2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the City of the Gods Universe. One of our dream projects is becoming a reality: the audiobook version of the first novel, City of the Gods: Forgotten. Like Quetzalcoatl, we sent our spies far and wide to find just what we were looking for. I am thrilled to introduce you to the artist chosen to bring the City to life, Mr. Christopher Thomson. ~ Wynn
So, who is Christopher Thomson anyway?
That is the question. Well, generally I am a 25 years old man from Essex, UK. I’ve been doing voices since I was very young and gave each toy I played with a different one. As I went to school, I started to do impressions and have performed them as a party trick over the years since. It wasn’t until my late teens that I started to put them online on YouTube and such – which has now caught some attention!
You’ve had many different creative roles in projects, such as writer, actor, and voice artist. Which of those roles do you enjoy most?
I prefer acting mostly. It’s taken me years to say that, as I’ve struggled with having the confidence to do it. Rather than seeking opportunities like any performer should do, I ended up writing my own. A bit like at an amateur dramatic society. As time went on, I’ve had so many compliments that equate to slapping me in the face to say “Chris, you can do this. Now do it!” After a bit of time, I’m happily able to agree with them.
How did you become involved in the City of the Gods: Forgotten audiobook project?
It was through Steve Crompton – who did the stunning artwork in the book, amongst other things. He came across one of my videos on YouTube, where I performed my impersonation as the late second Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton. I receive a lot of requests for Doctor Who related impressions, but then I noticed the email from Steve. He was a fan of my Who projects, but proposed the idea of working on an original audiobook. And paid too! It was the first actual paid voice acting job, and gave me a chance to kick-start my self-employed career. So I’m incredibly grateful he approached me.
There are so many characters in Forgotten. How tough of a challenge is it to voice so many different people?
Well I love doing voices, so it was fun. It started to get tough when I had to perform other ethnicities. Particularly Kefele, whom is Egyptian. Originally I got a reply back from Steve Crompton on the first voice I did, which sounded a little bit like Richard Attenborough, and asked “Could you make him sound more Egyptian if possible?”. My first chuckling thought was “How can I perform this without – at all – being offensive!?” He sent me some links of Omar Sharif in Laurence Of Arabia as a reference. So I watched them, and usually I’d notice something in the accent I could play on (for example: soft ‘r’s), but I couldn’t find anything – except quite an emotionless neutral tone. Unsure, I looked up other Egyptian characters in other films or television and they were still so neutral. Several “Many ventured out into the desert, but none return” sort of gloomy characters. So I tried to uplift a very depressing voice! It was a challenge, but very fun to do.
Other than that, trying to perform as female characters is a struggle. My voice is quite deep, and although I can go higher, it will always sound like a man on helium. So all I can do is try and perfect the mannerism as high-pitched as possible! Trying to make the ridiculous sound normal. My aim was to try and perform each voice indistinct from the other – like how Peter Sellers played multiple roles in Dr Strangelove. I will *eventually* run out of voices, but so far I’ve done 12. And more to come! Very exciting.
Which character of the ones you have voiced so far is your favorite?
D’Molay. He is such a weathered character, who knows exactly what to do, because he’s lived it. I like to play him with some wit. He’s a man who has spent years within Purgatory and given a chance at another life in the City of the Gods – who wouldn’t be confident and witty in those circumstances. He’s a fun character to play.
What else are you working on right now?
Currently I am actively seeking new jobs as a voice actor. I love acting, but I find with voices, it doesn’t matter that I look like a 25 year old man with ginger facial hair, as I can hide that identity and perform a wide range of characters. City Of The Gods has given my career a great start, and assured me that this is what I want to do with my life. For that I’m incredibly grateful.
What type of projects do you hope to be part of in the future?
I’d love to act in radio or other audio dramas, for the likes of the BBC or Big Finish Productions. To be a go-to person for any role would be a dream come true, and to work with other established actors and directors of course.
We’ve discovered that we both enjoy Doctor Who and Pee-wee Herman; what other movies, comics or TV shows are your favorites?
I’m a huge James Bond fan. Loved them since a young age, watching Sean Connery through to Daniel Craig. Every time I go on a holiday, or even to a hotel, I’d like to feel like I am James Bond as I check in. “The name’s Thomson, Christopher Thomson.” Naturally they’d misspell my name (Thompson is the common error), so I’d never get to fulfill that fantasy. Other than that I’m quite into Batman – not the comics, although I bought my first one (The Killing Joke) the other day – as I grew up watching the animated series. I’ve been able to get them on DVD to re-watch them now, and it feels wonderfully nostalgic. I’m into a lot of other dramas, science-fictions and fantasies too. If it’s gripping, then I’m usually a fan.
If you could have a “lip sync battle” with any fictional character, who would that be and what would you sing?
You’ve seen my videos then! Ha, well, I suppose my opponent would have to be Pee-wee Herman. We’re both big kids, and I reckon we’d have one heck of a lip sync battle to the likes of ABBA, Spice Girls, Cyndi Lauper and so on.
Do you have a favorite story about meeting someone famous?
I was lucky enough to meet the current Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi.
There was a competition run by the BBC to make a short video adventure, and I’d been known online for doing my impression of Peter Capaldi. So I had messages from strangers hoping to use me for their entries. I chose not to get involved, as if I did it for one, I’d have to do it for all. However… a friend of mine, who is a very skilled animator, asked me if I’d do the voice for his. I’ve been a huge fan of his work for many years, and this was the first time I got to collaborate with him. So I did turn hypocrite, but he was a friend so I felt obligated. And he was one of the winners! So we were invited to Cardiff, Wales to the BBC studios for a tour of the set. Two hours left to play around in this large 360 degree set, with working buttons, switches, etc. Upper levels, lower levels. I ran laps in there! After that, popping aside from filming in the adjacent lot, Peter Capaldi enters the set – in full outfit. He posed with us for photographs, but my friend recorded me instead, prompting Peter by saying “This is Chris, he does your voice in my video” (which Peter had seen). So the Doctor turns to me and says “Go on then, give me a bit of my voice” in a humouring manner… but as I re-watched the video, you could genuinely see his surprise at my attempt. He loved it! It was such a surreal and remarkable moment when the person you’ve done an impersonation of says they approve. It may be the best day of my life from here on. The day I ever get married will have lot to beat!
Where can people find you online?