When I first decided I wanted to do an audiobook of my novel, Little Idiots, I was approached by a lot of producers, but either they just couldn’t get the voices right, or they missed the timing on my writing, causing the jokes to fall flat (But you should’ve heard the British producer; she did a good job, but it was weird hearing Samm with a strong accent). When Daryl Mayfield sent in his audition, I was taken by how he instantly picked up the timing of my writing, which is actually not as easy as you might think. And then I heard him do the main female character’s voice. I had to replay it several times to figure out if it was him, or an actual female, or sound editing. Right then, I knew I had to work with Daryl and I was right; the audiobook sounds amazing. Darryl was kind enough to sit down for 10 of my ridiculous questions. The Little Idiots audiobook is due out in June, on Amazon.com and Audible.com.
1. How long have you been acting and doing voice-work?
I’ve been acting since I was a little kid. When I was 8, I joined the drama ministry at my church, performing in skits and usually as the funny man. When I started college, during the advent of Wikipedia, I started looking up all the cartoon and anime characters I loved so much as a kid. When I found out the voice of Megatron was also Fred on Scooby Doo, my mind was blown! I went further down the rabbit hole and became engrossed in the world of voice acting. You know you have it bad when instead of singing in the shower, you perform the monologue of the Nazi general, Montana Max from Hellsing. My sister introduced me to audiobooks when I was 11, and the way the narrators brought the story to life spoke to me. It’s a beautiful art form that still leaves much to the imagination. I’ve been taking voiceover classes and attending groupme’s since 2014, but never really got serious until the beginning of 2018.
2. What drew you to produce and act in the audio version of Little Idiots?
It’s MY type of comedy. All the beats remind me of the shows I love like Archer and Rick & Morty. I’m a huge fan of narrator Jeff Hays’ work, and the types of books he works on fit in this style. Every single character has been a delight to do, even the one-off’s.
3. Whom are your favorite characters to perform in Little Idiots? Which character do you most relate to and why?
I love Samm. He’s smooth, charming… the complete opposite of me. Gabriel is my absolute favorite! When I read his first line, Troy McClure from The Simpsons came to mind. He has that smugness and self-centered attitude that Phil Hartman wonderfully pulled off in pretty much every one of his roles.
4. TARDIS or Enterprise?
Enterprise – only because, and please don’t be mad… I’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who. I don’t take pride in it and many of my equally nerdy friends tell me I need to start. There’s just so much content from the franchise, I wouldn’t know where to start. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I am FURIOUS with Daryl!)
5. What were you doing at 9:05 am this morning?
Trying not to die while re-wiring a control panel with 208 Volts connected to it. I also work as an Electrical engineer, but my goal is to switch to Voiceover full time. There’s a less likely chance of getting electrocuted in book narration.
6. My humor is all in the cadence; you managed to pick right up on that. What is your process when preparing to work with an author on an audiobook?
I typically read through the book once so I can get a feel for the characters. It’s also important to get the correct pronunciations for character names. Sometimes the author has an idea of what they want their character to sound like. I try to stick to that as much as possible, but there are some sounds and accents I just can’t do. Yet. In those cases, I’ll submit an alternative for how the character should sound, and if the author likes it, I move forward. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I gave notes to Daryl on how one character should sound. He had another idea he wanted to try. His was better, dammit)
7. Most male narrators sound flimsy as female characters, but you make your female characters sound so authentic; all you or do you play around with the sound qualities?
All me. The mistake that most male narrators make when doing a female voice, is imposing a falsetto, so now they just sound like… well, like a high pitched man. I like to add more breath to make my female voice sound airy. I play with cadence and attitude of the character too. I study narrators like Jeff Hays (can you tell I’m a fan?) and Nick Podehl who create impossibly convincing female voices.
8. Describe your sound studio set up.
My studio is my walk in closet at home. I use moving blankets for sound treatment. They work surprisingly well, and I recommend them for any voice actor on a budget. I use a Rockville RCM03 microphone connected to a Focusrite Scarlett preamp into a windows tablet (I forget the model). My recording software is audacity which has been doing really well for me, however I’m looking into Reaper as an alternative.
9. You have a beautiful family… what do they think of you voicing demons and Ol’ Satan himself?
My children shall never know! And my Wife thinks it’s just me being me. However I used to do a demonic voice years back when I used to read Green Eggs and Ham to my son when he was 2. He used to cry if I didn’t do the voices. I don’t know what that says about me or my son. My wife just thought I was being an idiot, or as she says “special”. But hey, give the people what they want, right?
10. I’m all out of questions; plug away!
I just finished a reading for a play called The Pollenators written by another extremely talented narrator, and my coach, CJ Critt. I’m not sure if we’ll have another reading soon, but I will be posting about it on social media if we do.
Check out Exotic Birds on Audible, written by Jessica Eppley. It’s extremely funny and action packed. I like to think of it as The Hangover meets Narcos.
Dopamine, a full cast production audiobook will be out soon. You can learn more about it on Athene Productions on Facebook and the Dopamine page on Facebook
I’m currently working on two other books:
–Discovered (a Galactic Battle Series Book 2) by L.H Whitlock
–Galactic Kata: Bounty Hunter by A.G Cole You can learn more about it at www.GalacticKata.com
You can find me on Facebook and Instagram at: dmayjr