Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Meet the Voice of Yellowstone Redemption

Yellowstone Redemption is available in audio!

 Meet the talented and versatile Nick Sarando, who had the daunting task of not only voicing Chase and Sarah, but also Aimee and Daniel, along with Elk Runner and learning some difficult-to-pronounce Shoshone words and phrases.  (there's an audio sample at the end of the interview)

Tell us about yourself. What else do you do besides VO?

Like most actors pursuing a career in film and TV, I have to do many other jobs to pay the bills and support a family. I'm a father of a two-and-a-half year old girl and a baby boy who just turned five weeks old! My job capacity seems to span a bit wider than most other actors because my ADHD doesn't let me stick with one job, nor focus on any one thing: Along with acting, modeling, and dancing jobs, I am a singing waiter at a restaurant in West Hollywood, work for a high-end catering company at times, as a lighting technician, handyman, and various other jobs in the entertainment industry.

What made you decide to become a voice actor?

Ever since I was about five years old, I used to record myself on a tape-recorder with my cousin and brother. We would do different skits or songs, and I just fell in love with the art of voice-acting. I did this alone as well, and made tapes of me talking, acting and singing for girlfriends and long distance friends. I continued this until I was into my early twenties and then I turned more to video. A year ago, I watched a seminar on audio-book actors, and learned that technology enabled easy home-studio set up. I jumped at the prospect of being able to record at home, read books and get paid for it! I used to love books as a child, but once the AP and Honors' courses hit in High school there was no picking the books I wanted to read. This just seemed like such a win-win situation all around: audition and work from home, make residual income, be able to create multiple characters and be involved with different types of books.

When you are reading the script, do you become animated?

I can't move my body or hands too much or I would hit my booth, chair, or desk and you want to avoid making sounds such as creaking a chair or knocking something. I stay as still as possible, but my face and head definitely reflect what would be seen on TV or film as if I was acting as the character. My bigger moments probably have my hands as tucked in as necessary, moving with lots of shoulders and head-bobs and shakes.

What is your favorite type of story to which you lend your voice talents?

Young-adult characters come natural and easy to me. I had some big auditions for great novels early in the process. I kept getting the note that I did great, but sounded too young for the narrator they needed. Its easiest for me to read the younger characters so I don't have to "put on" a voice as much. However, I do like when a story has a bunch of cameo-appearances by extreme characters, so I can use my vocal range to express more dynamic acting. Different dialects and higher or lower registers are fun and challenging, too.

What drew you to narrate Yellowstone Redemption?

Peggy contacted me based off samples she had heard of my work. She thought I would be a great fit for her main character's voice, and had me do an audition. Once she confirmed that I had it right, she made me an offer. I accepted for many reasons:
  • Belonging to a Native American tribe myself (Pasqua Yaqui)
  • Growing up around the culture of the Wild West and Native American History in Tucson, AZ
  • The fact that there's time travel involved...I couldn't resist! I read a lot of sci-fi growing up, and I love TV or films that deal with time travel.
  • The setting being in Yellowstone, a place I've always wanted to visit
  • The love-story, intertwined with action helped sell me on it, too. It sounded like a fun book.
  • Peggy described the character of Chase to me as being an irresponsible young man, having to face his demons and grow up in order to win the love of the girl of his dreams. This ran very near and dear to my heart (and personal story).

Do you do anything to prepare for a narrating session?

I work closely with the author, and try to learn about the characters and tone in general. With Yellowstone Redemption, I also studied a little bit about the natives of that area and time. With all of my books, I read them as fresh as I can after scanning the story, so that I am experiencing it like a first-time reader of the book. The story intuitively leads me to what the characters are experiencing. Aside from a word pronunciation or character-specific accent, I let the magic happen as I read.

What sets you apart as a voice actor?

As much that makes me diverse as a person. Everything that feeds into my experiences in life, I try to pull from and incorporate all of it into my acting. ADHD has given me a life full of many experiences and learned crafts. Stories like Yellowstone Redemption allow me to remember my football-playing days, hunting with my native-american uncles, the female love perspective from college and lots of talks with many females. My vocal range has been a huge God-given gift, and I have been able to develop it from an early age singing and imitating actors on TV and film.

What was your favorite part of narrating Yellowstone Redemption?

Hard to pick. I did enjoy the imagery of the landscape and particular households we came to visit. Chase's struggle out in the wilderness, and not wanting to express his feelings for Sarah are particular experiences I have dealt with and enjoyed portraying.

The most challenging?

Female characters always make me nervous because I don't want to pitch them too high so it sounds ridiculous or cartoony. In the back of my mind I am nervous about what people think about me: either being too good at the sensibilities, or not close enough. I just think that most of us men don't want to be seen as too girly, and yet we crave the approval of females. Too harsh a judgment from either sex scared me a bit, but I forged on as I saw fit to best portray the characters, without taking the listener out of the story. I hope I landed with some success some of the time.

What do you hope the listeners will take away from your delivery?

I hope they will imagine the story as well as it was written, and not be taken out of their imaginations with critique of my interpretation or delivery. I hope my pacing was appropriate for the many scenarios we find in this story.

Share an unusual experience that happened during or as a result of narrating.

When I was first starting out and auditioning a lot, doing a few short stories, I was getting great feedback from the authors. Nothing drives me more than positive feedback, and if I hadn't been hearing those things, I would have quit a long time ago because the work itself is very tedious and tiring. The editing can be very time consuming, and there is no end to a way you can say a line, or how many milli-seconds of space there can be between words and sentences. Once I began to trust myself, it all started going much faster. So I thank all the authors and publishers who praised my early work.

Available at Audible , Amazon, and iTunes


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