Monday, January 12, 2015

Audible Book Narrator: Owen McCuen and the Process for Recording Audio Books and Promotional Videos

Vintage Movie Camera
freedigitalphotos.com by 2nix
Hi and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog.

Do you know that I'm a movie star??? Yes, it's a fact, and I can prove it by introducing you to the man who made it possible, my producer, Owen McCuen. Owen has kindly agreed to visit the J.Q. Rose blog to answer any questions about his work and the process of how he made me a movie star.

Actor and Narrator Owen McCuen
Now, puh-leeze, people, Owen is NOT an author, or anyway, he isn't promoting a book. So be kind to him, okay? He's not used to appearing in this capacity. He's usually on video as an actor, or he is behind the scenes as a narrator for audible books. Here's more about this talented (and may I add, handsome?) guy.

About Owen:
Owen McCuen began his voiceover career in 2004 with coaching from the renowned vocal coach Joanne Joellla. Under her guidance, Owen earned roles in radio and internet commercials for companies like NJ Lottery, Giant Foods, Lacroix Restaurant, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Tozour Energy Systems, and Tremor Video.

Following Joanne’s advice, Owen expanded his skill set by working on camera as an actor. This led to dual roles as actor/narrator for Rita’s Water Ice, UMDNJ, Learning Ally, Trending Accessibility, and Einstein Creative. Now managed by VS Talent Group in Mt. Holly, NJ, Owen continues his acting and voiceover career with challenging roles in front of the camera as well as behind the microphone.

Owen’s newest role is that of audiobook narrator. “Noble the Moose Was a Bully” is a pre-K tale about bullying; character voices abound. But one of the most nuanced performances to date is the thriller “Itsy Bitsy Spider” by Kimberly Shursen. Steady exposition and lively dialogue give listeners the opportunity to experience Kimberly’s expert storytelling, even when they are unable to focus on the written page. ACX has provided the opportunity for Owen and Kimberly to work as a team to bring “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to life.

It wasn’t long before Owen connected with author Miss Mae on her fantastic family-friendly book, “Ahoy Gum Drop!” The author’s imagination paints a vivid picture of foreign lands and quirky characters. Over a dozen unique voices spring to life in this audiobook adventure featuring the Mishaps from Gum Drop Island. Intrepid internet reporter I.B. Nosey has jumped off the page and into video as Owen, Miss Mae, and Patrick McCuen collaborate on Nosey’s video interviews.



Listen to Owen's amazing voice characterizations in this book trailer for Ahoy Gumdrop! 
(It's okay to giggle outloud.)
I.B. Nosey,
Intrepid Internet Reporter
# # # #
Yikes, his bio includes his work with I.B. Nosey, the official unofficial cyberspace reporter who is the only nominee and title-holder of the Pukelitzer Award. 

Welcome, Owen, to the J.Q. Rose blog. I'm delighted you're here and are willing to answer some interview questions.

My pleasure, J.Q. Ask away.

Who or what influenced you to become an actor?
I've been doing voices, impressions, and accents since I could talk, I think. Voice acting and performing have been "my thing" for as long as I can remember, mostly influenced by Mel Blanc and The Muppets' Jim Henson, Frank Oz, et al. Kermit the Frog is pretty much my hero.
 I finally got interested enough to investigate a career in voice acting back in 2004. Joanne Joella is a voice coach and performer in the Philadelphia area. I began training with her in 2004 and she gave me my first opportunities in voiceover. Her ability and integrity as a coach were everything to me. Voice Acting is a competitive business, so Joanne encouraged me to try acting on camera as well. Acting gave me practice being expressive and taking direction, and has informed my voice acting greatly. My career would not be what it is today without Joanne.

What is your experience in this field? 
I had some voiceover jobs in 2004/2005 and began acting on camera in 2010. My experience coaching kids at The Little Gym, though, really gave me some OJT with crazy voices and getting in and out of character at a moment's notice. Acting in independent films and commercials have allowed me to meet some great people who needed narration for their projects. My agent VS Talent Group has supported me immensely. I've also narrated two audiobooks for audible.com ("Itsy Bitsy Spider" by Kimberly Shursen and "Ahoy Gum Drop!" by Miss Mae).


Where do you perform?
I live in Southwestern New Jersey, so I mostly work in the Philadelphia area, with a lot of my narration done from home.

What is your best asset?
I am a very expressive person. I can be over the top or subtle, depending on the role.


What are you most proud of in your career?
That's hard to say because I'm proud of my work, especially when a creative person calls me back to do another project. On camera, I'd have to say that the independent short film "Like There's No Tomorrow" by Time to Back Out Productions is a highlight because I am the only actor on the screen for the entire 25 minutes. The film led me to connect with the horror movie podcast "The Last Knock" on which I was interviewed; That has led to some great friendships and even a role in the short film "Case # 5930".  In voice acting, the narration of audiobooks has given me the professional weight I needed to take my career to the next level.

What are your goals for your career?
I am interested in being a working actor, both on camera and behind the microphone. With audiobooks, audio drama, commercials, and independent film experience, I believe I can achieve that goal. I want to earn interesting and challenging roles in projects large and small; to make people laugh, cry, think, or feel something and make a decent living doing it!

 What is the process for recording an author’s audio book? 
ACX.com is the technical wing of audible.com. Narrators, authors, and studios can create profiles on that website so that they can find the right match for their projects and talents. As a narrator, I upload samples of my narration and voiceover demos, and then peruse the available titles that are accepting auditions. If the rights holder (that's usually the author) likes my audition, we agree to terms and begin production. The terms are usually a named price per finished hour or a royalty share agreement. I'm open to either arrangement!

Please tell us about the intrepid internet reporter, I.B. Nosey, and your videos for promoting authors and their books with this character. 
Ah, from the mind of Miss Mae comes I.B. Nosey, the official unofficial reporter! Our videos serve as a promotional tool for folks who want to spread the word about their work. The videos would be useful for any artist, but authors in particular seem to like the videos because they can introduce the world to the work or characters who live inside the books. Nosey has a child-like aura but he's not strictly for children: Family-friendly but managing to appeal mostly to adults who enjoy a good journey into the fantastic! I.B. is nosey indeed and almost never gets the information right. He frequently ends up (not unlike the Three Stooges) attempting to escape trouble by the end of his adventure.

Thank you so much, Owen, for participating in the interview and for offering us a peek inside the world of voice-overs and audible books. 

I'm sure readers want to know more about these promotional videos, so I now present J.Q. Rose starring in the interview by that zany rascal, I.B. Nosey.


# # # #


An I.B. Nosey Mini-Movie with J.Q. Rose

You too can be a "star" and promote your books and projects through
this creative I.B. Nosey video. Nosey interviews the author (or character of your book) in a way that entertains the viewer while introducing the story. You'll have a multimedia promotional tool that Miss Mae and Owen McCuen will help to promote by sharing with their thousands of fans.

It was so easy to be a part of this production. Miss Mae asks three questions and from there she creates a script for Owen. Patrick McCuen designs the colorful drawings, and Owen narrates and directs the production of the movie. 
For more information on promotional mini-movies,  go to Feeling Nosey's site 
Make Your Interviews Heard

For more of I.B. Nosey's videos, subscribe to Feeling Nosey's Youtube Channel.
J.Q. Rose, Movie Star


If you wish to know more about the audio book process and video production, please ask in the comment section below. Owen will be popping in to answer your questions. 

AND let me know what you think of my hairdo, my nails in the mini-movie. Do I look better with the camera shot on my left side or right side? Was the lighting complimentary to my delicate skin??? Thanks!!


26 comments:

helenafairfax.com said...

What a wonderful idea for promotion, JQ. I love how the whole interview was put together with graphics. The style of it fits Coda to Murder perfectly. And you look fabulous! Thanks for the great post. I always come away with more ideas from your blog.

Miss Mae said...

Excellent interview, J.Q. Enjoyed hearing the background of Owen's career (and I watched that solo film he appeared in -- okay, no spoilers, but-- well, you oughta watch!)

J.Q., what a fab photo that is of you! You appear absolutely enthralled to being interviewed by your cyberstar, I.B. Nosey! LOL

Owen McCuen said...

Hello, All! Thank you, JQ, for including me in your column. Miss Mae does an excellent job of getting to the heart of the book (even if Nosey doesn't quite get it…).

Laurean Brooks said...

Owen and JQ, great interview.

Owen, your talent for voice-over amazes me, especially your ability to create so many character voices in the same audio book.

J.Q Rose, your book peaked my interest. Who killed the music director? Maybe he knew something...?

Good luck and God bless both you and Owen in all your projects.

Before I sign off, I have a request. May I borrow the boxing kangaroo? LOL.

Marva Dasef said...

I've mentioned my producer, Baarns Narration and VO, when I blogged about my experience having my books brought to audio.

Great idea for a blog post. Maybe I'll invite my guy to my blog.

I.B. Nosey said...

Heh heh, if I can just say here... wait a minute, Ms. Rose, YES, you did invite me to your blog today! Er, what? Today's post is about Owen McCuen? Actor? Narrator? You mean you'd rather talk to him instead of a Pukelitzer Award winning journalist such as... *ow, ouch* Okay, okay! Sheesh, lady, that broom of yours needs to be used in Dr. Ag O. Nee's office! Owww!!!

Crash Palace said...

Owen, you are neither over-the-top nor subtle - you are SPOT ON - every time. Keep doing what you do because you do it well. Continued success to you!

J Q Rose said...

Helena, glad you found the post helpful. Thanks for the feedback I thought I looked pretty fab too!!!

J Q Rose said...

Hi MM, thanks for the promo video and finding Owen first! I think the portrait of me was probably BEFORE I met Nosey!

J Q Rose said...

Owen, thank you for being here. You added sparkle to this dreary rainy day in FL. I must say you must be a patient man to put up with Nosey!

J Q Rose said...

Laurean, thanks so much for the compliments. You'll have to check with Miss Mae about borrowing the boxing kangaroo. Come to think of it, that is a pretty good likeness of Katy the kangaroo in my story! Aw, the church music director...my lips are sealed.

J Q Rose said...

Hi Marva, yes, please do have your guy as a guest. That way we get the narrator's side in the audible book business. I certainly appreciate their part much more knowing how much time and care they put into the productin of the audio book. In case anyone missed it, here's the link to Marva's guest post on audio books on this blog
http://www.jqrose.com/2014/10/romance-and-mystery-authors-on-writing_23.html

J Q Rose said...

Aw, IB, you know this blog might crash if I have 2 handsome guys like you and Owen on at the same time. Come back anytime, mmm, and I might interview you, that is if I'm not booked up and the creeks don't rise and well, you know.

J Q Rose said...

Crash Palace, thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, Owen is a talented guy.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Owen,
I enjoyed Ahoy, Gum Drop Island and thought you did a great job with so many different characters. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments and good luck with your future acting.

Owen McCuen said...

Thank you for all for visiting. I'm humbled by all the kind things said about me. It's been a pleasure to work with Miss Mae and I.B. and a joy to meet you, JQ! Billy Crash is an amazing supporter, so check him out at Crash Palace Productions. Hope to connect with you all soon!

J Q Rose said...

Gail, Ahoy is an entertaining and zany read. Owen sure did match the craziness with his character voices.Thanks for coming.

Susan Bernhardt said...

Great interview, Owen and J.Q. and I loved the video. As Helena said, it is a wonderful promotional tool.

J Q Rose said...

Hi Susan, Glad you liked the video. It was a lot of fun to work with Owen and Miss Mae. As you can tell, they have quite the sense of humor. I believe the day of videos has arrived. All the info on marketing is emphasizing people want videos and in this day of short attention spans, they don't want to spend their time reading a long article. Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment!

Owen McCuen said...

Laurean, you definitely don't want any parts of Katy! Thanks again.

Owen McCuen said...

Gail, I'm glad you enjoyed "Ahoy Gum Drop!" It was an absolute blast to do! Thank you for stopping by.

Owen McCuen said...

Hi Susan, we're happy you like the video. If you know of anyone who might benefit from Nosey's antics… spread the word! Although Nosey never really gets the information right! :)

emaginette said...

I do love audio books and listen to them when working. I think it does take a special skill to bring the characters to life they way the do. :-)

Here's my link if you want to drop by :-)

Anna from Shout with maginette

J Q Rose said...

Hi Anna, We always listen to audio books as we make the long trek from Michigan to Florida in the fall and vice versa in the spring. It makes the trip seem much shorter.

Susanne Drazic said...

What an interesting post, J.Q. I've not listened to very many audio books, but I know a lot of people enjoy them. Cool mini movie.

J Q Rose said...

Hi Susanne, I believe audio books are going to be what's happening. So many people nowadays download them to their phones and mobile devices. Technology will only get better. Glad you like the movie. So silly, but fun!