The British Are Coming AudioFile Best of 2019 Biography & History
Los Angeles-based actor George Newbern says he was always a theatrical kid. He began his professional acting career at age 12 at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock, where he appeared as one of the children in Clarence Day’s popular period piece Life with Father. Since then, he has worked in every performance medium from stage to film to TV. (He won a big following creating the role of Charlie on the popular TV show “Scandal.”) Additionally, Newbern provides the voices for video games and for the animated series “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited.” About doing voices for animation he says, “It’s a lot of fun. You get to read with a lot of people. With ‘Justice League,’ we all sit down and read together, so it’s kind of like doing a little play.”
Newbern has seven AudioFile Earphones awards to his credit. He believes that recording audiobooks is definitely the hardest thing he’s done. “I love it, but it’s very difficult because it’s really hard for me to sit my butt down for long periods and focus.” However, once he gets lost in a project, he commits to it completely and time disappears.
Newbern says that unlike his wife and kids who can spot the bad guy immediately, he’s not very good at guessing who the culprit is in mysteries. While recording Linwood Barclay’s A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS, he had no idea where the story was going. “I love being taken into a story like this. The author did a brilliant job of zigging and zagging in just the right ways.” Newbern doesn’t like scary movies, and he doesn’t like to watch thrillers. “When I’m recording a thriller, while I’m glad when it’s over, I actually love doing it because it spooks me.” He laughs. “I get too easily excited.” He especially enjoys recording science and technology. “I feel as if I’m taking a class. There’s that added bonus of actually learning something.”
We asked him what he thinks the difference is between listening to an audiobook and reading a book in print. “While you’re engaging your imagination in both of them, when you’re listening, your mind is freer to engage with the story. The listener has the chance to fill in the details.” Newbern tells us he doesn’t initially have visual images of the people he creates, but as he’s telling the story, he finds it amazing how the brain automatically fills in the visuals. “A week later, if I go back to record the same scene, I’ll immediately picture the same room, the same chair. It helps me remember where I am in the story if I can see it visually.”
We’re looking forward to hearing more from Newbern. He’s about to fly to New York to do a segment of “Law and Order: SVU,” and audio fans can look forward to his recent recordings of ENDURANCE: A YEAR IN SPACE, A LIFETIME OF DISCOVERY, by astronaut Scott Kelly, and THE GAME: HARVARD, YALE, AND AMERICA IN 1968, by George Howe Colt.--S.J. Henschel
©AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
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