Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An interview with Kris Koscheski, the voice of Off The Grid

Kris Koscheski, narrator and producer of Off The Grid.

Off The Grid is now available for download at the most popular audio book stores online - on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Early sales of the book are strong, which I'm pretty excited about. Last year I started shopping around for a narrator and producer for the book. After searching ACX I came up with 13 voices that I thought might be a fit for Off The Grid. I wanted a male voice that was youthful and strong, but also versatile. One voice really stood out to me - Kris Koscheski. It took a few tense weeks to get a deal done with us and ACX, but it resulted in a beautifully narrated and produced audio book that I'm very proud of.
So, who is this Kris guy? Read on and find out.
Dan: How did you get into narrating and producing audio books?
Kris: I did some acting as a young adult, but was also pursuing a musical career. I went into the recording studio to record a project and fell in love with the technical aspect of it. This inspired me to go back to school and train as a sound engineer. My first job out of school was at a place that produced audio books. I started out as a sound editor and eventually moved into directing and producing. That whet my appetite once more for my acting and performance background. About nine years into this journey (about 4 years ago,) I was cast as a narrator, and I've been enjoying working as one full-time, ever since. 
Dan: What sort of audio projects interest you?
Kris: My favorite genres are Thrillers, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Sports. Anything with good writing! Bad writing=no fun for me!
Dan: You had to read Off The Grid with a critical eye, what were your first impressions?
Kris:
The one thing that attracted me to the book was the struggle and balance between big tech industry, vs. environmentally responsible, and how the two must find a balance. And that a world with out either, might be dangerous. 
I also immediately connected with the Luke Kincaid, the main character. Luke was tech guy, yet also was able to hold his own in many other areas of life. He always seemed to be able to find a way to adapt well with the  situation he found himself in. And by coincidence Luke is also my son's name...so good choice!

Dan: What were the challenges with Off The Grid?
Kris:
I really enjoyed performing the different characters throughout the book. The West Indies accent was challenging but really fun to do. I love when a book takes you into a world you might never experience on your own.
Dan: How do you develop an accent for a character?
Kris:
When I perform any accents, I always try to do it in way that conveys more of a "suggestion" of the accent or voice, not necessarily to always try "mimic" an accent.  For example, when we learn about the professor traveling to the West Indies, he encounters a young boy selling island trinkets.  Obviously a listener realizes I'm not a little boy, and to try and "mimic" a little boy with a West Indies accent, might sound a little silly.  So it's more of easing into it, and trying to convey that in way that tells a story and invites the listener into the moment.
Dan: Did anything surprise you about the book?
Kris:
Not to give anything away to anyone who hasn't read or listened ... but I loved the twist with some of the characters at the end.  
Dan: What does your production studio look like?
Kris:
I built my own recording studio at my home. Can't beat my commute! I have a custom made sound booth, that took me about 6 months to complete.  The trick to any home studio is to find a way to get air into your recording environment, without sacrificing sound quality. Air conditioning can be extremely loud in recordings, so isolating yourself from your environment can be tricky. And also dangerous ... since it's nice to breathe and not suffocate to death! With some creative engineering and construction, I was able to build a unit that would allow air to circulate, and yet be really quiet. Add a bunch of computers and expensive sound gear and voila! Profession sound booth!
Dan: What projects are you working on now?
Kris:
Currently I'm narrating a bunch of titles for Audible.com.  I just wrapped up a great book called "Survival of the Beautiful," by David Rothenberg. It's about science and art; two worlds that don't seem to fit or coexist with each other.  It asks provocative questions like, "Can art influence science," and the reverse, "Can science influence art." Great non-fiction read!
Dan: How can people follow your work?
Kris:
I'm working on my website right now, stay tuned! Currently you can see the majority of the titles I've done on my audible page.
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Kris, I've said it before, but once again, thank you. It's been a pleasure.
-Dan


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