Narrator Interview: Meet Sean Posvistak
When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator? How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
This was a suggestion from my mom. I was having trouble making ends meet at the time trying to pursue my personal passions, so she suggested a slightly different field of work that also took advantage of my voice. People always said I had a "radio voice", so I figured I'd give it a shot. Turns out that wasn't just my family being nice. Who knew?
What type of training have you undergone?
I was producing videos on Youtube for years before I started narrating audiobooks. It helped me refine my delivery style, and gave me plenty of opportunities to learn how to not suck from professionals like TotalBiscuit and Jim Sterling. Practice really does make perfect, in my case.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
Remind myself of my overwhelming need to eat.
But seriously: I used to work retail. This is paradise compared to that, because I get to set my own hours. Being able to work when you feel like it and still make ends meet is a dream, and keeping in mind how fortunate I am to be able to do that is what keeps me going. Because I sure as hell ain't going back to OfficeMax.
What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
I love fiction. Don't get me wrong: I can't complain about the steady paychecks the instructional books I usually get provide, but my heart belongs to exciting narratives meant to invoke a mood other than just self-help in you. I like getting lost in a world. I like going on a journey with pleasant characters. And I like bringing them to life in the way only a narrator can.
How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
I pulled from real-world sources. Art imitates life, so I figured basing the voices on the delivery style and people I knew would give it that edge.
Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
Of course! Feedback is the only way I'll improve. It's already hard enough to get noticed on the great expanse that is the internet, so when someone thinks you, specifically, are worth the time to explain what you're doing right and wrong, I find it’s worth it to listen.
What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
There are plenty of types of commenters, but my favorite are called "The Talkers". As in, the people who can write more than one sentence breaking down exactly what about your delivery style they like or don’t like. That kind of information is immediately useful, be it positive or negative.
If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
Nate the Great. That was the book that introduced me to the concept of detectives and made me a huge fan of the genre. I have so much respect got those with an analytical mind, because I can't even beat a Phoenix Wright game, let alone solve a real-world mystery. Plus, they remind me of my personal hero: my grandfather, who actually spent his life solving real-world mysteries on the California Highway Patrol.
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
I'm not being facetious; that's the best thing you can possibly do, and you will get that advice from anybody even remotely worth their salt. Keep recording. Keep improving. Keep learning and honing your craft. That's the only way to get better at this. Study those who have already gone down that road. And bear in mind: even those guys are still learning. That's how they STAY at the top of their field.
Also: buy a huge jug for storing water in. You'll thank me later.
What’s next for you?
The whole point of me moving to Ohio was to live the dream and start a game development company with my friends. We're saving up and planning this out, and soon, we'll have everybody living in the same building and making something awesome together. But until then: way more audiobooks. Even more than last year. 2018 will be the year of Sean Posvistak.
Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
Studio? Hardly. All those samples you heard were recorded in a bedroom with blankets held up on the walls by Command hooks for noise cancellation. My pop filter is propped up on the tripod of my camera. And here's the part that's really gonna tick off my fellow VO artists: they were all recorded on a Blue Yeti. I've used a Shure SM7B, and the only thing a sample size of 4 people could tell was different was that the Shure had slightly better noise cancellation.
Moral of the story? Don't think you can't afford to do this job. You can get clever. You can find neat tricks as you experiment with the tools available. And you might have been lucky enough to be born with a voice that just works better on cheaper hardware.