An Interview with Greg Tremblay

Introducing Greg Tremblay! Singer-Actor-Narrator-Homesteader-Blacksmither-Extraordinaire! 

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R. M. Webb: Hey there! Tell me about yourself.

My name is Greg, I’m a trained singer and stage actor who has been making a living in computers for most of my life.  In 2013 I was lucky enough to get into audiobook narration, and have been doing that as much as I can ever since.  I have a wife and 10 year old daughter, and own a little homestead in the cow-occupied portion of NY state, where we keep chickens, sheep and bees.  I also do blacksmithing and shoe horses part time.

R. M. Webb: Wow! You must be so busy! It’s a big joke at my house, I’m kind of obsessed with chickens. I really want to raise the kind that have feathers on their legs. You know, the ones that look like they’re wearing feathered pants? Tell me alllllll about raising livestock. (But please, focus on the chickens.)

Heh, chickens are awesome… .foxes are too, but not when you put the two together.  :-/  Chickens are charmingly chill and pleasant animals to have about.  They make little gentle noises and are KICK BUTT at killing off fleas and ticks around the property.  Plus the eggs are awesome.  We’ve raised a few for meat off and on, but I just decided that the work was more than I wanted to bite off this year, so I think we may pay a neighbor to raise a few for us.  I am a considered omnivore, because much of modern über industrial food raising horrifies me… So I prefer to raise what I can, or know where it came from. (I’m not perfect, I do eat the occasional hamburger out or grab a store chicken when things are just tooooo busy.  But.)

R. M. Webb: I’m still trying to wrap my head around a singer, actor, computer guy, voice-over actor, who has a family, raises livestock, and blacksmiths. What kind of life led to having so many skills?

*laugh*  I think it stems from being a blend of a free spirit gypsy of a mother, and a pretty pedantic practical dad.  You put them together, and I tend to like to have a home base, but do different things.  (They didn’t work out long term, but thus far I seem to be doing ok)

Computers were, frankly, easy.  I was in a theater program in college that imploded (terrible dept turmoil and scandal) so I stepped sideways into what had been my minor, collected my degree and got the hell out.  My wife wanted to move east to pursue doctoral work, so we came here.  I filled in time around day to day life with what interested me at the time.  (I was also a paramedic for a while there)

Discovering that I could work in voiceover, especially long form narration, from home, and the increase in web based casting and talent agencies has made it so that my life long banked passion of performing can have a crack at being my career as well.

R. M. Webb: Why do you create?

I can’t NOT create… it’s just … part of my psyche.  I am an incorrigible story teller and love to make people feel… so particularly narrating books is a no brainer for me.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate, definitely.

R. M. Webb: Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?

I do make money for my creative endeavors… and it’s interesting because I feel that tension of being an artist versus a performer.  I am not at the point of being able to live off my art yet… but am optimistic that I can put my general 3-5 year scheme into place and make this a full go.

R. M. Webb: I’m curious about the distinction you drew about being an artist versus a performer. Could you expand on that a little?

This came to me while having lunch with a pair of musician friends, who got into a rant-around about how people want them to play covers.  “I hate that man!  Like, I want to play MY music… Not someone else’s!”

It occurred to me, admittedly in a mildly defensive way, that… I essentially NEVER perform my own stuff.  I am an artist, sure… I bring my artistry and interpretation to the work… But it’s not my original work.  I am, for the record, ok with that.  It’s my gift to present and perform and entertain, I’m not as good at raw creation. So… I think of myself as a performer more than an artist.  Are they one and the same?  Maybe… But I find the presentation my medium, not the text.

R. M. Webb:  If you still have a day job, would you like to get to the point where you could give it up?

…. I keep the resignation letter updated.  😉

R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?

Realizing that I COULD.  With changes in technology and marketing, the performance world of books became possible… I no longer had to dream of working for Harper Audio and Blackstone.  (I still do tho… but now I have a path to it!)

R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?

I’m lucky enough to be able to piggyback on other people’s inspiration… but I’m generally a night owl and I get into my groove in the late evening and the last gasps of the day.

R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?

Anguish, annoyance, denial, acceptance, avoidance.  It’s like the grief process.  😉  Honestly, negative feedback is nearly useless… critical feedback can be good.  “I hated this, worst narrator ever” is … pointless.  “Thought the narrator was too dramatic at times” means something.  I might take it to heart, I might not… but…. it’s got some substance.

R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?

OOohh… Hmm.  Making sure I challenge myself and not just sitting in a rut saying “Yep, good enough”   I always want to get better, to be more effective, to push my boundaries.

R. M. Webb:  Who’s your biggest champion?

My family, hands down. 🙂

R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?

Blue

R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?

I do, I’ve a 10 year old daughter who is awesome.

R. M. Webb: Oh, such a great age! My daughter just turned 11. Don’t you just love the juxtaposition of little girl and early teenager?

I do… They are brilliant and so creative.  I don’t always love the realities of that juxtaposition, and I feel so achingly bad for her, because she is just starting to marinate in hormones, and I know people that age can’t help being crazy… But that doesn’t make it easier to go through, or help her through.  She is a delightful soul however, and remarkably deep.  She’s dealing with the realities of defining her relationship to the world as a feminist and the roadblocks still in her path, which is both fulfilling and painful to see and help with.

R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?

Absolutely… but like myself I want her to have skills that can make sure the rent stays paid.  I agree with pursuing your dreams, and taking chances… but you want to be able to dust yourself off if you have to.

R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?

Rare chemical stimulants from the amazon basin…..   No, seriously? It all slots in carefully… and I sell some things short at times to get it all done.  The house could be a bit cleaner… I’m not going to lie.

R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.

I’m the person trying their best to find that middle ground between helicopter micromanaging and the raised-by-wolves hands off.  I’m strict, but not stern.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?

Getting to see and experience the world as they do, sharing in it all.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?

You cannot, and should not, protect them from all harm even tho you desperately want to … and it never stops.

R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?

I’m seriously pondering getting my daughter behind the microphone… I have to see what I think she’d be good on… but… there’s room there to work. 🙂

R. M. Webb: Oh how cool! Would a daddy/daughter reading be possible? Maybe you should write a book where that is possible.

I would love it…. There is a family of musician / voice actors the Amador (Rosie and Brian) who did a book together with their twin daughters when the girls were young… It was delightful.  Is delightful I should say.

Young people in voice acting have a huge amount of potential to work…. I just want to make sure it’s something she wants to do, not a dream I’m living out through her.

R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?

There’s 1 Hare for every 100 Tortoises… and for every Tortoise there’s a thousand animals that will never even make it to the finish line… be patient.  Be honest.  Be confident.

R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?

OOf… um.  Failure is not bad.  Failure is the most educating thing there is, and it doesn’t mean YOU are a failure… just that you failed.  Don’t wrap your self worth up in whether you succeed at everything you try.  Keep trying.  Failing to try is the real failure.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?

Oh lord… my friends and family, and the fact that I get paid to read and tell stories.  Honestly, what a freakin scam man!  😉

R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?

Eat out… I’m frickin tired.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?

Getting all the corners… getting the minutiae right.  It’s the little things that really make or break a performance.

R. M. Webb: For sure. It’s all in the details. Do you find yourself learning skills from one set of crafts that help with any of your others? Do you find there’s cross-over? Please, please, please tell me that raising chickens makes you a better writer!

Anything that broadens your experience, that causes you to think through things, that makes you pause and consider the world from another point of view… Makes you a better writer/narrator.  Stories are the study of lives, of experiences… Painting emotions on the canvas of the mind.  You have to study the world to paint it, you have to live life as well, to write it convincingly.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?

I get to live in a new fantasy world every week.

R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?

Knowing if you’re putting your energies in the right directions.

R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?

The people you get/have to deal with.

R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?

That… really sounds like a euphemism.  (R. M. Webb: OH DEAR! IT DOES! *BLUSHES) But… PB & B are delish.  Get some bread.  (Interesting side thought:  given the number of other ways we eat them, and the time we’ve been working with them… you have to infer that someone tried to make bananajam… and that it was HORRID)

R. M. Webb: If people wanted to find you online and learn more about you, where would they look?

🙂  Well, you can find me online interactively most on facebook.com/gtremblayvoice

I’m available online for contact and booking via www.gtremblayvoice.com

and you can see my ACX profile for book work at http://bitly.com/GTremblayVoiceBooks

Have a question for Greg? Drop a question in the comment section and I’ll make sure he sees it!

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**Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb.

3 thoughts on “An Interview with Greg Tremblay”

  1. This is great Greg and RM 🙂 I was just wondering you said to continue pushing boundaries. Sometimes I want to keep going but can’t even figure out where the boundaries are, I get so immersed in the world I’m in. Does that even make sense? Anyway, how do you find the energy to push boundaries when you can’t find them, when you’re too tired, and when it doesn’t seem like there is anywhere left to go?

    1. OOohh… good one.

      ok, so first I guess is the admission that the line “push boundaries” is a bullshit pat line that I find myself using to describe the act of change… because there really aren’t boundaries except the ones WE see for ourselves.

      {well … ok, that’s not 100% true either, I mean, people try to put boundaries on us, but those people are obviously insane or misanthropic jerkwads… so we’ll ignore that. If we choose to accept their boundaries, then we’re really screwed.}

      The realities of our creative and artistic endeavors are that we only have and perceive the artistic space right around us at any given time; even if we have wandered like a demented roomba through the entire artistic landscape. We see things as improvement, and growth, which sometimes are just change, and we get locked into a sense of “this is the direction of growth” with regard to that change.

      When we are working on art, on creation, on performance… we sense the Where-I-Am/Where-I-Am-Not dichotomy, which pulls us onward… tho not truly in a goal-path kind of sense.

      Sometimes, we will feel a lack of newness to a direction, or a … limit to our ability to sense the space beyond where we are… so we feel up against a wall.

      But… being against an inspiration vacuum isn’t the death of our ability to grow and change… the only true death to my mind is pretending that the Where-I-Am space is the ONLY right space to be in, or the only space we are suited to. To just sit in one place (artistically speaking) will just dig the brush of our artistic roomba through the floor… and be of no benefit.

      So… when we feel like we can’t go the direction we were going any more, and we are just exhausted by it… sometimes we might remember that we can go back over places we’ve been, and see them from a new light…

      And sometimes we need to take a breather, plug in, and recharge. 🙂

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