Prolific Scott Brick mounted his Golden Voice pedestal in 2004 after a relatively short time as a narrator. “I went over the 200-title barrier just a few months ago,” he told AudioFile in September. “The first year or so I did this, the work was slower than it is now, but by, maybe, my third year, I was doing 50 titles per annum. Some only take one day, sure, but others take three weeks, so it really blows me away to have done that many unabridged audiobooks that quickly!”
The winner of a Science Fiction Audie and several Earphones Awards, Scott credits his quick success to producers Stefan Rudnicki and Dan Musselman, whom he met in 1999 when both worked for Dove Audio/NewStar Media. Stefan recalls: “I was then executive producer and publisher at Dove. A guy who worked in another department kept bugging me--I mean for months--about auditioning his friend Scott. I finally gave in.”
Scott picks up the story. “My very first recording gig at Dove was on Dan’s last day there before he left to build and run Books on Tape’s first studio. He heard me, gave me his card, and asked me to record for him. Since then I’ve done 120 jobs just for BOT. I don’t know what it was, but he heard something in me he liked and pretty much immediately made me his go-to guy.”
Since his first recordings for Dove, Scott has worked for a number of publishers on a wide variety of material, from thrillers and sci-fi to classics and a smattering of nonfiction. Musselman calls Scott “a natural storyteller--interesting, easy to listen to, and someone the listener likes and has a personal connection with.” Further, he “understands the author’s intent. His voice is the vehicle that carries the author’s vision into our minds.”
Rudnicki agrees, adding, “Scott is a tremendously efficient reader, averaging perhaps a single pickup [i.e., error] per page for most kinds of material. He loves to read, and that informs his narration. He has a rare ability to read from an easy neutral place, never pushing. Most important, he’s still--even now that he has gained a certain celebrity status--willing and able to learn new tricks. I know that several audio publishers have tried to pigeonhole Scott, but his personality and presentation truly defy easy categorization. To me, his best work is always when he’s trying a new author, genre, or style.”
In past issues, AudioFile has praised his understated approach and noted: “In all his work, Brick almost sings in a youthful, manly voice brimming with personality and gusto.” He seems to have an intuitive ear for the authorial voice, an uncanny ability to portray the personality of the author as well as those of his characters. As Musselman says, “He lets the author’s words do the work.”
Scott himself characterizes his approach more modestly: “I’m not one of these guys who do a lot of voices. Accents, yes; characterizations, yes; but I can count with one hand the times I’ve done a serious, heavy, over-the-top character voice--probably because, when I hear those tapes later, it makes me cringe. For some people, that style works brilliantly, and I love hearing it. For me, not so much.”
A native of Southern California, Scott has been an actor (among other things) since leaving UCLA in the late 1980s. “I spent about 10 years in a traveling Shakespeare company, doing dozens of shows all over the state,” quoth “The Brickman,” as he sometimes calls himself. “I guess I’ve had a pretty solid grounding in the classics, as well as contemporary work. Beyond that, I’ve been a fan of old-time radio my entire life and have always been passionate about the spoken word. That’s the reason I wanted to be an actor, because I’m so fanatic about telling stories. And audiobooks are the purest form of doing that, aren’t they?”
But not the only way, at least not for someone as versatile and enterprising as The Brickman. For instance, he recently opened on stage in his own dramatization of three stories by his friend Orson Scott Card. Sci-fi meister Card directed, and Rudnicki, a graduate of Yale Drama School, also appeared. “I keep returning to the stage,” says Scott, “no matter how busy I get doing other stuff.”
The other stuff includes “a film script in preproduction, which is always a great thing to be able to say at parties, right?” Beyond that, he’s got a Batman story “burning” in him that he is “just itching” to write. “The editor of DC Comics told me he likes it. He’s just got to get the powers that be to approve it. So if all goes well, I’ll finally get a chance to write comics. A dream come true.”
Narrating, acting, writing--Scott says he’ll do whatever feels right: “Not anything crazy, but if it pays, I’m in. Sometimes I make more doing straight acting jobs; other years I do a lot of writing assignments. For the last few years, audiobooks have brought in about 70 percent of my income. I mean, I make my living off books. How cool is it to be able to say that? I can’t tell you how many times I go to parties and talk with people who don’t really enjoy their work. Yet I know my eyes are always lighting up when I get to talk about mine.”
Scott feels lucky now to be in such a position that if a job comes along that may not pay much but that interests him, he can take it. “Audiobooks have given me that freedom, that security, and it’s incredibly liberating. I used to write magazine articles for a living, did about 300 in three years, to the point that I stopped enjoying it. Now I can take those gigs when they come along and have fun with them. I can connect with what made me love the work in the first place. As soon as I read one audiobook, I want to do more.”
And face lighting up partly in jest and partly with a kind of eyes-bigger-than-his-stomach enthusiasm, he concludes, “I guess I won’t be happy until I’m recording every book published!” --Yuri Rasovsky, December 2004
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