WINTER KILL was an interesting production. I was in hurry when I booked the first narrator--we were in the midst of moving--and because I'd been so fortunate in the past with other narrators, I ignored my doubts when I heard the first fifteen minutes (if you're new to self-producing audio, those first fifteen minutes are your last chance to pull out of the deal with no harm no fault). This turned out to be a huge mistake. When I listened to the final production, I knew it was a disaster. But just to be sure, I had a couple of friends listen as well and...yeah. Bad news.
But it was my own fault, so I contacted the narrator, told him I'd pay for the full production but needed to scrap it. He agreed and I began the hunt for my narrator all over again. This time I went with a narrator who I knew would be a sure thing. I'd heard Gomez's previous work on the Psycop series, I checked out all his sound clips, all his previous productions, and then I approached him without putting the book up for any further auditions.
Anyway, the story has a happy ending because I love how WINTER KILL ultimately turned out, even if I did take the long way around. I hope you do too! So without further adieu...
Interview Questions for Gomez Pugh
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in narrating/producing audio books? How many audio books have you narrated?
GP - My training is in theatre. I have been acting professionally for over a decade. When I moved to LA, a friend referred me for a title he thought would be a good fit and the rest is history! I have narrated over 25 titles.
How much acting is involved in narrating a story?
GP - A great deal. For the narration, it is about being clear and moving the story forward. Figuring out how to navigate long or complicated sentences. Funny enough, I find that my training in Shakespeare helps this a great deal, no matter what type of story I am reading. For the dialogue: it is figuring out who these characters are and how to portray them without the physicality. Pitch, tone, dialects. I often do a lot of research online and collaborate with the author. It is kind of the same process of working with a director at the beginning of rehearsals, figuring out who these people are. Then once I get into the booth, it is like being on stage!
What was the most difficult or challenging aspect of narrating WINTER KILL?
GP - Differentiating between the two lead characters. They are similar in a lot of ways. I wanted them to sound distinct, but without going too far with “character voices”.
What character was the most fun to narrate? Why?
GP - There were a lot of fun characters on this. Even though Aggie has very few lines, I really like her. She always seemed slightly off her game, either stressed out or overwhelmed. I like her a lot. The others that were a lot of fun were Sandy and Bert. I am a character actor at heart and these guys were a great opportunity to dig in.
What character was the most difficult to narrate? Why?
GP - Probably Bert. I knew what I wanted him to sound like, but it was challenging to produce that voice. Especially when he spoke more towards the end.
Was there a particular scene you think you read especially well? Or that you particularly enjoyed reading?
GP - I enjoyed reading all of the scenes with Sandy. He was a lot of fun.
How awkward is it to read erotic scenes aloud?
GP - When I record these books I am alone in the booth. So for the erotic scenes, I am in the moment and connected with what is going on. So it isn’t a big deal. But after the engineer edits and masters the book, if we have to go back and clean up or correct any of those passages together, it gets a little awkward. They have kind of become private moments.
What’s the most satisfying or rewarding part of narrating/producing an audio book?
GP - For me, it’s if the author is happy. They spend so much time creating these characters and this world. It’s like working with a playwright. As an actor you want to do justice to their work. I always enjoy hearing back from the author after they have listened to the audiobook. Especially when they are excited about a particular character or losing themselves in their own story.
You appear to be much in demand as a narrator. Have you ever found yourself in the position of refusing to narrate a book or a scene?
GP - Sure. A couple of times. If I feel a piece is offensive, or just poorly written. But I like connecting with authors I don’t know and forming new relationships, so I am usually pretty open.
Where can readers/listeners find out more about you and your work?