By Brett Battles
I’ve always been a big fan of audiobooks. I used to listen to them as I sat in near motionless traffic every day during the morning commute on Los Angeles freeways. One thing I learned early on was that a good book could be ruined by a bad narrator, and a so-so book could actually come across pretty entertaining with a decent one. And when you had good on both ends?…Wow!
When I finally got my deal at Random House, one of the things I secretly hoped for was an audio deal. It would be a dream come true, kind of a full circle thing for me. I was lucky, that dream did come true when my debut novel was picked up by Books on Tape.
And to top it off, I was truly honored to have the great Scott Brick on board as narrator.
For those of you unfamiliar with Scott, he is one of the top narrators in the audiobook business. Quite simply, he is fantastic. And as an added bonus, he also brings along a built in fan base that follows his work.
The audiobook of THE CLEANER was a big enough success that Books on Tape signed up for my follow up, THE DECEIVED. Unfortunately, Scott was over booked last year, so he was not able to narrator. The person who did was good, but I have to say that I was ecstatic when it came time to record this year’s release – SHADOW OF BETRAYAL – Scott was once again onboard.
But that wasn’t all …
I then found out that they would be recording here in Los Angeles. A couple of quick emails later, I was invited to observe for a couple of hours! I could hardly wait.
Finally, when the date arrived, I made my way to the Random House Audio studios in Woodland Hills, and I brought with me our own Robert Gregory Browne.
The studio is located in a well landscaped business park that houses God know what else, but I imagine the same kind of businesses that populate similar parks across the country. Though few, I’m willing to bet, have audio studios as tenants.
On the day of our visit, Rob and I were a little early, so we got something to drink at the café located next door, then showed up right at the appointed time. We were led back to a small studio that consisted of a sound proof booth, and a larger space for the director and guests (us.)
The first person we met was Tony Hudz, director and recording engineer. He’s been in the audiobook business for many years, and he and Scott have recorded over 30 books together. We didn’t meet Scott right away, but we could see him on the other side of the large window in the wall that separated the sound booth from us. He was in the middle of reading, but soon he came out and joined us.
Both Scott and Tony made us feel right at home. We spent a good fifteen minutes talking and joking and getting to know each other. Then Rob and I settled back in a couch along the wall, and Scott went back in the booth to continue reading.
It’s a truly surreal experience to listen to a trained actor read your work. There were times when I couldn’t even remember writing the words, and one time when I realized I’d used the word “still” in to successive sentences, making me cringe.
Scott is amazing. He reads near flawlessly. Occasionally he’ll stop and re-read a sentence, but that is more to give different emphasis than he did the first time instead of stopping for a mistake. The way he works is to read two pages, then take a break, and look over the next two pages. The whole process was a complete pleasure to watch.
As the recording went on, Tony would explain some of the finer details to us, telling us about his role, and describing Scott’s methods. I don’t know about Rob, but I learned a helluva lot that day.
About twenty minutes before we were to break for lunch, Scott came out of the booth, and I went in. See, since I was there they wanted to interview me. The interview will be included at the end of the book. So for about ten or fifteen minutes, I was the one behind the mike, while Scott fired questions at me from the other room. I was a little nervous at first, but it turned out to be a ton of fun. Not sure how well I did…guess Rob can speak to that.
Second Career? Doubtful…
When I was done, the four of us went back to the café Rob and I had stopped in earlier. We had a great lunch. For the most part I just listened as Tony and Scott told us stories of recordings they’d done in the past. Then Scott and I realized we shared a love of sci-fi, and talked about that for a while.
As you can imagine, it was a fantastic day, and one I will not soon forget.
Here are a few more pics:
Scott Brick and Me
Me, Scott, Tony Hudz, and Rob
If you’re interested in audiobooks, here are a few links to check out:
scottbrickpresents.com – Scott has his own company that he uses to record some of his favorite books, you can learn more about him and those book here.
Buy THE CLEANER at Audible.com
Buy THE CLEANER at Booksontape.com
Buy THE DECEIVED at Audible.com
Buy THE DECEIVED at Booksontape.com
So, do you enjoy audiobooks? Do you have a favorite narrator? Is there an audiobook you’d suggest those here who read Murderati might want to check out?