When we left off with Paul Kyriazi, he had begun to talk about how he transitioned from working in film to writing novels and producing audio books.
Paul Kyriazi: PULP FICTION changed my life! I still try to get movies made. I did MCKNIGHT’S MEMORY as an audiobook and I got Robert Culp, Nancy Kwan, and Frank Sinatra Jr. narrating. I love these guys! I grew up with these guys and everyone I mentioned I was more than a fan of. It’s a dream! I still wake up every day and can’t believe I directed Rod Taylor or Henry Silva in audiobooks. I’m still working to get films financed, I never gave up. I did a travelogue with a Japanese actress that was sold in Japan. I do voice work and I have a new audiobook out called WICKED PLAYERS. I did a script with a guy named Harry Mok who was in NINJA BUSTERS as well as RAMBO. Right now, he’s in post production on an animated movie called ANIMAL CRACKERS and it has the voices of Sylvester Stallone, Danny DeVito, Ian McKellan, Emily Blunt, Gilbert Gottfried, and a few others. It’s going to be coming out in May. I helped him with a script called LION DANCE he’s producing and I’ll be a writer/consultant on that. His movie THE VINEYARD, I did some post production work on, as well as post on a few Ron Marchini films. I’m still in the business, I just transferred over to audiobooks. I have another one called FORBIDDEN POWER which was just sent out to fifteen science fiction magazines, including The New Yorker to see if they’ll put it in one of their magazines. The advice I have for any artist, including yourself, in America in the 1930’s, trains were the biggest thing. The train people thought they were in the train business, they did not think they were in the transportation business. They didn’t expand it to trucks and airplanes so when they came into the picture, the train business went way down. What change for me, I had to realize I wasn’t just in the movie business, I was in the communication business. That includes writing, audiobooks, speaking, seminars, that’s where I did my James Bond Lifestyle Success book. That’s where everyone was asking me how I was surviving as freelance. I went to every success class and read every success book, anything about success and I was able to make money and survive. People were asking me all these questions so finally I put it all together on a ninety minute tape called HOW TO LIVE THE JAMES BOND LIFESTYLE. That way I could just give the tape instead of having to lecture all the time. I put it on Amazon and eventually I expanded it to a 230pg book, I did the audiobook with David Hedison who played Felix Leiter in two James Bond films. The book was later expanded again when it was turned into an e-book as well. It’s all about surviving as a freelance artist and I used James Bond as an example. My advice to any freelance artist is to expand, not only as a writer but to other areas of communication as well. That’s how I kept going, I didn’t just stay in one particular area, I branched out within the entire field. So (laughs), that’s my short answer there.
Corey Danna: When you are directing an audiobook, how does your approach mimic or differ from film?
PK: Like I said, it’s full cast and I’m the only one who is doing full cast. The big companies just don’t do it, they will have a single narrator. I take my novels and copy/paste them from Microsoft Word and turn it into script form so when I’m ready, it will look like a shooting script. What I was doing with the big actors was to record them all together. I would use three or four microphones in a (sometimes) professional studio. It can be tough when the schedules don’t match, like with James Darin. I would have someone else read his part then he would come in another time to do his. He would usually do it by himself but sometimes one of the other actors, like Robert Culp, would come in and read with him. Once he was done, I would just cut him in with the other actors. As far as directing, it’s such a different skill because you’re just listening to the actors instead of seeing them. The very first time I did one it was with Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris, plus the other actors we used, we did their scenes and I remember thinking, “Do I listen? Should I be watching them? Do I follow the script?” It was a whole different type of concentration. When I did the next one, I hired someone to just watch the script and I just listened. If they changed something or adlibbed, I would just listen. My abilities became more keen and with someone watching the script, I could make the story make sense. I could decide if I wanted it to follow the script or be closer to the book. I could even allow it to stray if it all made sense. I was open to that and Rod Taylor actually changed a few things. He would tell me if something didn’t make sense to him and make a new suggestion or even do some editing. You’re not doing a scene or rehearsing it when it cost $225 an hour, hell, you pay five grand each for the big stars, and you don’t want their voices to become strained either. Very rarely did anyone make a mistake so those were the only times we ever went back to do it again. It’s one take and man, we were listening. The script supervisor I had hired, his job was to make sure they say what they’re supposed to say. It doesn’t have to be exact but they need to make sure the story points are getting across. We need to make sure we get all of their scenes because if we miss anything and have to call those big actors be, it’s really going to cost us. It makes things so much easier for me having someone to make sure everything else is being taken care of. That’s the main difference, just a whole different level of concentration and listening.
CD: How long does it usually take you to complete an audiobook?
PK: That one was four hours and there was thirty or thirty five parts, each actor is a day, so I’ll usually have it done in about four (six hour) days. That’s for a four hour book including setup time and only doing one take. Then we get into editing which in the end usually takes about forty hours. Those are pretty extensive audiobooks. Prices have gone down and people can edit on laptops so I record in the studio and edit at home. The last one WICKED PLAYERS was a two hour novella, it was like a hundred pages I think. We did the narration in four hours, all the actors were done in five hours, so it took nine hours total to record. I used full, film quality sound effects I get from SoundDogs.com, and full film quality music. I like to call it an audio movie so that’s on average how long it takes.
CD: So what do you think of all this renewed interest in your past work with the Garagehouse Blu-Rays?
PK: I’m just really grateful! I’m a huge movie fan and there are Richard Burton movies you can’t find, you can’t get CIRCUS WORLD, a John Wayne movie released in Cinerama. There are so many big films you still can’t get on Blu-Ray and here comes DEATH MACHINES and NINJA BUSTERS, why? I guess there’s a cult following. Harry is actually trying to find a print of my film WEAPONS OF DEATH, that was my biggest movie. There’s some kind of weird slant to those films and I really do believe they play better now. Some critics in their reviews can tell just how much everyone involved just really loved making movies and how it had come through in the movie. They’re obviously lower budget but the love and appreciation for film is there.
CD: Cult film fans are an entirely different breed of fan and I’m one of them. They’re more likely to go out and search the world for something they’ve only heard stories about. With the way things are changing and everything going digital, the cult film fans still want physical media whether it me DVD, Blu-Ray, or VHS. It’s great to still have Blu-Rays of cult films still being released every day.
PK: Me too, I’m right with you! I just ordered Hammer Films’ HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES on Bu-Ray, I watch it once a year and I want to hear the commentary on it. Oh, I just got MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES, it has two commentaries on it, one with a historian and the other with Roger Corman, that’s gold! Put me on the cult movie nerd list as well.
CD: It’s been great talking with you, hopefully we can do it again sometime.
PK: Anytime, and thank you!
To keep up to date an all of Paul’s endeavors, be sure to visit his official website.