Friday, January 8, 2016

Gomez Pugh on WINTER KILL

Back again with another narrator interview. This month we've got Gomez Pugh talking about narrating WINTER KILL.

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 isnt 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.



Whats the most satisfying or rewarding part of narrating/producing an audio book?


GP - For me, its if the author is happy. They spend so much time creating these characters and this world. Its 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 dont know and forming new relationships, so I am usually pretty open.



Where can readers/listeners find out more about you and your work?


GP - On Audible and on ACX



  1. I can see how your experience acting Shakespeare would help with reading aloud long complicated sentences! I wonder if you find it easier to narrate books which you really enjoy (the impression you give about Winter Kill) than those which are just OK?

  2. Thank you for this interview. It is always interesting to hear the narrator's view. Winter Kill was fabulous.

  3. It's always so interesting to hear how the narrator approaches the story and which scenes/characters they find challenging/fun. Thank you for the interview! Can't wait to listen to the audio!

  4. Thank you for this interview, Josh and Gomez. I think that Gomez's narration really does justice to Josh's wonderful writing. I enjoyed hugely listening to the Winter Kill audio after reading the book first myself. And oh yes, Aggie truly comes alive in audio. What a character. :-D

  5. I've really enjoyed listening to the PsyCop stories. Winter Kill was a treat. I appreciated how skillfully Gomez differentiated characters within each story, and between the JCP books and Josh's Winter Kill. I love that the skills developed acting Shakespeare are applicable to Gomez's other work.

    Josh, thanks for your decision to take the extra time and expense to give us such a great listening experience.

  6. What a nice interview. It's always cool to hear different perspectives about people's work. I only wish my ears were good enough to listen to audiobooks. I feel like I'm missing out. :(