Voice Range: Male – Young adult to middle age to elderly
Accents: British, French, German, Japanese, Middle EAstern
Genres: Adventure, suspense, mystery, science fiction, science & medicine, faith & spirituality
Fluent Languages: English
Awards: No awards yet…and I'm working on that
After a long and rewarding career in business, technology, and consulting with IBM, I've returned to the work I loved so much in college – voiceover. At that time, it was radio. Now, it's narration for audiobooks, documentaries, and other long forms.
I narrate from my home studio in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Among the genres I enjoy narrating are science fiction, mystery, religion/spirituality, and science/medicine. My voice is described as warm, thoughtful, and trustworthy – the voice of “every man”.
Outside the studio, I am my wife’s personal help desk for all things technology-related, helping my local parish with strategy and communications and in the never-ending online chess tournament with a life-long friend.
How on earth did you get into narrating audiobooks?
Through Scott Brick…
In my career and a consultant, I spent a lot of time in cars, trains, and airplanes, where I listened to audiobooks and discovered Scott Brick. As I neared retirement, I chose to explore audiobook narration and a second career and contacted Scott, who was generous in his response and support.
What do you do when you are not narrating?:
I am in a perpetual online chess tournament with a close friend, my wife and I travel and spend time with friends, and I am supporting my local church is developing a new 5-year strategic plan
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 am dedicated to audiobook narration, doing no other form of voiceover work.
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?:
At this point, I can pick and choose. Yet, I am working to build a career with a steady backlog of audiobooks to narrate.
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 voice is described as warm, thoughtful, and trustworthy, – the voice of “every man”. You can best hear this, I think, in "Why" A Courtroom Drama" by Robert H King Jr.
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?:
Hmmm…a good question. At this point in my carer, my work is all royalty share. I am working to find that breakthrough book that allows me to move into per-finished-hour narration.
What do you see as your greatest achievement as an audiobook narrator? What has been your most difficult moment?:
I think my greatest achievement comes with every new audiobook where I have more "moments of brilliance" than in prior books. I can hear my skills are improving and feel my confidence is growing. My most difficult moment came early – I think my third or fourth book – in which the story was not well-crafted, characters were stereotypical for the genre, and dialog was predictable. I must admit I did not do a great job on that one.
If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?:
Batman !!!! I've always admired Batman because he is a superhero without what you and I would call super powers
If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?:
Caution -Still waters run deep.
Care to share an awkward fanboy/fangirl moment, either one where someone was gushing over your narration/acting…..or one where you were gushing over another narrator/actor’s work?:
Sorry, I'm not a gushy guy
What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?:
Here's the question – How do we restore, then reinforce, the economic health of the United States? The discussion focuses primarily on solving the debt problem – the national debt and the underfunded pensions in most major cities and states.
If you were to create a narrating playlist, what artists and songs would be on it?
I am a big fan of extraordinary albums so here we go…
The Beatles – Abbey Road
The Who – Who's Next
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin 2 and 4
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Deja Vu
Steely Dan – Aja
Carole KIng – Tapestry
You are hosting a dinner party and must invite 3 famous people (real or fictional). Who would you choose and why?
This is a hard one…let me think…
Jesus Christ…so I could presonally expreience being in his presence
Sarek of Vulcan…to explore the value of both emotion and logic in forming a society
Abraham Lincoln….To learn how he found the courage for the hard choices he made
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another narrator?
Trust your first instincts
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 do…and I often ask an author for his or her vision of story – what would was he or she creating as the story unfolded.
And all notes are helpful in that they may offer insight on what aspects of the story are important or unimportant.
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?:
I read the book thoroughly, playing the roles of both listener an narrator. Essentially, I ask how would I enjoy hearing the story, then how should I perform to produce that experience.
And, yes, I mark up….primarily to allow me to recognize what's coming ahead in the story that is important.
How do you flesh out how a specific character will sound?:
From the clues that I discover as I prepare the book for narration. There are, of course, attributions like "she said indignantly" and references to ethnic background and accents. There may also be a backstory on a character's psychological or social history that shapes their attitudes and behaviors as an adult. For instance, you can instill a sense of anxiety in a character's dialog if he or she grew up with a threatening parent or teacher.
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?:
I do record from my home studio. What i miss is direction from another person. I find it valuable to have someone help keep me connected o the story's subtext, where the emotion lies.
What is the atmosphere like in your studio when you record. What’s it like, and are things very serious or not very serious?:
"Serious" is an interesting word. I think a more fitting description is "deliberate. or "intentional." When I an narrating, I am there to create a very intentional experience for the listener. I am ,by nature, an optimist and happy individual, so my "intentional" atmosphere is not heavy or burdensome, but it is direct and purposeful.
How long do you record at a time, on average? What is it about a book that will shorten or lengthen this?:
I record 3-4 hours every day, regardless of he genre or complexity of the book. What does vary is how much content I complete in that time. For very complex non-fiction or very intricate fiction stories, I may complete fewer pages that usual
What is your favorite genre to narrate? Why?:
Hmmm…I think science fiction and espionage adventures tie for my favorite. I have always love science fiction, especially the stories with sweeping arcs that deal with social issues. Espionage adventures tend to be intricate and deceiving and are jus plain fun to read.
How do you stop yourself from laughing or crying at some of the things authors write?:
I don't. I find it helps my performance to let those experiences come. If I laugh or cry, I'll go back a re-record that excerpt.
I have heard that many in the industry dislike the term narrator. What do you prefer and why?:
"Narrator" works just fine for me.
How do you view audiobook narration/production: Art or Science?:
Yes to both. Audiobook narration is essentially acting and that is a form of art. In fact, many of the best narrators are well-trained, experienced professional actors. Mastering is a portfolio of technical skills, so that is applied science.
Do you have a philosophy of how to create the perfect audiobook experience?:
Not yet…but I can sense one taking shape for me.
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?:
Lately, I have been reading a lot of non-fiction for pleasure. There are some things about which I simply want to learn more. I do tend to read he same genres hat I prefer to narrate.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring narrators?:
This can be a lonely job, sitting alone in a studio for hours at a time. Often you work without direction or feedback of any kind. If you thrive on connections to other people, you will need to find that outside the studio after you compelte your day's work.
What has been your favorite project and why?:
I've just completed a new rendition of "Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane Grey. I was honored to narrate such a classic story. It's remarkable how Grey relies on the locale and setting to set the mood for much of the story.
Do you believe that listening to an audiobook should be considered reading? Why or why not?:
Sorry…listening is not the same as reading – just as doing math with a pencil and paper is different from using a calculator. Actual reading – looking a symbols on a page, recogizing them, and understanding what they mean – is a precious skill we should not lose.
Are you working on any special projects?:
None at the moment
Have you ever gotten a poor review on your narration? What do you do with such reviews?:
Of course…and I consider bad reviews as valid indicators of where and how I need to improve. It's most helpful if bad reviews are specific about what the listener disliked.
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