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I am R.C. Bray, audiobook narrator of The Martian, Arisen, Mountain Man, Lost Gods, Expeditionary Force, and most recently SOLITUDE (out yesterday!)

Apr 6th 2017 by audbks • 39 Questions • 45 Points

Welcome everyone and thank you so much for stopping by! I'll be hanging here in front of my screen until 11pm and answering any questions you have about what I know regarding ExpForce3, the next in the Fear series, why it takes so long for an audiobook to be released, etc. Truly. Thank you for having a visit!

Q:

Also that is supposed to read "FB live"...apparantly my autocorrect on my phone changes live to love 😙

1. By: sarahbear024
Thread | Permalink
A:

SORRY I'M SO WORDY EVERYONE - HOPE I'M GETTING TO EVERYONE IN TIME!!


Q:

Mr Bray, let me start by saying thank you for doing this AMA.

I first heard your work on The Martian and you quickly became my favorite audiobook narrator, as a result, I have a few questions

  1. How did you get into doing voice work for audiobooks?
  2. How do you decide what books you want to read?
  3. Do you have to "audition" for books you want to do?
  4. Please tell me that you are planning on continuing with Craig Alanson's ExForce book series. I don't think I could possibly like anyone else's version of "Skippy The Magnificent"
  5. Would you consider other forms of voice work, like a video game character?
  6. Given the amount of time you have read to me as I have fallen asleep (pretty much most nights for the past 15 months) How much would it cost me to get you to record a message telling me to go to fucking sleep?

And lastly

  1. My girlfriend once told me that the main thing that attracted her to me was my voice. She recently told me that if you were to read romance novels I would become single very quickly. So my question is, are you trying to steal my girlfriend?
A:

ok Shindo989 - here we go!

  1. after hearing Frank Muller read The Drawing of the Three (Dark Tower Book 2) I decided to give up my job as one of those hard-hitting car commercial guys and do what Frank showed me was possible to do.

  2. it's really a matter of what comes my way. i don't ever want to turn any down - which has gotten me into some serious scheduling snafus. and that's really how i decide - if i'm available.

  3. there are some publishers that ask for auditions since the authors want to have final say. not always the case though.

  4. yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. there is zero chance i will ever stop being Skippy.

  5. would love to do video games but narration is a full time gig and to be honest i'm not even sure where to start

  6. lololol!!! depends on what you want it to say. send me an email [email protected]

  7. yes. yes i am. and i do have it planned in the future to do some more romance. if by romance she means romance and not erotica. i've done both actually. lol! make sure you tell her that please.


Q:

In reply

  1. For an audition tape, have you ever just sent in an audio clip of you saying "I'm R.C. Bray Bitch!"?
  2. You have made me very happy with that response.
  3. Oh I'll be sending you an email for sure :)

and as for question 7, No NO NO!! No romance or erotica... C'mon man.. I thought we were friends :)

And one new question. Any upcoming books that you are super excited for us to hear?

Also we need more outtakes on your soundcloud

A:
  1. LOLOLOL!!! no, but i'm going to now!
  2. good!
  3. sounds like a plan

yes - several books coming soon: G-Man, Gilded Needles, The Reason You're Alive, Hell Hound, the After it Happened series, HELL DIVERS 2 baby!!

love the outtakes myself. i just want them to be as natural as possible. i have plenty where i laugh, but i know they're just funny to me.


Q:

Damnit... Only now do I realize that i have missed a prime opportunity to reply to one of you answers in my original comment

yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. there is zero chance i will ever stop being Skippy.

you said yes! I haven't been this excited about a yes since prom night

A:

HA!!!


Q:

2 last questions, otherwise I could keep you here all day.

  1. have you ever had a strange fan interaction? Like you where just buying your groceries and the person behind the counter geeked out because they recognized your voice?
  2. Have you ever thought about just one day following around a stranger and narrating their day? "Rob walked over to the cupboard and got out a coffee cup, doing his best to ignore the strange man in his kitchen narrating his life. With a sigh Robert offered an empty up to the narrator and pointed towards the coffee machine. It was going to be a long day"
A:

sort of. my dad had the interaction and i was so happy. he was going to see the movie of The Martian and the ticket seller said it was great and blah blah blah, but that he (my dad) should really listen to the audiobook. got me choked up to know my dad in a roundabout way found out that i'd "made it" so to speak - that his son done good!

  1. never thought of it. but i'm going to do my own day tomorrow to see how it feels. i'm the only one here so i won't feel too ridiculous doing it!

Q:

I'd love for you to narrate my stories :) They are essentially erotica...

I'm listening to The Martian and I love how you really capture the characters!

A:

send me an email and we'll see what we can do! [email protected]


Q:

Don't! It's a trap!

I knew you were trying to steal my girlfriend

A:

HA!!!!!


Q:

You've done erotica?! Where?!

A:

ha! have to guess my pseudonym. funny story - didn't have any clue that i'd accepted erotica. as i said before, i don't like saying no. however when i started repeating certain words it dawned on me that i was doing a book i wouldn't want my daughters coming upon one day when looking for examples to show their friends what their daddy did for a living!


Q:

Arrgggg I'll have to attempt to find them

A:

there are only a few of them and they're weird fantasy dragon sorcerer stuff - but hey, if you're into that.... Robin Dane

i have another pseudonym too - Bon Shaw. Those are books like I do under R.C. Bray.


Q:

His lady fans are The Women of Bray! ☺

A:

alright!!! there you are!!


Q:

Hey Bob, huge fan. One of the first audiobooks I downloaded when I signed up for Audible was The Martian, and I was instantly hooked on your voice. I actually have two questions for you. 1. Have you ever considered doing voice work for animation or film? For example, if they ever make The Expeditionary Force books into movies, I REALLY hope they tap you to do the voice of Skippy. It just wouldn't be right without your voice. 2. When you put your kids to bed at night and read them a bedtime story, does that feel like work for you?

A:

Green2Delta, if you were in the room when I read to my kids you'd actually hear their eyes rolling in their heads when I do voices. My oldest one is famous for asking me to "just read it normal." LOL! I've always wanted to do VOs for games and animation, but doing audiobooks is a fulltime gig now. Still open to it down the road though. However, if ExForce is made into a movie or Netflix original or whatever, you bet your ass I'm going to demand that I'm Skippy! LOL


Q:

Is it true that you shaved your head in homage to the author of your most recently released audiobook?

A:

that's what i told him but that idiot will believe anything.
(hey dean!) this is author Dean M. Cole of SOLITUDE that just came out yesterday. you have to hear this folks. please follow this link and get it now if you haven't already. it's also got Julia Whelan on it. it's been a dream of mine to work with her on a two-voicer. all it took was convincing dean to let me cast her! thanks dean!

http://adbl.co/2oDI96P


Q:

To be clear, the audiobook came out yesterday, not me (not that there's anything wrong with that).

A:

LOLOLOL!! Everyone - go look up author Dean Cole. Not Dean M. Cole.


Q:

As a Narrator, do you have any other fellow narrators that you enjoy and can recommend?

A:

nope.


Q:

Shut the front door! I'm in LA and will def be there

A:

in the words of Dane Cook: skiddle-dee-deeee!!!!


Q:

Do you yourself listen to audiobooks?

A:

Hey! I do. Not as often as I used to though sadly. Don't have much of a commute time!


Q:

Have you ever turned down a narration job because you didn't like a book?

Do you need an agent to be a narrator?

A:

as i said above i almost turned down The Martian. Glad I love profanity! Other than that it's really come down to scheduling and available time. I'm flattered every time I get offered a book. I want to say absolutely to all of them. George Guidall calls them "turkeys" and there've been a few that I've read, but you also have to keep in mind that these are someone's baby and whether I as the narrator like it or not doesn't really matter. i'm not there to critique, i'm there to help them get their story to ears.

no you don't need an agent to become a narrator. one of the best things about this biz!


Q:

What is your favorite Audiobook you didn't narrate? Which is the favorite you did?

A:

hey VanillaThnder! That I didn't narrate is either All Quiet on the Western Front or The Road. I always say I have three favorites that I've done - and they always change.... because they do. The book I love love love today might be outdone by another tomorrow. I'll tell you several of my faves that I've done: Lost Gods, Reaper Madness, any of the Arisens, all of the Mountain Man series with an emphasis on The Hospital, The Martian, all of The Huntress books... there are too many. Sorry that's a terrible answer I know!!


Q:

Hi R.C., huge fan. You were the first narrator I ever listened to as I dove into audiobooks (started with The Martian) and I listen to any book you narrate. Thank you for your outstanding portrayal of so many great works.

What types of stories typically draw your attention?

Of the books you have narrated, which character stands out as the most fun to bring to life?

Do you have any stories coming up that you are particularly excited about?

Have you ever considered doing a Facebook live meet and greet session?

A:

Thanks Metshrine! I've been typecast ass the down and out alcoholic P.I. with an ex-wife and a cat a lot. LOL! So I've become pretty used to those. The ones I love doing the most are the slow drama/thrillers (Descent, The Wild Inside, The Forgers). Those types always are very character driven and I like that.

As I noted above there are too many characters that I had the most fun with but I'll put a few more here that I didn't put above: Special (from Pamela Samuels Young's Vernetta Henderson series), Alice from The Hospital, Annie Montrose from The Martian.

Yes - there are several I've got coming up (and don't forget that SOLITUDE just dropped yesterday!). The Reason Your Alive by Matthew Quick (Silver Linings Playbook), Gilded Needles by Michael McDowell (The Elementals), and G-Men by Stephen Hunter (The Bob Lee Swagger series).

Haven't considered a FB live meet and greet but I will now!


Q:

wait... whats wrong with having a cat?

A:

not a thing. i've got three!


Q:

Who is Gil Holly and what does he mean to you? Have fun tonight! Wish I could stay but I'll read when I get home...

A:

Gil Holly. Wow. Haven't thought of Gil or his brother Farn in a long time. Sad news about Sprinkles though. LOLOLOLOL!!!!!! (This is my oldest friend in the world who got the idea of doing an AMA rolling around in my head in the first place - so thank him!!)


Q:

Just checking in... I wanted to thank you for the great work you do...

What is the news on Fear #4? Since you brought it up...

A:

not sure i'm sorry to say last i heard stephen moss was working on a novella for the 4th but that was a while ago. podium publishing had me pencil it in a while ago but they hadn't received the script when the time came. because all of you are such rabid individuals (lol!) i post on FB, twitter, and wherever I can when I hear something that's loved becomes available. hopefully i'll hear something soon!


Q:

Hey R.C. love your work, makes my drive every day actually enjoyable.

Just wondering how many different voices you do, and if you come up with new ones depending on the book?

Also, what do find the most challenging part of narration?

A:

thanks JagDarklighter! i've actually wanted to go through all of the books i've done to count up the number of voices. i've done over 1000 at this point. i keep mentioning Frank Muller here - but that's only because of his massive influence on me - he said he always tried to make every character different. i've run into trouble sometimes though where a voice i did in one book would be perfect for another. i just go for it and hope the same listener doesn't hear both books. LOL! the most challenging part of narration is.... man, good question. not losing my voice i guess. that'll kill it.


Q:

How do you feel about adding various degrees of sound effects to audiobooks?

A:

great question. depends on the book. audio dramas - absolutely put them in. makes perfect sense. single voiced projects, not so much. i'm guilty of doing it in early productions though. it's a distraction in my opinion. there's an exception though. there's a book coming out called These Dead Lands where the author - who's also very adept at production - is going to throw some effects throughout. he has a very clear idea in his mind of what he's going to do - and has done it before. looking forward to hearing it myself!


Q:

Do you audiobook narrators go to conventions together or meet ups where you talk shop with each other? How are those meetings?

A:

Yes. Every May there's something called APAC - Audio Publishers Association Convention. It's absolutely brilliant! All the narrators, publishers, casting directors, etc. are there. If you're thinking of getting into narration this is the one thing you HAVE to do.

https://www.audiopub.org/members/apac


Q:

I wanted to thank you for narrating the fanfic now cannon short story by Andy Weir for Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. You were fantastic for taking the time to do that. I genuinely appreciate your talents, and am an avid audiobook nerd.

I just wanted to ask, did you think Matt Damon lived up to your performance as Mark Whatney?

And of course, is the Martian also your favorite musical/comedy from 2015?

edit: words are hard.

A:

Yeah, that was a lot of fun to do. And really very last minute. I think Andy put something up about how I told him I was doing a warm up (something I rarely ever do) and thought it'd be fun to read it. Glad you liked it!

As far as MD - I think he interpreted it differently than I did for sure. But that's mainly because the screenplay was so different from the book. It was heavily toned down to appeal to the masses in my opinion. Which makes perfect sense: the more people you reach the better it is for the wallet.

Musical/Comedy. Get the fu.... sorry. The BOOK was comedy. The movie - drama.


Q:

The movie was good, but your narrated version was far better.

A:

ok i guess you're right!


Q:

Hi R.C. Bray, love your work. I've listened to numerous books you've narrated. My questions is, how long have you been narrating books & what got you started?

A:

been doing it for about 6 years this May and never been happier! the guy i worked for made me listen to business audiobooks on my commute about growing te business, etc. after i'd done several of those (he was signing my checks aafter all!) i wanted to try out a story to see what all the love for audiobooks was about. i heard george guidall doing The Gunslinger (Dark Tower book 1) - and really got a kick out of it. What a truly unique voice. But when I heard Frank Muller do The Drawing of the Three (book 2) I was hooked. Hearing what he did to audiobooks made something inside me come alive because I knew that it was what I was supposed to do. Thanks Integrity_Defines_Us. I get that question a lot and always love answering it because I get to talk about Frank and hopefully turn others onto his work!


Q:

Evening, Mr. Bray. Thanks for doing this!

Must pile on to the Martian love. You rock it way better than that Damon guy.

My question: How involved are authors in the narration process? Are they around to help with things like pronunciation of names and other words they make up, how a character might sound, etc?

Oh, did I mention that you rock?

A:

Why thank ya, RuprechtWS!

It depends. There are some authors that couldn't give a crap about who narrates it. Then there are ones who want to approve who voices it, but doesn't ever listen to it. Then there are ones who trust wholly in the publishing company and casting directors to do the job they do so well (my preference) and are on call to help however they can.

Generally they provide pronunciations for SciFi the most. Obviously a lot of species, language, planets, etc. are created by SciFi authors. They'll provide it straight off or will happiy give it to you when asked. I try to ask for anything that's questionable. Even human names. Some first and last names in English are screwy!

As far as how a character might sound, they usually put that right in the book. It's my job to find it and implement it.

You did. But please feel free to mention it again!


Q:

Hey R.C. I just want to say I love your narrations and The Martian was my first audio book. The Arisen series Mountain Man and the Fear series are awesome.

I just wanted to ask how does the average recording session go? Any rituals you do to get yourself in the mindset for the book?

A:

i'm sorry - i didn't catch this one until now!!! i record for 5 to 6 hours a day if I can. the way to figure it best is that if the book is a total hour count of 20, it took me twice as long to record it (a 2:1 ration).

no, no rituals. unless pulling myself away from facebook and other pointless crap on the computer counts!


Q:

one last thing, what are the new books that are coming down pipe line with in next 12 months ...... ? ( that haven't been announced in audible )

A:

OK - It's 11:07. I'm going to scroll through all of these wonderful questions one more time to see if there are any left unanswered, then I'm going to head out.

But before I go, please don't forget to download SOLITUDE: Dimension Space, Book 1 by Dean M. Cole with yours truly and Julia Whelan voicing. I absolutely loved working on this book and with Dean. He's an outstanding guy who I'm proud to say has become a friend! I might actually even get to meet him next week!

http://adbl.co/2ndonyH

If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to give me a shout at [email protected]. I might not answer back as quickly as here, but I promise I WILL answer back.

THANK YOU AGAIN SO VERY MUCH EVERYONE!!! I HOPE TO DO THIS AGAIN IN THE NEAR FUTURE!!


Q:

Wouldn't that be the wheelhouse of the production side of the job? How many folks are usually working on making an audiobook other than the narrator?

A:

most audiobooks nowadays are done at home recording studios. those that go into studios hve an engineer/director recording them. either way, it's post production that has the most involvement. once i record my stuff i send a WAV file of each chapter over to the publisher (unless I'm doing it myself), they give it a listen and proof it (read along in the book while listening), then send me any corrections that are needed. chosing how to keep track of the voices and such is all up to the narrator.


Q:

What sort of set up do you have at home? What kind of equipment do you have? Do you also have a sound booth?

A:

I've got a 6'x4' Whisper Room, Neumann BCM 104, and work on Pro Tools 11 (I used to update it all the time, but there's really no need with the limited amount of production i do)


Q:

Brilliant!

A:

i know right?!?!?! lol


Q:

Hey RC. You're self taught and i 'm wondering, if someone else is going to attempt that, what did you find most helpful in learning and perfecting your tecnique?

A:

hi kimberlyvo! i just put up a little bit about narration recommendation on my website (under $0.02) because i get asked the question about what it takes to become a narrator. check it out when you get a sec. one thing i can heavily credit is listening and listening and listening to other narrators. Frank Muller is the one who made me want to become a narrator. I thought audiobooks were just a guy reading the book. I had no idea you could do voices and actually have fun! I grew up impersonating Eddie Murphy impersonating Elvis, Ralph Kramden, etc. so being able to act out every part was a massive incentive for me to get into it. my technique really came from college when one of my on-camera acting teachers said "stop yelling at me, there's a mic right there." made me realize that you didn't have to emote or enunciate or project so much. the mic is a magical instrument and will pick up everything you want to convey.


Q:

Thanks RC. Love your work.

A:

and I love your adoration LOL!


Q:

I spent some time in the military and so this is just an FYI it's pronounce fob like key fob not spelt out F.O.B. it's a common mistake that people make.

Edit: if you need any help with military lingo shoot me message, I'd be happy to help. :)

A:

i'd love to run stuff by you - send me an email so i have you on tap: [email protected] thanks in advance!


Q:

RC, Thomas from Alabama. Quit doing taxes to come talk to you for a minute. Top 3-5 favorite characters you have protrayed?

A:

There's my man!!

Gus Berry (mountain man) Gunny Fick (arisen) Annie Montrose (the martian) Odessa (the elementals)

those are just the ones at the top of my head

back to work taxman!


Q:

Ooo, ooo! Thought of another one... have you gone through any coaching for different accents/dialects, or do you develop them on your own? Do you ever receive feedback on how (in)authentic certain ones are?

You rock, for a monkey!

A:

i've always loved accents though i'll be the first to say many of my attempts flat out suck!! never took any classes but there's a site called accenthelp that i find extraordinarily helpful!