Sean Crisden is a multitalented actor and a multiple AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator who has recorded well over 150 audiobooks in almost every genre, from science fiction to romance. He has also voiced characters in numerous video games, such as the award-winning ShadowGun and Kingdom Rush, and appeared in many commercials and films, including The Last Airbender. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sean now resides just outside Phoenix, Arizona.
Here is a list of the Highlights of his work. Check out a full listing on Audible
1 – How did you get involved in recording audiobooks?
Ah, are you sure you have the time for such a long and boring yarn? I can spin it with aliens and international spy intrigue if you like to actually make it interesting, maybe? Oh well, I warned you.
By day I was working in international espionage and awesomeness corporate middle management and watching my soul, which is creative in nature, simply wither and die a long, slow death. By night I was playing guitar and singing in the now defunct rock band “Divided Sky” which lasted almost ten years. I may actually rekindle my efforts at becoming a not-so Rock God at some point in the future as the bug has bitten me again. I’ll probably have to rename the band “Old Codgers Can Have Dreams, Too” and leave it at that. Anywho, every so often after a gig I would be approached by unknowing folks who complimented my voice and would occasionally offer me something called a “voice over job”. It took me a long time to realize that VO was actually my vocational calling and I plodded away for a bit more in my office and dreams of trashing hotel rooms in a drug-fueled frenzy. Well, just to avoid confusion I guess I should mention that I’m actually not a drug user of any sort (I rarely even drink, and when I do it’s nothing other than my fav lil’ pinky-out mixed drinks that taste like fruit juice). Yet, I digress…
Where was I? Guitar rock antics and withered soul? Check. I sort of fell in to having my mug in a few commercials and films and somehow fancied myself as an actor. “I am a thespian, good sir!” I would prance around saying in my haughtiest British accent. However, I realized that I was much to lazy for early call times or that memorization stuff. Now let me see, where can I not bother to memorize everything, make funny voices and sit in a dark box by myself for the bulk of the day? There just must be a career out there for me that for me that involves all of that and eschews the use of a straight jacket.
Eventually I realized that there was a career path for me and I was already well suited for it. Being a musician and singer had given me the vocal training, audio wizardry and high tolerance for abuse and disappointment that made pursuing a career as a voice talent a piece of cake! Or pie, I do much rather prefer pie. Apple pie, double crusted, with vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmmmm.
So put all of my wits and charm into that and within a month of that decision had my first paying gig, which was narrating a m/m romance audiobook. This lead to the discovery that I really, really enjoyed narrating. Apparently, some other folks shared that opinion and that brings us to today. You see, each and every time I picture myself sitting in a large recliner in front of a gently roaring fireplace, weaving a yarn about…aliens and international spy espionage and…lube? Well, something like that.
2 – What is your favorite thing about recording books?
Bringing a story to life for a listener is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Those of you who are parents may very experience and share this joy at bedtime with your children. Or you may simply hate re-reading the same insipid book for the millionth time to disgustingly excited cheers of “Again! Again!” at its conclusion. Hey, I won’t judge you.
3 – Do you have a favorite genre or author to record?
I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite genre per se. I do believe I’ve done more romance (and by romance I mean steamy, don’t let your mother or any decent person see you reading that erotica-smut-o-filth) than any other genre but that just may be where I’m favored. What I truly like best is a well written tale in any genre that reeks of confident, competent description and finely crafted prose from the mind/lips/fingertips of a truly talented author. Bringing such texts to life in a narration performance is truly a delight. It leads me jump up and down in my jammies and shout “Again! Again!” in the booth when I’m done.
4 – What do you think is the most important part of the recording?
Having the correct narrator matched to the correct story. I sadly admit that I am not the narrator for all stories, nor are all stories for me to narrate. I have a great niche and I know where both I feel most vibrant and where listeners find me most pleasing, for the most part. I’ve done a few books here and there that I probably shouldn’t have but who’s counting?
5 – Do you have a narration superpower? Awesome accents, infusing emotion, super-fast read? What is your best trick?
Best trick? Well, I have this thing I that do with my tongue…er…for NARRATION! Yes, that’s it!
In all seriousness, I’m a master at the cold read. I was always quite decent at it even as a child and now I’ve come close to perfecting it. I do it often for scripts and eLearning gigs and it has extended into my audiobook narration. I have so many books in my queue these days that I actually have a prepper read the book and create a poor man’s “Cliff’s Notes” version for me with full summaries, character descriptions and breakdowns. I read that before starting the book, wrap my head around it and make a few notes and choices and then just dive into the narration. Some of my peers in the industry either frown at me or marvel at my ability (and witless willingness) to do this.
6 – What was your favorite book to read so far? And why?
I always love this question. I have a ton of favorites for various reasons. For some it’s the story, for others the character, for yet others it is the delightful tone in which the entire tale is told. However, my instant standout would be “Freeman” by Leonard Pitts Jr. The power and emotion of that love story, set in the uncertain times of the post-war south, is not to be missed.
7 – What was your most challenging read? What made it so difficult?
That falls into two very distinct categories. The first is a book that challenges me technically, meaning that there are dozens of characters to keep track of, ca multitude of accents or the book itself is a megajillion (scientific estimate) pages long. The second would be a book that goes nowhere, has utterly unbelievable characters or character actions or just appears to have been written by a very gifted everyday chicken. Sure it’s amazing that the chicken can peck on a keyboard and form the semblance of sentences, characters and a story of sorts but I’m unimpressed with the grammar, vision, mood and competence of the writing. That’s a clucking shame. Of course, either way I will refrain from naming names. What? Who are you calling chicken?
8 – Is there a book out there that you desperately want to do the narration for?
Not really. I know, what a lame answer. It sucks any literary pedigree right out of most perceptions of me. I do read and have my favorites but none that I would find myself particularly adept at narrating. Sometimes I think of narrating one of my favorite books as a child which was “Bunnicula” yet I don’t know how well I would do there. Most of my pleasure reading these days involves simply the back of shampoo bottles and the like, which is curious as I have no hair.
9 – Do you have a ritual or routine when you are recording a book?
I actually don’t. It’s what I do every day so I just get my booty in the booth and have fun as part of my routine. That is, unless you count the turning in a counter-clockwise circle three times on one foot while creepily chanting the “Hokey Pokey” in front of my sacrificial narration alter made from the skulls of my vanquished enemies before I start to be classified as a ritual or routine? Nah, nobody counts that.
10 – What is a fun fact people might not know about you?
Hmm…perhaps about the fact that I was a nerd before it became cool in pop culture to be so. I was called a nerd when it meant you were smart, geeky, played D&D and video games, watched Nova on PBS, played the violin, loved both Star Wars and Star Trek, was in the chess club, had a rather prodigious vocabulary, passed tests in school without studying and was mercilessly made fun of for all it. Now being a nerd is trendy and every hip, wannabe chaotic-neutral nerfherder wants in on the action. Well the original nerds bled for you guys! I know, I know, you look at the suave, cool and sophisticated Kermit the Frog pajamas-clad man-child before you and wonder how it could be true that I was (and still am) a nerd. It’s ok. Perhaps it’s the fact that I spend my distinguished days alone making funny voices and telling long stories to myself even when I’m not hard at play as a voice talent that threw you off?
2 Lucky Winners gets their choice of Sean’s reads on Audible!
1) K. BookLuver