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The Goofiest Interview I've Ever Done
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Official Mark of Nexus (Temporary) Tattoos
"The Mark of Nexus design incorporates a lot of symbolism. It shows the struggle between good and evil—the balance between darkness and light. I hope it reminds people that the heart is mighty. No matter what rises against it, it will always find its way."
~Carrie Butler, author/designer of the Mark of Nexus series
FYI: The white parts are where skin shows through. For more questions, see StrayTats FAQs.
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American actress, voice-over “artist”, and producer Nellie Barnett lives and works in Los Angeles, where she perpetuates stereotypes by driving a Prius, rescuing small chorkies, and sometimes teaching yoga. Luckily she's a meat-eater, which helps, as well as a decent ukulele player and mediocre drummer. She is currently learning to drive stick shift.
Bonus: Narrator Interview (Nellie)
Carrie Butler (CB): Hey, Nellie! Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and chat with us. I know plenty of my fellow writers are curious about the audiobook process—especially now that Amazon has made the format more accessible. Could you tell us a little bit about how you got into narration? Do you do other types of acting, too?
Nellie Barnett (NB): Hi Carrie! Hi Carrie’s wonderful readers! I’m so happy to be here.
Well gosh. The internet, or the more fancy name “new media”, is a bit of the wild west these days. And I’m lucky enough to be a wayward cowgirl of sorts. I work as an actress, voiceover “artist”, and producer in Los Angeles, and much of my work is in the digital space.
I pretty much start any project, including narration, with the questions “What is the story here? And how does the story connect us to each other?”
I love dreaming. I love storytelling. I love people and their strange worlds and experiences. And so I try to just translate that for an audience, regardless of the medium. We’re all a little weird and funky, and I like to contribute to owning up to that. I think it brings us together and makes us a little less afraid of life and each other. I mean…if we’re gonna get DEEP about it.
CB: That IS deep! I kind of want to crawl under my desk and contemplate the meaning of life now. But don't worry, I'll finish the interview first. ;) What other acting work have you done that you can tell us about?
NB: Oh man I’ve really done it all. Lots of little indie films, the obligatory “Criminal Minds” TV episode, LOTS of web-series, LOTS of national commercials and stuff. LOTS of weird and wonderful voiceover work. And an overwhelming stream of endless auditions.
If you’re at work or home sick today and your cable is down, here is the greatest, most hilarious web-series I’m in that no one has ever seen (called “Settling”) and here is a web-series I’m in that’s also just amazing (called “Patrick & Molly”). I’m super proud of these projects. They’re so unique and funny and irreverent. And that’s what the internet is for, right?
Also, I’m the oreo cookie in this TV commercial. Nope. Not just the voice. I literally spent 13 hours in a full body oreo cookie suit custom made for me and couldn’t use a bathroom. I’m VERY talented, ya’ll.
CB: I love that commercial so much. I just... yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to show that to everyone I meet for the next three months. "THIS IS MY NARRATOR!"
Ahem. Sorry. Serious interview mode. What is the book narration/production process like for you?
NB: It can work a couple of ways. Sometimes an author or publisher will approach me or sometimes I’ll send an author/ publisher an audition. They’ll make me an offer, and I’ll get crackin’. It usually takes 2 months to finish a book, so it can be a long and involved process.
But mostly, I just get to read and perform cool stories. I often pinch myself that I get to work with talented writers, build relationships with them, and help them bring their characters to life. There’s nothing cooler than when an author hears his/her character’s voice for the first time and gets sort of emotional about it. It’s a super cool experience.
CB: You should've seen my face the first time I heard you do Rena's voice. I'd just listened to a half dozen or so other auditions and taken notes, so I was in a bit of a daze. But then yours started, and I was like, "THAT'S HER!"
Since no one was around, I had to pop it onto a flashdrive and hunt someone down to share my excitement. "Listen to this. Is this not Rena? Crazy, right? Ahhh!" Needless to say, I was a little excited. :P
Anyhoo, what is your work environment like? Do you have a studio?
NB: I do! When I first started, I was lucky enough to have access to a sound room at my producing partner’s studio. But frankly, the nature of the work is such that often I only have to pop into the studio and make a tweak here or there. So it made sense to have a space at home.
My fiancé and I bought a fixer upper house in South Central Los Angeles (gulp!) last year and renovated it into the greatest space ever. I have a VERY handy future husband. He can pretty much do it all. SO THEN I bought a vintage 1960s trailer from this amazing nomadic photographer who happened to be passing through LA, and my fiancé and I converted it into a proper sound studio in our backyard. The sound is pretty damn incredible and the environment clearly unique and inspiring. So I pretty much do yoga from 6:30-8 am every morning, then take my coffee to the trailer studio and get to work.
Don’t mind me. Just pretty much living the hipster dream over here, you guys.
CB: That sounds so cool! You'll have to give your adoring fans (us) a photo tour sometime. ;) Do you have any tips for writers when it comes to working with a narrator?
NB: Hmmm. I guess, just get to know the person on the other end of the voice because you’ll be spending a great deal of time emailing each other and communicating. It helps to recognize that narration is in many ways a performance, so you (the author) can’t really control the exact outcome. And that’s a good thing. The collaboration of your words and the narrator’s interpretation is what makes it a whole new art form and a separate product completely.
We’re so lucky to do the creative work that we do, and we’re blessed to work together. So enjoy the process and have fun. You deserve it.
CB: Well said! We are, indeed, blessed to work together. :) Thanks for stopping by, Nellie!
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