some of the things authors write?
I get all my laughing and crying out of the way in the “reading” phase of the book. By the time I get to narrating, I’ve gotten it out of my system. Mostly.
I have heard that many in the industry dislike the term narrator. What do you prefer and why?
I’m okay with narrator. I’ll also answer to voice-actor, voice-over artist and professional word sayer.
How do you view audiobook narration/production: Art or Science?
The narration part is definitely art, but starting out in the audiobook narration business, there is a lot of science – since you have to wear the engineer hat (among others).
Do you have a philosophy of how to create the perfect audiobook experience?
Just tell the story as the author would want.
Do you have a preference for reading fiction or nonfiction for pleasure? And is what you read for pleasure what you’d prefer to read for audiobooks?
Reading for pleasure has become a distant memory. Typically, I always have a book in the on-deck circle, so I read future narration books at night, while I narrate the current book in the daytime.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring narrators?
Listen to audiobooks whenever you can. Preferably, the genre you want to pursue, performed by narrators that are really good. Learn as much about the craft as you can, and when the time is right, get coaching from a pro. One-on-one is best. Practice, practice, practice.
What has been your favorite project and why?
Some books have been easier than others, and I’ve enjoyed them all in one way or another, but I’d have to say “Twisted” by Michaelbrent Collings. It’s a creepy ghost story that actually gave me chills during the narration.
Do you believe that listening to an audiobook should be considered reading? Why or why not?
I would say no – in my book (ha!), reading is an entirely different activity. I enjoy them both, but when was the last time you read a good book on your drive into work?
Are you working on any special projects?
They’re all special, but yes…I’m working on a non-fiction account of a married couple’s hike/pilgrimage across the Camino de Santiago in Spain. If you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out. Do a search on that interweb thingie.
Have you ever gotten a poor review on your narration? What do you do with such reviews?
Yes I have. I print them out and use them to wipe away the tears as I curl into the fetal position in my studio.
How do you feel about authors that choose to narrate their own audiobooks? Any advice to them?
Like everything in life, there are good ones, and not-so-good ones. One author I’ve enjoyed listening to is Neil Gaiman.
Advice? I would suggest having someone in the industry (be it another narrator, a director, a casting agent, etc.) critique a sample. Then listen to their advice.
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