Final day of POETRY WEEK! featuring Diane Havens going classic with Whitman’s, So Long at Michael Stephen Daigle’s blog, and John Pruden offering the playful A Funny Little Fellow, with an interview right here on Going Public.
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Michael Stephen Daigle is a writer and journalist who lives in New Jersey with his family. His novel, “The Swamps of Jersey,” will be published later this year. He published an electronic collection of stories, “The Resurrection of Leo,” and a single story about baseball and teen-agers, “The Summer of the Homerun.” He publishes commentary, fiction samples and poetry at www.michaelstephendaigle.com.
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The Funny Little Fellow by James Whitcomb Riley
A simple little story about a simple little man who’s life was well-lived.
John Pruden is a professional voice actor who records audiobooks, corporate and online training narrations, animation and video game characters, and radio and TV commercials. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, his audiobooks include The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, which was chosen by the Washington Post as the best audiobook of 2011.
Just for fun, we posed a few questions to John, who was good enough to answer them!
Who was your favorite character to narrate and why?
JP: There was a truly goofy character in a Western I narrated who was a real cut-up, a joker, but he was one of the bad guys—Doo Harris in A Braver Man, by Royal Wade Kimes. He saw what the other bad guys were all about, the meanness, the evil and deceit. and decided to break from the gang and go his own way and live to a higher, more honorable standard. But he kept joking around. I got to play a whole range of emotions from his cutting up to his awakening and subsequent change of heart. I really liked that about him.
GP: Of all the characters you’ve performed, which one was most like you and why?
JP: That’s hard picking just one. I guess it’s because I think of myself as being pretty malleable, able to see things from lots of different perspectives that aren’t necessarily my own yet still able to understand from where that viewpoint originates. And so I rarely have a hard time identifying with at least some part of a character who, as a whole, isn’t anything like me. I think if you find yourself saying, “Oh, yeah this character is all me,” then it’s to the detriment of the performance of the other characters because you’re focusing too much on yourself. You shouldn’t seek out the characters that are most like you, you should seek out the parts of allthe characters that you are most like.
GP: What literary, stage, or movie character would you (figuratively) kill to play?
JP: Again, there’s not just one. That’s too narrow a focus for me. I’m way more attracted to versatile character actors than I am to lead players, to those who really round-out an ensemble performance, give it life and make it real (the goodactors that make sucky leads like Tom Cruise or Matt Daman look good). Anyone like Harry Carey, Jr., Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Ned Beatty, Strother Martin, Slim Pickens, Ben Johnson, Martin Balsam, Bruno Kirby, Jack Weston… old school guys like that. If I could continue to play roles like any one of them I’d be very happy
GP: If you could watch one piece of equipment or software from your/your publisher’s recording setup die a painful and horrible death while you stood by and laughed, which one would it be?
JP: Pro Tools and all the engineers who set it up to suck money out of all of us by forcing needless upgrades upon us. I’m still running Pro Tools 8.0 on a Mac Pro that’s over five years old running some old OSX version so it all keeps working together. Oh the humanity! I haven’t taken the plunge into Twisted Wave yet, but I’m getting closer every day.
GP: Which narrator (other than yourself) would read the story of your life and why that one?
JP: Johnny Heller, because he doesn’t need to be convinced that I’m great.
What’s your least favorite part of the recording process (and why)? — Self-directing. Being a perfectionist I self-direct the hell out of myself to the point that I make lots and lots of retakes because as soon as I hear myself say it, I know how to say it better. And I do. Over, and over, and over…
GP: If you were transmogrified into a mad scientist, what would your greatest invention be?
JP: The audiobook pill. Swallow it and experience the book through the soundtrack that you hear internally. Using many of my voices, naturally.
GP: If you were to start a rumor about yourself, what would it be?
JP: The Audiobook Crowd Facebook page is being bought by Amazon.com.
GP: The award that doesn’t exist but if it did it would have to be awarded to you is…?
JP: The 2015 Inaugural Most Thorough and Unassailable Narrator Researcher crystal obelisk with a lifetime subscription to the Bourbon Of The Month Club.